back to article Bricking it: Do you actually own anything digital?

What do Amazon, Sony, and Broadcom all have in common? Give up? Each, in their own way, has made it clear that when you buy something from them, you don't actually own it. Going back to 2009, Amazon dropped 1984 and Animal Farm from its Kindle eReaders. You may have thought you owned copies of these classic George Orwell books …

  1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

    Whether they are electronic books, comics, games, videos, music you name it. A free non-DRMed format is a must. For music it has to be lossless like CD, wav, flac or monkeyaudio, else no sale. For books unprotected .epub is preferred, since they are just glorified zip files with a specific structure allowing me to correct typos easily. Same goes for .cbr/.cbz, which are luckily in the ">2000 pixel height minimum" region now, so the quality is nearly as good as print. Most comics released now are even in the 4000 pixel height region, which are en par or sometimes better than print. PDF is sort-of OK too. For games my GOG library is way beyond my Steam/Epic/EA/Ubi library for the exact same reason.

    1. Alien Doctor 1.1

      Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

      I love my gog library, over 370 games now and I have full control over them. I used to have steam et al, but no longer; my drm-free stuff will keep me busy until the heat death of the cosmos.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

        have a christmas pint for mentioning GOG. Reasonably priced (VERY reasonably) and as you say, drm free, you own it*

        *yes i know not legally but the law is an ass

      2. Grogan Silver badge

        Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

        I started liking Steam for the convenience. It was an abomination to me at first, but I was "forced" (if I wanted to play HL2 and later even the COD games required it). I soon started buying games ONLY on Steam. Well...

        1) When your Internet is out, what do you have for entertainment?

        2) Forced updates that may come along and break your game, even years later and you have no recourse.

        I'm grateful to Valve, nobody has done more for Linux gaming, but I started re-buying some of my old favourites on GoG to preserve them. Standalone installers, DRM and internet free, and nobody updates anything but me. The straw that broke the camel's back after that, was 2K games adding this asshole launcher to all their games, and Steam forcing me to get it. It's not like it worked correctly for us either.

        I was so pissed off I went and bought all the Bioshock games and their content on GoG. I did the same with Witcher 3 when CD Projekt Red pushed a remaster on me that I didn't care for. Nicer graphics in some places, but shittier in other ways and an asshole launcher to bypass.They also changed some things in the game that I didn't appreciate, serious shit like how one of the abilities worked (Yrden) too. I wanted my original game back! (and I got it, from GoG, the very version I wanted too, from just before they added this "remote play" popup BS)

        I'm done paying for games that go poof. I have much more control over the games I buy on GoG (and I can pretty much always give them the environment they want)

        1. rafff

          Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

          "1) When your Internet is out, what do you have for entertainment?!

          a. Meet up with friends

          b. Listen t the radio (not in USA, if you value your sanity)

          c. Read a real book

          d. Go for a walk

          e. Play a real game: cards, board, chasing around the park ...

          f. Play music, assuming you had the foresight to learn an instrument

          g. Lots of other things

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

            g1. play music that you have on physical media or locally stored.

            g2. watch videos that you have on physical media or locally stored.

          2. Grogan Silver badge

            Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

            h. piss off, you condescending twat.

          3. chololennon

            Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

            > "1) When your Internet is out, what do you have for entertainment?!


            > c. Read a real book

            You don't need Internet to use your Kindle (or any other ebook reader). Actually, I have 2 Kindles, none of them are connected to the Internet. I manage my own ebooks with Calibre application.

            BTW, I agree with the rest of the options, real life is way better than living inside the Matrix/Internet.

        2. CountCadaver Silver badge

          Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

          IIRC CDPR own GOG

          Plus iirc at least one of the games they launched has comments saying it requires GOG galaxy so in effect DRM ...

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

            Which CDPR games requires GOG galaxy? Example: If it is a (massive) multiplayer game without single player mode it would be OK.

        3. Piro Silver badge

          Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

          If you don't have an answer to 1), you need to get away from computers for a while.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          In defence of Steam

          While GOG does the right thing in refusing to sell DRM-laden games in the first place, Steam warns you if there’s garbage 3rd party DRM and when that isn’t used they do not let your games go poof either!

          You can open up Steam Console and download_depot by appid, depotid and manifestid the revision just before any trashy remaster and you’re golden. It will download the files to a separate folder for you and those files will remain untouched thereafter. Valve even offers a scriptable command line tool which will allow you to automate all of this, so you can keep every revision of every game side-by-side and deduplicate them as you see fit, if that is what you want to do. For long-term preservation, you can even grab checksums per revision and use those to integrity check everything to help avoid bitrot. I personally found the console commands useful to bring back cut Superhot content, access very early builds or Nier Automata and to revert Skullgirls to its former glory (before all the censorship).Guides are readily available via Steam community pages and whenever developers do silly things, folks will often post the details for downloading the revision prior to the change to save people the tiny amount of time it takes to compare the manifest dates with announcement dates themselves.

          Additionally, most games which are DRM-free on GOG are also DRM-free on Steam, requiring either the same free open source replacement for Steamwoeks API DLLs (e.g. Goldberg) GOG supplies or a couple of files deleting from the game folder to decouple it from the Steam client. Doing this is completely above board and legal but (just like refusing GOG Galaxy) will impact achievements integration and online multiplayer functionality.

      3. Redact Ted

        Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

        I, too, am enthused by GoG, and recommend them to anyone who asks.

        However, have you made offline copies of all the installers for those 370 games & keep them updated?

        Otherwise it's an illusion of control as GoG can just as easily stop providing access or even just go out of business and you'd be in the same boat as all those other DRM'd titles. Imagine the run on bandwidth if they announced they were going out of business...

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

          > However, have you made offline copies of all the installers for those 370 games & keep them updated?

          I am on GOG with a lot more games, and "YES! DAMMIT YES!"

          1. RAMChYLD

            Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

            I think we should remember that not all games on GOG are DRM-free tho. Third party games may still be subjected to DRM.


            1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

              Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

              They do, albeit they tell it in the description (on the right side, not hidden in the text) BEFORE you buy. But most of them work without creating that extra account a whoever-the-oublisher-is, albeit without multiplayer. But that difference is in the description clearly stated too as "requires extra account for multiplayer".

    2. electricmonk

      Re: This is why I prefer unrestricted offline-capabilities

      >> "they are just glorified zip files with a specific structure allowing me to correct typos easily."

      I just love the idea that you buy ebooks then correct the typos in them as you read them. I hope you send an updated copy back when you've finished.

      "Dear Mr. Joyce,

      Although I greatly enjoyed reading your novel 'Finnegan's Wake' I feel I must point out that it contains a large number of mis-spellings, non-existent words and egregious grammatical errors. I enclose a corrected copy for your education. Yours, etc."

  2. Peter Prof Fox

    Same fraud as 'lifetime' guarantee

    Where suppliers feel free to interpret 'lifetime' as they like.

    1. Yorick Hunt Silver badge

      Re: Same fraud as 'lifetime' guarantee

      The lifetime of a fruit fly in most cases.

    2. Simian Surprise

      Re: Same fraud as 'lifetime' guarantee

      It's doesn't work at all, you say?

      Completely busted, even?

      Would you go so far as to say your kit is dead?

      ... Well, it's past its lifetime then, no? No coverage for you!

    3. Mike Pellatt

      Re: Same fraud as 'lifetime' guarantee

      Until a consumer contacts Money Mail.

      Whereupon, all of a sudden, the lucky punter gets their warranty honoured.

      Tough tittie if your letter isn't selected for action by the editorial team, though.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unless they can get onto my NAS and delete all my non-DRM-infected non-device-specific files then... yes? Anon obvs.

    /Removing the DRM from the free audiobooks Audible offered me was a PITA.

    1. yet another bruce

      Happy user of OpenAudible checking in. The program is not free in either the beer or speech sense but is very automated and virtually pain-free.

    2. John Tserkezis

      Removing the DRM from the free audiobooks Audible offered me was a PITA.

      Not really, a regular download from your library will give you an .axx file which is just an .mp4 with more metadata.

      There are utlilities that can extract to MP3 format, split into chapters.

      Some chapters are grouped together, but with a non-fancy audio editor will fix that.

      Again, if the book can only be got as a single very long audio stream, a good editor can split that up with only occasional labour required.

      At the end of this, you have a non-drmed book. Really, you give up too soon.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apple sus

      Funny enough, I experienced precisely that a few years ago. Turns out older editions of the Windows version of iTunes, had an undocumented "piracy discouragement" function that would, on first launch, wipe all media files from your user folder that "didn't have a watermark in the metadata indicating it was bought on iTunes" and were thus "pirated". Including if they were bought from a competitor's storefront, or were self-created, etc.

      From my understanding, this "bug" only existed in the Windows version specifically, and has "since been fixed". Regardless, one uninstall and restore from backup later, and I will never trust Apple software on a non-Apple system, ever again. Screw you with a corrupted boot sector, Steve Jobs (yes, this was from when he was still alive).

      1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

        Re: Apple sus

        I do a lot of free support for friends and family. For quite a long time, probably around early 2000s sort of time, almost every phone call I got from them started "I just installed iTunes and now <weird shite>". Often this led to a lot of work to unwind the devastation that had been wrought.


        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: Apple sus

          My relationship with iTunes is... a love/hate one, mostly for the reasons Master Campbell as stated. :)

          While I do like the ability to buy the album or song that's running through my head on a whine (and if I have enough credit loaded into the account), I utterly despise how it handles playlists, syncing multiple devices, and randomly going "sure, the bits are on your device, but you aren't authorized to play that audio file that you bought a month ago because reasons.

          However, there's a way around that: a) I make sure the music purchased is DRM free in one way or other; and b) I mirror it to other drives that house my media collection. If needed, I have a program that will cheerfully transcode the apple codec(s) to mp3. Said program is free (Foobar 2000), but getting a windows compiled port of LAME can be a bit of a bother at times, so I have the installers for both stored with the other installers I common use for my system builds.

          With AppleTV producing an adaptation of the (excellent) Murderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells, I'll have to figure out some way of capturing it for offline viewing, which may just end up with me going the same route as getting Nimona on off-line media- hoist the colors and fire up the ol' bit-torrent client and download a pirate copy.

          On a related tangent, I've found that MakeMKV will rip UHD*, Blu-ray, and DVD media, and was worth the purchase price, although I'd recommend using a pre-paid or 'disposable' payment method for it. (I had some unauthorized purchases on my card about a month or two after purchasing that program, but I'm writing it off as coincidence, because the card information could have been gotten from a skimmer in the same time period.)

          * UHD - aka the 4K discs. MakeMKV will read those as long as the drive supports it; I've gone a step further and gotten a drive that can use the LibreDrive firmware, which makes life a touch easier.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apple sus

            Hard agree, my entire music collection is local files. Spotify doesn't even "do" my taste in music (video game soundtracks) in the first place, the only way to get them is 1) off of Steam if released on there (drm-free mp3s), 2) poke around the game files to see if I can yoink them directly, or 3) for console games, uh... usually there's rips to be found somewhere... shhh... The only audio streaming I do is internet radio from other countries for language practice (love me some Radio Polski and Krayina FM).

            Also, corporate needs you to find the difference between the phrases "if you want your mom to have blue bubbles, buy an iPhone" and "if you want iTunes to not wipe your music collection you bought on a competitor's service, buy a Macbook".

  4. xyz Silver badge

    Is there any way to remove...

    The Mike Brewer virus that has infected DMAX Spain? I'd happily pay a substription to stop him being broadcast.

    1. Gort99

      Re: Is there any way to remove...

      Ed China got out, maybe you can too.

  5. Helcat

    I have a lot of physical books. What I've noted is there's only a few I actually go back and read again (mostly the Disc world novels). So why would I want a mountain of books that I've read once and then don't read again? Having them in e-format is much better in that regard.

    I have a lot of physical reference books: These I do go back to and... reference. If there are updates/new editions, I might have to go get another copy... but if I got them electronically, they'd update automatically.

    This is the other side of the benefit to the consumer. The detriments are obvious: You don't own the copy, you can't resell it, can't share it.

    But for novels and films: How often do you really go back and read or watch them again? So how many do you really need to keep?

    I'm a collector, so I know why I want to 'own' things: It's how I am. But I've been seeing the downsides of that view: The many bookshelves, the boxes of books, the 'oh, I should go read that again'... and yet I carry an e-book reader (well, two if you count my phone) and it has over a hundred e-books on it - quite a library, and I've not read all of those. Same for films: I have a collection of films in electronic format that are quite convenient to carry, watch and pause.

    The downside is I don't own them: They can be removed without my knowledge or permission, and I may not get any form of compensation for it.

    But is the tradeoff worth the risk? Well, if I'm only reading the book once, yes. If I only see the film once, yes. Especially if it's cheaper than getting the physical copy.

    This isn't true for everything, however: Software is an entirely different matter as that's something we'd use daily. It's a tool, and it has ongoing value to us. Having that removed from us can be quite harmful - especially if they're insisting I 'upgrade' to a new version, often with a cost to the upgrade, and the new version isn't fit for what I need it do to (Yes, M$, that is very much aimed at you).

    So I'd say it depends: Is the thing that we don't 'own' really that important to us, or is it a case that we won't miss it if it's gone? (or even, be happy that it is?).

    That's where the concept of owning rather than renting, or renting rather than owning, becomes a significant part of the purchasing decision.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Same here for physical books. Some of them I've read many times and will read again. For the rest I'm reading my way through them and deciding which to keep and which to give to family, friends or charity. I rarely buy books now and when I see something I'd like to read I try to get it from the library, although I will buy a hard copy of those I really like.

      I tried Kindle and it was great for when I was doing a lot of international travel and work but like the author of the article I used Calibre to get a version I could keep. I haven't read anything using Kindle (app or device) for many years.

      1. mmccul

        For Kindle (app on a tablet in my case), I use it for a few things. First, it's a very small physical form factor, which for me is important. I purchased the Kindle Unlimited subscription to get access to a lot of books that will never get into a library. They aren't literary masterpieces, but they entertain me. Second, I want the physical form factor a tablet brings that I can read at night without the use of a light. I want the ability to push the font size up to triple the size I usually read at, not rely on external magnifying prisms that are clumsy at best.

        I also read enough to justify the cost of Unlimited (Yes, more than 100 books a year from it, this year I'm closing in on about 125 books read this year from Unlimited, many of those books are advertised at the $2-$4 mark for purchase, and I'd never read most of these books again.)

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      As you say, it's a tradeoff. But that said: I have an awful lot of books, all of which I have read more than once: if it's not worth reading twice, out it goes. Same for music: everything I own I have in electronic form, but also in the original CDs. Games I don't have, and few films; collecting them ain't my thing. But if it were...

      Geographical permissions are bad enough: I can't watch the BBC in Germany because of rights issues. Which is, on the face of it, ridiculous; an extension of contracts and rules made long before the internet was a usable thing. I can't watch certain videos on a DVD player for the same reason: region locking that prohibits me because my player initially played something from a different region. Crazy.

      I'm about half-way through my occasional retirement project of getting all my books into a digital format - unencrypted epub, naturally - because I consider the hassle involved worth it against the possibility of some arsehole deciding I don't own any longer something for which I paid, but appreciate the convenience of ebook readers (I prefer Kobo). The snag is it's a lot easier to rip a CD or DVD than a paper book...

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Regarding the BBC, rights issues have got worse in the digital age with lawyers hoping to monetise even more parts of the chain and charge as much as each market can bear. Just get a good VPN and Get IPlayer and enjoy things while you can: continuing cuts at the BBC as a result of government policy are really hollowing it out.

        I've moved a lot and books are bulky and heavy. I'm down to two bookshelves with my favourite books and some reference works, the rest is digital. I buy more books since I got a reader (Kobo) over a decade ago, though I always strip the DRM.

    3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      I have hundreds of books. Mainly tech related. They are on the shelves. I didn't read them all, some just once. But I keep looking at them when I am thinking about something or I am bored. Sometimes I pick one out and read random few pages. If there is a topic I face difficulty with I roughly know where I have a book that may help.

      I tried many e-readers and it's just not the same experience. It's not immediate. You can't flip pages and seeing what's on them while flipping, you can't put a few books side by side (well you can buy multiple e-readers...). You can't easily make your own annotations or slip a page of your notes.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        I have a few reference books that I keep around for that reason. But, with the right larger reader, you really don't miss much. I now prefer reading on my Kobo Aura than I do with paper: I can make notes and even flip through pages, though this isn't quite the same as say, going back and forth between a chapter on schema design and triggers.

        And, at some point, I imagine I'll have something for the kitchen. There are fewer books that have you flipping back and forth between pages than cookery books, and fewer places less suitable for doing this than a kitchen: operating theatre, laboratory and garage spring to mind.

        I have had imy current reader 8 years or so and battery life is still fantastic and SWMBO has the previous one. Slower refresh cycles are probably one of the main reasons why product development hasn't kept pace with that of mobile phones.

    4. MJI Silver badge

      I charity shopped 2/3rds of my books, used the shelf space for other books to be easier to get to.

      I was not going to read them again, so free the space.

      Of course hobby based text books started to fill the space.

      Got some really nice photo books I just like to pick up and browse.

      Will be culling more in future.

      But like you TP stays, as do more modern SF authors I like, such as Alastair Reynold or Richard Morgan.

      DVDs are well culled, 50% gone, BDs only 10% dumped, games about 25% gone.

    5. AndrueC Silver badge

      I used to collect books. I loved buying books and I liked seeing bookshelves. But then one day I realised that there were only a couple I ever read more than once and that wasn't often. So instead of buying yet another book shelf I got rid of my books. I have a Kindle reader and subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. I'm currently reading two or three books a week so that saves me a tonne of book shelves :)

      For TV shows and films I'm even less likely to want to watch things again. I've posted before that I subscribe to Sky Q and have a strict watch-then-delete policy. I'm happy to wait for the handful of films that I'd watch again to come around as/when the broadcaster decides they need to pad their schedule out.

      Thanks to Sky I have a DVR that is almost permanently three-quarters full with stuff I haven't seen before.

      I do have my own digital music collection but that's because I haven't got around to installing the Squeeze Server plugin that lets me add a link to a streaming service. I should probably look at that again as it did appear that it could treat the remote service as just another source of music so random play would include stuff both from my archive and the remote one.

      But my view is that the ability to enjoy various types of media without having to incur the cost and hassle of significant storage is one of the major benefits of modern times.

    6. mmccul

      For me, music is what I go back to again and again. I purchased a rather large physical CD collection over many years. Eventually, I ripped those CDs myself to digital format. Some music I purchased digitally out of laziness, but then I found a music seller that sells nearly DRM free versions reasonably (It clearly indicates the online store I purchased the file from in the comments), which encourages both my laziness and my desire to have full control.

      I still regularly listen to tracks from the very first CD I ever owned (no, I won't admit what it was). Music I purchased roughly thirty years ago remains high on my list of favorites. My collection of Haydn's music alone is literally days worth of unique music (I don't mean multiple versions of the same song, Haydn just wrote that much). Some of the music is difficult to find.

      So, for music, I'm picky. I have two versions of Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor that exhibit why I'm so picky and won't accept streaming very clearly. To someone not attuned to the genre, it's the same music, but I very heavily prefer one rendition over the other version. (And that doesn't get into the difference between Yo Yo Ma doing the Prelude of Bach's first Cello Sonata versus the Piano Guys rendition of the same, completely different songs using the same score.)

      1. CountCadaver Silver badge

        Try tidal

        It pays more to artists and has a decent catalogue of various genres and with the 19.99 package does mqa (and similar resolution FLAC)

        Decent stereo and you can hear the difference between lower bitrates and the mqa stuff

        (I am no audiophile....they are beyond redemption)

    7. david1024

      So, the new generation

      So, the new generation [re]discovers that rentals make sense and somehow the content providers are overcharging for a feature that none really needs (or actually wants/uses in practice).

      What's old is new again, but with a different name so it sounds cool and new. Blockbuster 2.0--enjoy!

    8. rafff

      "I have a lot of physical books.... there's only a few I actually go back and read again"

      Has no-ne hear of a public library?

      1. Barrie Shepherd

        Re: "I have a lot of physical books.... there's only a few I actually go back and read again"

        Government is doing their best to close public libraries down in many towns by removing funding from the councils that run them.

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: "I have a lot of physical books.... there's only a few I actually go back and read again"

          They are closed down 'cause there are not enough visitors. The funding is cut because there are not enough visitors. The "evil" government is not doing anything wrong here.

    9. Carlie J. Coats, Jr.

      Tax consequences and e-books

      You can't donate e-books for a tax deduction. So the sticker-price is "real."

      But for all those physical books you don't want to re-read: donate them and get the tax deduction. The effective price of the books then is about 65% of the sticker-price.

      Whenever e-book prices are more than 65% of the physical-book prices, it's a rip-off!

    10. Ignazio

      "why would I want paper books I'm not going to read again?"

      The article says it. They can be passed to someone else to enjoy.

      Digital ones *could* do the same thing. But the sellers prefer to sell multiple copies, at a price often very close to the physical item. Naughty of them.

  6. ChoHag Silver badge

    > So, what can you do about this trend for all the ownership power going to the company?

    Stop giving them money.

    1. NATTtrash

      Stop giving them money.

      Indeed, because that is what it is all about. Then again, "money management" and "intelligence" do not always come together with all specimens of the human species...

      There are other sparks of sanity though...

      Authors & Copyright Scholars Back 'Internet Archive' in Landmark Legal Battle

  7. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Still Waiting for Derry Girls DVD

    Same here for DVDs - I rip and convert to mp4, put them on the NAS and then the discs go in folders as backups. Newer stuff on the streaming platforms isn't available in many cases, but I'm OK with that so far and they might bring DVDs out when the streaming rates slow to a trickle but realistically the writing's on the wall for DVDs. Not sure what I'll do then; I don't subscribe to any streaming services, but I've got 17TB of mp4 to keep me occupied.

    1. msknight

      Re: Still Waiting for Derry Girls DVD

      I'm ripping BluRay as well. Bought a license for MakeMKV (bit of irony there) and then I handbrake the files that come off.

      1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

        Re: Still Waiting for Derry Girls DVD

        I've never bothered with that second part, though I admit I'm a bit clueless about ripping stuff. I seem to spend most of my time fighting with Kodi which I always instantly forget how to configure, rescan and so on.

        1. nightflame2

          Re: Still Waiting for Derry Girls DVD

          With disk space being relatively cheap the MakeMKV step is enough and gives you a perfect copy of the DVD or BluRay.

          Sure HandBrake can give you a smaller HEVC copy of almost as good quality if you are careful with settings. Pay careful attention to fast moving scenes especially ones with fire in. But then you are into a world of compatability issues with diferent players. I have found that Kodi (CoreElec for me) has issues with seeking and fast forwarding of HEVC files.

          1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

            Re: Still Waiting for Derry Girls DVD

            Thanks for the warning! My video pool consists of a pair of 11TB HDDs which is still only half full after ripping nearly everything we have, so it would seem I'm probably better off not mucking about with Handbrake... I'm guessing from what you say it's a lossy encoder which I prefer to avoid, which is why e.g. all my audio stuff is FLAC and only then gets converted to Ogg for portable devices.

      2. Peter Galbavy

        Re: Still Waiting for Derry Girls DVD

        MakeMKV "shareware" is free for DVDs and paid-after-trial for BluRay (and HD-DVDs - some of us have those left over) - but they keep posting the key for the "beta" in the forums anyway. I paid for the licence too. I prefer ffmpeg CLI for the h265 conversion, but still not finding the right setting for some edge cases (dark red areas as per many horror films). Meh. The BluRays and DVDs (and HD-DVDs) are all in storage for now.

  8. theOtherJT Silver badge

    While my kindle is very convenient...

    ...I always make a point to buy any book I intend to read more than once in dead tree form. Not only do they ensure that I still have them should Amazon decide to do something to stiff me out of reading things I paid for in the future, but they do a lovely job of making my living room look nice and feel loved in.

    I leave it as a exercise to the reader how I fill the kindle.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: While my kindle is very convenient...


      Pulp style books on Prime or Kindle unlimited, rad once then return, like a library book.

  9. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge


    That would be true if something like BitTorrent didn't exist. You can download almost anything there and in formats (PDF, EPUB) which no vendor can erase from your machine.

    People were stupid buying into Amazon's web of lies in the first place, so they deserve to get burned. It's no coincidence sales of CD's, DVD's and Blu-Rays are increasing again. People don't want the streaming services to take their rights to see a show away from them.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: True

      Prime Video often shows a new series it has for a limited time and then pushes it over to one of their extra-subscription packages. They did this recently with The Last Of Us, it was only on the regular service for about a month.

      And, of course, this sort of nonsense and the supposed "exclusivity" is used to push streaming services, so they won't be interested in releasing video in shiny disc form, which is a shame as a fair amount of interesting new content is being made by streaming companies.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: True

        I paid £35 for TLOU and it still works fine on my older console.

        SP games are usually still safe if BD is in your hands.

        1. mattaw2001

          Blue Disc players can have the DRM updated from a disc

          Just an FYI, not saying it's going to happen, but Blu-ray drives DRM can be updated by games or movie discs placed in them. The update can blacklist previous releases or revoke whole signing keys. That way they can get you even if you try to keep it air-gapped!

          1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

            Re: Blue Disc players can have the DRM updated from a disc

            True, but they only use it to stop pirated content, not legitimately purchased discs from playing. That would immediately result in a class-action lawsuit.

            Then the cartel authorities wake up.

          2. John Tserkezis

            Re: Blue Disc players can have the DRM updated from a disc

            but Blu-ray drives DRM can be updated by games or movie discs placed in them

            I haven't owned or even used a DVD/Blueray player(*) for well over a couple of decades. So not going to be an issue for me. :-)

            (*)I don't count my PC attached drives.

      2. Rich 2 Silver badge

        Re: True

        We have an Amazon telly thing - or more correctly, my wife does; I wouldn’t touch it with Zuk’s if it was up to me) - and it’s a source of constant annoyance for our kidlet that a cartoon he watched last week suddenly requires paying some random quantity of money for. Being asked to pay £15 for a 40 year old film is another fun thing they try.

        Amazon is a complete rip off - we (again, my wife!) pays for the Prime thing so it’s taking the piss to have to pay twice).

        I like Netflix (for now) - with that, you pay your money and that’s it; you’re not expected to pay twice. Same for Disney+ (though I think that particular subscription might be reviewed next time round - I think the prices have gone up quite a bit - need to check).

        It’s no surprise that torrents are still alive and well with the kind of shit Amazon pull, and I’m amazed their shitty piss-taking doesn’t get more press.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: True

        Yes, I have to scan my watchlist periodically and remove the ones that have moved behind an additional paywall.

  10. Sparkus

    "hard copies"

    are conveniently available at discount prices in used bookstores and private sales.......

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: "hard copies"

      I recently bought a random job lot of DVDs for £40 on eBay and there was enough interesting stuff to make it well worth the money. I suspect there will be more and more DVDs coming up for sale as people's DVD players die and they convert to to streaming.

      1. Sparkus

        Re: "hard copies"

        Eventually disc players are going to go out of production or their 'updated' firmware will be so crippled as to be useless.

        I have a pair of blu-ray players (bought on sale for less than US$ 100 each) and another pair of USB3 'computer' blu-ray capable drives in storage. The daily-drivers get enough of a workout to keep them 'fresh'. Every disc I buy/borrow gets ripped into the NAS via Jriver Media Center (wonderful stuff, check it out!) with the originals then repackaged and then stashed on the top shelf in the basement.

  11. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Nice to find another "Thin Man" fan.

  12. MJI Silver badge

    Donr it with films and TV for good reasons

    A film, some bribes went out and the BluRay was cancelled and only a HD-DVD was done.

    Yes I did email them and told them I got the HD-DVD rip off TPB, cpnverted it and played it off the hard drive of my PS3, mentioning I was going to buy the film but could not play it.

    TV, FTA channels start the series, then the scum buy the rights and stop me watching, TPB to the rescue.

    One series I loved I had pre ordered the DVD before the TPB release was out.

    Never seen those episodes on broadcast due to that..

    I have really culled my book collection as I was not not going to read them again, but keep the books I reallly want to keep.


    I look at this more philosophically.

    No, you do not "own" your books, movies, or anything else. You hold no implicit right over their contents, nor are you the creator, proprietor, or, well... owner, of its primary source of value to you. You do, and shall continue to in perpetuity, own its copy.

    And even that copy's ink may fade, may its pages decompose, may its film color, may its bits rot. Even for the original, it shall cease to be just as easily, and its creator and true "owner" often even faster.

    When does something become truly "owned"? When does the concept of something shift from a copy to a derivation? When does a work become a new work? When does the ship no longer belong to Theseus, and instead its numerous maintainers, craftsmen, sailors, and deckhands?

    Is it our ability to chose? Is our concept of ownership an invention in the minds of living creatures? If I were to say, "I made this", the only one to stop me would be other people to say I did not. If no one were around to see me make it, and no one else claimed to make it, and perhaps I truly did believe I made it, then would it not belong to me? Would I not have made it and would I not own it?

    I digress. Ownership over the physical is simple from both a philosophical, moral, ethical, and legal perspective: after the initial fuzzy process of owning something should occur; should that something be in your posession; and should you have been given the right by that material's owner to become of its posession; then you now own it in physicality. Not in totality, but just enough to allow you the freedom to experience it.

    And this is where the equivalencies of perspecrives diverge, as your school of thought, relevant legalities, and other such trivialities, detetmine what you may do with what you "own". But, if not in full—if not unrestricted except to make the claim that you yourself own it in entirety, do you truly own it? Without the ability to say that you so truly own it without restriction, do you double truly own it?

    You may think that my words facetious, my philosophy simplistic, or my positing disingenuous. But nay, dear reader, for words are coming out of my mind and being impressioned into this digital format by the force of my fingers so driven by the complex electrical spiderweb of neurons and synapses that make up my nervous system, so that they may be stored for an indefinite time on a platform of which I have no control, under a terms of service that were too long, didn't read; for the edification and elation of another—for you. And alas, I own these words. Maybe.

    Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Anything I own only has to last longer than I do.

      Ideally a little longer than the sprogs take to sell it off as ancient tat rare collectables !

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: When does something become truly "owned"?

      When it's in my library.

      That's MY book. You don't touch it until I give you permission.

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      "You do, and shall continue to in perpetuity, own its copy."

      And therein lies the problem. The copy that you paid actual coins for can suddenly "vanish", apparently with no recompense.

      "And even that copy's ink may fade, may its pages decompose, may its film color, may its bits rot."

      May it be forcibly removed from existence after a couple of years as it was purchased to be a convenient tax write-off...?

      "When does something become truly "owned"?"

      It's not so much about ownership, I don't care who thinks they "own" something. It's about entering into a simple commercial contract. I provide money and they provide the content purchased. If they no longer have the rights, fine, don't sell any more. But leave alone the stuff that has already been purchased or people will turn to piracy - and when they realise how easy it is, where's the incentive to pay for the next thing that might suddenly vanish?

      "If I were to say, "I made this", the only one to stop me would be other people to say I did not."

      But did you make that?

      "detetmine what you may do with what you "own""

      I think you're getting hung up on the ownership and creation. Generally speaking, the object's creator doesn't have an awful lot of say in what you do with the object that I own. If it's a car, then clearly I cannot say that I made it, especially if there's a bloody great Citroën badge on the front. But I can drive it on the wrong side of the road, do 97 in a 30 zone, attempt handbrake turns on winding country roads, or just the old fashioned run people over. Citroën cannot stop me, and it isn't their job to, that's what the police are for.

      If the physical thing is a DVD, well, okay, I'd like to see Warner telling me that it's just bad to pop the thing in the microwave. Or hang it from a tree to scare the predatory birds (that was the fate of many an AOL CD back in the day). Mount a clock mechanism in the middle? I own it so as long as I don't try to claim it as being my creation and/or make copies of the content (easier done with a CD than a car), pretty much everything else is my choice. Warner won't tell me I can only watch their not-for-children film after 9pm and Citroën won't tell me I cannot drive on Sundays...

      "under a terms of service that were too long, didn't read"

      Your words are yours, you retain all rights as the author. You just grant El Reg full worldwide rights to make copies (this is necessary in order to reproduce the comment in the comments section for other users to read).

      "And alas, I own these words. Maybe."

      And I own my drivel, except for the parts that were quoted for context. Though when you start discussing ownership and copyrights of comments on a forum, that way madness lies.

      A far simpler way to look at the problem isn't "ownership", but simply if you pay money for something, what are the realistic expectations of how long you can enjoy the privilege of that purchase? If it's a digital copy of a film that is going to vanish soon, well that ought to be factored into the price. You aren't just buying the "content", you're also buying the promise of it's availability. And if that promise is broken.....


        you took a tongue-in-cheek post way too seriously, congratulations

      2. John Tserkezis

        The copy that you paid actual coins for can suddenly "vanish", apparently with no recompense.

        I normally don't chase up books on Audible I've already bought, but one passed my way a little while back.

        I remembered I did indeed read it, and had it stored on my NAS, but Audible didn't have it anymore.

        It vanished - Big Brother style.

        All this does is re-affirm what I'm doing is "right". Or if you will, "fair", if not entirely legal.

    4. Bebu Silver badge
      Big Brother

      I look at this more philosophically.

      Pretty fair assessment.

      I always assumed that at best you owned the paper, glue and ink of a book - the author's content were owned by an entity (often not the author) for 50,75 or 95 years after the author's decease. Beside that logical content the physical presentation is owned by the publisher which means while you are free to transcribe the Sherlock Holmes stories and distribute them but not to distribute to copies of the current Penguin editions.

      Presumably why the Gutenberg Project and The Faded Page have legions of volunteer proof readers and transcribers.

      One clear difference between digital copies and the physical ones they have displaced is the ability to lawfully transfer ownership (or custody if you wish) of the physical copy. So my physical copy of Radia Perlman's "Interconnections" 1/e has at least potentially some residual value which an ebook usually does not. Ditto for CDs, DVDs and (heaven forbid) Vinyls.

      I suspect that the idea of ownership is fundamentally logically flawed. I always thought the idea that things owned you rather the other, more conventional, way round had some merit. A hoarding victim is well and truly "owned." :) As a well known Sydney spruiker would declaim, if not with any originality, "no pockets in shrouds" which summarizes the ephemeral nature of the concept of ownership.

    5. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Ink Fade

      I own some books more than 100 years old, and the ink in them has not yet faded. I have had commerical DVDs go bad.

      (Icon for "old-school media.")

    6. jake Silver badge

      I own this beer, having grown the hops and barley and live-caught the yeast.

      But I'm magnanimous. You can have it when I'm done with it.

    7. J. Cook Silver badge

      I'm upvoting this for the elegance, the entire philosophical argument being presented, this... masterwork of trolling.

      Bravo, I say. Bravo!

  14. Valeyard

    variety of reasons

    I cancelled all my streaming services. all my daughter liked to watch from the paid ones were snow white, alice in wonderland, aladdin and little mermaid and once I ran out of stuff to watch there I realised I was essentially paying a monthly subscription fee for like 50 year old films, the local CEX has those at £1.50 per DVD so that's paid for itself already. likewise i have several boxsets I'll sit through, or buy something from a CEX style shop for pennies, watch it then return if i want to like xtravision all over again.

    I still have my SNES, NES, game boy etc. they play as good as the day they were released with no loss in gameplay. The PSP for example games work locally, but the free online bonus content for example has to be ripped and placed onto the memory card since the servers are long-dead, and that just shows that if you rely on a server for anything, it's not yours. It exists at the whim of beancounters deciding it's past profitability or the company going under and its servers with it.

  15. darkrookie28

    Complain all you want

    But this is the future everyone signed up for. Did it in droves as well.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Complain all you want

      Not everyone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Complain all you want

      > But this is the future everyone signed up for

      This is the future the hoi polloi were scammed into signing up for.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The issue of copyright or even copyleft

    could result in a discussion that never ends.

    Just look at the lengths Disney goes to, to keep control of that little rodent creation that helped build their empire.

    There are sites that want you to sign over your copyright to them in order to post on their site. Thankfully in the era of digital photography, I nearly always have multiple copies of almost the same shot burt even so, it wrankles with me to have to give away all rights to an image that I took.

    The same goes for the written word. If you are not careful then you can easily lose all rights to your next blockbuster novel.

    These companies who are moving to subscription only are playing the copyright game. You pay me every month/day/year/hour or else. I own the copyright so pay up or else.

    This is all why I only have one subscription left and that is Adobe PS. If I could replace Lightroom with something that actually works then that would be it for me.

    I've recently dumped VMWare and replaced it with VirtualBox. At least at the moment, it is free to use for me. How long that will remain is in the lap of the gods.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: The issue of copyright or even copyleft


      "There are sites that want you to sign over your copyright to them in order to post on their site. Thankfully in the era of digital photography, I nearly always have multiple copies of almost the same shot burt even so, it wrankles with me to have to give away all rights to an image that I took."

      do what I do, downsize the picture to 1000*600 using a 'good enough' photo tool, then they can have 'rights' to that image.

      While you're still sitting on the spiffy 24 megapixel original.

      As for the whole "drm vs physical media' debate, please remember that in this country you can make back up copies of the media you've bought for your own use.

      So its perfectly legal to buy Lord of the rings extended 3 volume version. and then rip all 6 discs to your network storage box

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: downsize the picture to 1000*600

        Photo Libraries won't accept images like that. They want the full 24mp or greater images.

        I had an image 'stolen' by a scumbag photographer in the USA. He 'sold' it to a magazine. It took me 9 months and over $3,000 to get the magazine to admit that they were wrong. I had all the supporting shots and the travel plans to prove that I'd been there when it was taken. The scumbag didn't yet he fought it right to the day of the trial. He declared bankruptcy rather than pay me the damages.

        These days, I don't put any of my photos online. That applies to even 1024x768 @72dpi versions with a watermark..

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: downsize the picture to 1000*600

          "He declared bankruptcy rather than pay me the damages."

          Debts incurred by court order (especially as a result of malicious behaviour) are not wiped by Bankruptcy - as Rudi Guiliani is now finding out

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: downsize the picture to 1000*600

            Part of the problem is collecting on the debts, even on a court judgement- hiring someone to collect a debt can get expensive, especially if it involves travel, and Anon may have decided that it was just not worth the cost of collecting. In the US at least, bankruptcy will trash your credit score for 7-10 years, and is a punishment in and of itself. It's not this magic 'get out of debt free card'- there are consequences for doing it.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: downsize the picture to 1000*600

              It only gets expensive if you let it do so.

              In the case of a court ordered debt, you apply to the courts for an enforcement order (cheap) and then pay the court to send out bailiffs (also cheap)

              The advantage of doing it this way is that unlike private debt collectors, court appointed bailiffs are officers of the court and interfering with them is a criminal matter

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: The issue of copyright or even copyleft

      "Just look at the lengths Disney goes to, to keep control of that little rodent creation that helped build their empire."

      That little rodent and Disney's copyright obsession are a direct result of his losing the rights to an earlier character he created - Oswald Rabbit (It's also a root cause of his fierce anti-semitism)

      Ironically in the corporate pursuit of copyright, actual creators get an even more raw deal than Disney did before the Mouse

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Piracy for the rescue

    This is why PIRACY is our only hope.

    I use Linux and open source software only at work. I have paid perpetual licenses for some useful commercial software that I can actually download and then activate WITHOUT INTERNET CONNECTION. (yes, such software still exists. For example Total Commander and Terabyte Image For Linux.)

    Everything that is "leased" or "owned by the seller" is a NO-NO. Music, video, books, software, etc. If I buy something, then I crack it so it can be REALLY MINE.

    When I buy a game from Steam I only buy the discounted ones (10 euros or so) knowing that they are leased, not bought. And this is why I don't want to pay more than 10 euros for such games. I'd pay the full price for games that are actually mine to install and play, like the old ones from the 90s, that I still own and sometimes like to play. (the original Diablo, Diablo 2, Doom, Quake, Warcraft, etc)

    Otherwise, Amule and Torrent are there to help.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Piracy for the rescue

      As a wise man once said, "If buying isn't owning, then piracy isn't stealing".

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Philosophy Be Damned.......

    ......I want a physical copy which physical copy is under my control. End of!

    Physical book, eBook, DVD, MP3, PDF.........whatever........

  19. bofh1961

    Thanks for a very useful article

    I particularly like eBay for getting old CDs, DVDs and books. Bookfinder is very good too. I don't like anything about the streaming model from either the business or technical point of view. It's designed to screw the consumer and kill the secondhand market.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are precedents

    Anyone who thinks they own their relatives burial plots "forever", are in for a rude awakening.

    Indeed anyone who "owns" a leasehold property.

    In fact owning a PC is like being a freeholder.. You own the land. You don't own what is built on it.

    I'm not saying it's right. Just that it is.

  21. Free treacle

    Gabe gets it right

    There are titles in my Steam library which are no longer listed to purchase, but it seems Valve retain an option for me to download and play at any time. Removed content only seems to effect you if you haven't previously purchased it.

    Wish I'd got the Poker Night games when I had a chance though.

  22. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Streaming content & quality is crap!

    Sure, if I want to watch a re-run TV show originally produced in 480p, streaming is just fine. Not so if I want a full immersive experience with my home theater. Audio quality sucks compared to Dolby Atmos from a 4k Blu-ray and having a movie pause for buffering totally kills the experience.

    Killing off physical DVD / Blu-ray media will only hurt the entertainment industry financially.

  23. Alf Garnett

    No wonder

    No wonder people pirate stuff. You pay for the streaming service, then you go to watch something you saw on it before only to find the streaming service no longer has it. Another beef I have with the streaming services is that people can't afford the multitude of streaming services that would be required to watch everything one likes. At $10 or $15 each, it quickly adds up. Then there is the conttent that the right owners decide to pull from the market for the hell of it. Recently I wanted to watch the Disney film Song Of The South. Disney no longer sells it. I read somewhere they decided it wasn't PC so the quit selling copies of it. I went to my old friend Usenet who had a copy in 1080p. Now I have a copy I can watch whenever I want.

    I can understand why the software people want to make their stuff available via a subscription only model. They get you paying over and over and over again in perpituity. Customers find it hard to accept because we've been buying software and owning the copy we bought since people started buying software 50 years ago or so.

    I do buy CDs and DVDs. When I get them, I take the internal drive I keep in a drawer, plug in the USB adapter, put the disc in and rip the contents. When I'm done the disc goes back on the shelf. Also thanks to CSS I can get them from anywere in the world. A few months ago I bought the Are You Being Served box set from a seller in the UK for much less than that same seller wanted for it in the US. Even with paying the shipping from the UK it was cheaper. I know it's the wrong region code to play on a US DVD player, but the computer doesn't care. Now I can watch Mr Mash harass Mrs Slocombe as she's talking about her pussy whenever I feel like it.

    As long as it's more convenient to pirate something than to buy a copy or license, people will continue priating it.

  24. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Case in point: Star Trek & Paramount Plus

    (Full disclosure, I've seen them all before. Star Trek is my go-to when I need to put my brain in neutral to decompress, work out at the gym, etc).

    Netflix had a couple of the Star Trek series - Voyager & DS9, I think. I got the other three off Amazon Prime - TNG, TOS, & Enterprise. Or something like that.

    Along comes Paramount, which owns those digital properties. They pulled all the rights from those streaming services and launched their own. Okay, that's fine. I dropped Netflix & Amazon Prime is just a freebie included with 2-day shipping. I signed up for the $50/year Paramount Plus plan because I would rather pay than be forced to watch advertisements.

    That was last year. Now Paramount Plus has absolutely jacked the renewal price to $120/year. NO THANK YOU! I am DONE being dicked around with just to watch some 20-year old re-runs!

    Pro Tip: When signing up for any of these services use a disposable credit card number from a place like I can define a charge limit. That way I remain in control when they raise the price and attempt to automatically renew me "for my convenience".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Case in point: Star Trek & Paramount Plus

      "use a disposable credit card number from a place like I can define a charge limit."


    2. WolfFan

      Re: Case in point: Star Trek & Paramount Plus

      Paramount cost itself money, in my case.

      I wanted the ability to watch certain episodes of TOS, NG, DS9, and even Ent (the Mirror Universe Ent episodes are among the very few Ent episodes worth watching). Yes, I want to see The Doomsday Machine and Elan of Troyius; no, The Omega Glory and Turnabout Intruder can bugger off. Paramount wanted me to pay to stream the lot. I was willing to have a look at Lower Decks; Disco, and Pick A Card can also bugger off. I might have gone for Strange New Worlds… but Paramount hiked the subscription price, and I departed. I have the whole of TOS, NG, and DS9 ripped to MKV. I have select episodes of Ent as MKV, too. The H&I channel on my local cable runs a block of All Star Trek every night except Saturday, with every episode of TOS, NG, DS9, Ent, and Vger, in order. It was trivial to make a copy, delete the ads, and drop them onto the NAS. I could even get Vger, if I wanted, which I don't.

      I have Babylon 5 and UFO and several other SF series (Captain Scarlet! Thunderbirds!) on DVD; the rights owners were not insane and the full set was priced reasonably. DRM was defeated, the original discs stored, and MKVs parked on the NAS. Paramount wants insane money ($130 for TOS, last I checked, and $80-90 for Vger) for DVDs. I could probably shop around and find them cheaper, but I’m not going to bother. Fuck them. Not a penny. If they had been reasonable, I would have bought DVDs or would still stream. They weren't. I departed at warp factor 9.5.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Case in point: Star Trek & Paramount Plus

        I have a non DRM version of Star Trek, recorded off the TV in the 90s.

        Decent VCR and in stereo, I had a NICAM decoder wired into a Beta HiFi deck.

        They still play OK

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: Case in point: Star Trek & Paramount Plus

          > Star Trek, recorded off the TV in the 90s

          The sad part: It is now available in HD. And the quality step is visible, VERY visible.

    3. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: Case in point: Star Trek & Paramount Plus

      When I cancelled Paramount+ they offered me a renewal deal at half price (35 quid in the UK). It's worth it for that price, I can finish all the Star Trek and new Macgyver by the time it runs out and then quid. It's not worth it at full price.

  25. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Copyright owners have been reselling stuff to their customers for years as new media were developed - shellac, vinyl, cassette, CD. They've got into the habit of just doing thatand it's going to take a long time for them to grasp that the customers are now able to fight back because storage is cheap.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm still at vinyl, with some CD's so I am way behind on this curve.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm still fond of vinyl, but it does seem to have shrunk a bit over the years

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      In the case of music, the entire industry was in terminal sales decline just before the advent of CDs and 90% of all sales were consumers refreshing their collections, not new artists

      By the mid 1990s the industry was in terminal decline again and "piracy" was merely a way of gaslighting to avoid the real reason

      As for single sales: Singles fell to lower weekly unit sales than albums before the end of the 1960s. By the 1980s they accounted for something like 1% of unit sales compared to albums and kept falling until digital downloads became a thing recently - even now they're not even close to 1960s sales levels

      (In other words, we have radio "hits" tastes being defined by an extremely narrow segment of market consumers and it's a classic echo chamber scenario)

  26. CorwinX Bronze badge

    Broadcom may get away with it but...

    A number of very large City companies that I used to work for, and am still in touch with, are actively testing Xen and would happily pay for support if they get the right results from function and migration testing.

    These people don't mind paying whatever for something that helps make/save them money but...

    They really don't like investing shed-loads on something over years (both kit and the techs that run it) and suddenly have someone pull a switcheroo on what they bought and paid for.

    Broadcom may find that hubris can be a right bitch!

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Broadcom may get away with it but...

      Same here; one of my multi-year projects, starting this year, is to find a workable replacement for VMware in our environment; I figure I have until our support contract expires to find a workable replacement that will also allow a migration across platforms without having to rebuild some 400 plus VMs. Thankfully, I also have a lab for this, and I can probably poke our VARs to see if anyone has some expertise for hire.

  27. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

    How timely.

    As I sit here catching up on El Reg, my DVD player is humming away ripping some of the DVDs that come out at Christmas so I can put them on my MythTV server. SWMBO actually suggested it, though not in those words, when she commented on ho wit would be easier watching them from "the box" than having to find the DVDs.

    Obviously we already have the physical media (I really don't do this pay for something so ephemeral you never know if it will still be around by the time you've finished watching it), but it does take time to do. And the originals go in a box and put away at the back of the attic so no-one can accuse me of pirating them. I have had to explain, more than once, to SWMBO that ripping stuff and then taking the originals to a charity shop really isn't even in the spirit of copyright law.

    And of course, as things are going, I'll be needing to add another disk soon.

  28. Gene Cash Silver badge

    To remove DRM, you'll need the open-source library, libdvdcss

    Every year, I tip one back to DVD Jon.

    Does anyone remember the noise over that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To remove DRM, you'll need the open-source library, libdvdcss

      > Does anyone remember the noise over that?

      You mean things like the teeshirts with the code printed on them? Which were apparently munitions and illegal to export...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: To remove DRM, you'll need the open-source library, libdvdcss

        No the T-shirts were free speech and so protected by the constitution.

        Interestingly with the Met police arresting people for having blank signs at Chuck's kingification, would they arrest you for wearing a plain white T-shirt ?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: To remove DRM, you'll need the open-source library, libdvdcss

          And arresting people for wearing t-shirts or carrying signs which said "Scientology is a dangerous cult"

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: To remove DRM, you'll need the open-source library, libdvdcss

        The T-shirts that were considered munitions were the PGP-in-perl shirts in the early 90s, the DeCSS kerfuffle was late '90s and early '00s.

        I wore the PGP-in-perl T-shirt out of and back into the USA on maybe a dozen flights from '91 to '93 without anybody even blinking at me funny. Later, I occasionally carried a copy of Bruce Schneier's "Applied Cryptography" book containing source examples in the text (which did not fall under the export restrictions) and the disk containing the very same source, which was bound into the cover (and very definitely did fall under those restrictions).

        This kind of security theater may be worth the paper it is printed on, but not much more.

        I stopped trying to get arrested on principle when I grew up after having a kid of my own to take care of. Priorities & all that. Today, she tells me I shouldn't have wimped out ... but she did wear the shirt and took the book into "show and tell" occasionally, as examples of governmental stupidity.

        My Grand daughter (not quite 11 yet at the time) wanted to do the same show and tell, with the same shirt and book ... and then snip off a corner of the shirt to turn into gun cotton to demonstrate how easy real munitions are to make. I nixed cutting up the shirt (too many memories), and recommended snipping a bit off of another T-shirt instead. Her school nixed that option[1], because children aren't supposed to know such things, and IT WOULD BE DANGEROUS!!! (the school's CAPS and punctuation). Model rocketry has been banned for the same reason, much to her deep dismay.

        At just ten years old she was already on the "watch list" for her school district because she knows too much. What kind of useless milquetoasts are her generation going to become, anyway?

        [0] That CD is still bound into the cover; I never bothered to take it out because it is available for the download online.

        [1] Surprisingly, the hand-wringers & namby-pambys didn't try to have her arrested for bringing weapons to class.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: To remove DRM, you'll need the open-source library, libdvdcss

          >At just ten years old she was already on the "watch list" ... What kind of useless milquetoasts are her generation going to become, anyway?

          Perhaps don't let her get a white cat or order a monorail for the shed - just to be on the safe side.

  29. Tron Silver badge

    Let's get physical.

    I still buy CDs and have a large collection. I have a wall of boxes of books and pretty much every TV series or movie I've ever enjoyed on DVD. You can still buy record players, VCRs, and ZX81s, so I doubt DVD players are going to vanish. Just in case, I have a pile of multi-region BD players and some that work with PCs. And several W7 base units. That lot should do me for my retirement. When I snuff it, the entire collection can go to an institution, as by that time, they will be worth a few bob.

    So, from the Water Margin, Men Behaving Badly and Reboot to Goblin and Extraordinary Attorney Woo, from AKB48 and Davichi to Dire Straits and Queen, none of the stuff I like can be cancelled or blocked from me. I suggest you make an equivalent investment in the things you enjoy, before some crazy activist or corporate lawyer decides to purify your soul and save you from 'harms' by taking it off you.

    1. fromxyzzy

      Re: Let's get physical.

      You'd be amazed at the low quality of many DVD players, I shopped around for a used dual VHS/DVD-Recorder last year and it was virtually impossible to find one where one side or the other hadn't ceased to function somehow. One of those situations where the later in the production life of the technology you go, the worse the quality you find - VCRs hit a peak around the early 90s, DVD players were just always pretty bad. Best luck you'll have with DVDs long term is with a computer drive as far as I can tell.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Let's get physical.

        VCR peak was mid late 80s, but then early 80s stuff was well engineered.

        Like my Sony portable

  30. Grunchy Silver badge

    Cannot play Steam library on Win7 after Dec 31 2022

    I don’t buy Steam games any more because they don’t want to support that era of OS anymore, even though every game I have runs fine on Win7.

    I’ve moved on to GOG for DRM-free games only.

    I can’t believe anybody pays a cent for Microsoft anything. Libre Office is finally a decent alternative.

    As for music & books: I do my shopping on FM radio & free little libraries. You know where’s a good place to buy content? Thrift stores. Or borrow from library and rip at will.

    (I’m not paying any money for computer hardware anymore either. I can get amazing deals on cast-off equipment at the recyclers. I have six high end HP & Lenovo servers downstairs with hundreds of GB of ram each and the whole lot cost less than $500!)

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Cannot play Steam library on Win7 after Dec 31 2022

      I really _really_ hope you don't have that Win7 anywhere near a networked connection

      Then again, if you're using Steam, it has to be....

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cory Doctorow

    hit the nail on the head: "If buying isn’t owning, piracy isn’t stealing"

  32. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Tech businesses are modern-day thieves

    Apple, a company valued at more than a trillion-dollars, stole £5 from me and refused to return it.

    Apparently they were selling a game they were not permitted to and removed it from their cRapp-store, removing my ability to install something I had paid for.

    There is something slightly disturbing and sociopathic about tech businesses, especially American ones

    1. ecofeco Silver badge


    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Apparently they were selling a game they were not permitted to and removed it from their cRapp-store, removing my ability to install something I had paid for."

      This is explicitly covered in Chapter 3 of the Consumer rights Act 2015

      "In most cases the consumer is entitled to a full refund of all money paid for the digital content where there is a failure of the 'right to supply'. The requirements for this refund are the same as those for when a price reduction is triggered as detailed above."

      There are provisions for pro-rata refunds if only part of a purchase becomes unavailable

      It's worth noting that there is NO expiry (time limit) for digital deliveries being removed after purchase. Once paid for, the item must be "available forever" - and this includes stuff with an online keyserver. If the keys go away and the product is locked it's treated in the same manner as having been made unavailable or removed from a consumer device

      This is a UK law but it's very similar to laws across the EU

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    insult to injury

    Besides the whole "ownership" issue, altering content with re-issue is a means to extend copyright or avoid it. Case in point: Northern Exposure.

    Recently got the Northern Exposure DVD boxed set, but realized something wasn't right. The music, which tied the original stories together nicely, wasn't as I remembered it. Comparing episodes on ancient OTA VHS recordings with the "new" DVD set, the music Chris the DJ plays at KBHR had changed. It seems the original series hadn't acquired re-issue rights to all the music used for broadcast. So completely new music was shoehorned into the soundtrack.

    Similarly, the estates of some actors won't authorize re-issues on new media formats, so characters or complete episodes disappeared.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: insult to injury

      Tutti-Frutti only just resurfaced after the big mans' death because although the BBC had the rights to the songs, they didn't have the rights to make new recordings sung by Coltrane

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Half a pirate

    I buy the books from Amazon, then remove the DRM with Calibre and copy them to my NAS/Tablet. This way, I pay the author and read the way I want. I'm breaking a law (not sure which one...), but I don't think I'm crossing any real lines.

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Half a pirate

      Technically, in the US you are breaking the DMCA. (I am not a lawyer, your mileage may vary, etc.) for the audacity to break the DRM on the ebooks. But I expect you knew that, or you are not in the US, so it doesn't apply to you.

    2. CountCadaver Silver badge

      Re: Half a pirate

      Problem is that new books on Amazon are increasingly now KFX format which when I last looked couldn't be removed with calibre (though there were some workarounds at the time)

  35. mostly average

    If it can be viewed/heard

    It can be copied, It's just a matter of at what quality. Worst case, someone can just set up a camera in front of the telly. There's obviously more sophisticated ways of doing this, some that operate entirely in the digital domain. Now where did I put that Betamax of the Star Wars Holiday special?

  36. aelfheld


    "They're off to the digital dustbin as soon as I'm under the ground."

    Don't bet on it being that far in the future.

  37. Phones Sheridan Silver badge


    Can you really gift digital media? I was recently chatting to a 60 something work friend who fronts an Iggy Pop / Status Quo tribute band. I was telling him how I played rock organ in my youth, and my favourite thing to perform back then was Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds. What followed was an incredulous 15 minute "What's War of the Worlds - You've never heard of War of the Worlds - You know the film, with the tripods, NO??, The HG wells broadcast?, the book?, the Jeff Wayne Musical version?". Long story short, I gave him a CD copy. He was over the moon. A couple of days later he sent me a picture, he'd mounted the CD case on the wall in his recording studio. It was now his favourite thing in the world, and was the top of his play list. I don't really think that you could get that kind of response from digital media.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Gifting

      Good post. As a fellow some-time musician, I understand sharing work that you're proud of. Thumb up, and have a beer.

      But ... How do you figure that a CD isn't digital media?

      1. Phones Sheridan Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Gifting

        Good point, maybe I should have said I don't really think that you could get that kind of response from forwarding someone an MP3.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Gifting

      I've been guilty of buying vinyl versions of CDs I already had simply for the larger-scale cover art

  38. b1k3rdude

    This is why I dont buy anything other than games digitaly. And if game comes out on GoG and steam, I buy it on Gog. And if one day Valve start fucking me about, I will simply head to the high seas for backup copies of the games I paid money for.

  39. ecofeco Silver badge

    People are incredible!

    Incredible suckers! ... that is.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: People are incredible!

      Well, yes. Especially as a herd flock.

      Current tunage: The Stranglers "Nice and Sleazy", one of my favorite xmas carols.

  40. arachnoid2

    Just imagine

    If clothes stores implemented DRM on products they "sold" you and required you had to stop using them if and when the vendor decided to remove you right to wear them,

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Just imagine

      The book and music publishing industry have both tried to overturn "first sale" mantras for physical copies, demanding royalties from secondhand book/record shops

      If they could, they would

      1. CountCadaver Silver badge

        Re: Just imagine

        Just like the performing rights society threaten any business/place open to the public/hospital etc with menaces for the temerity to *gasp* have the audacity to have a radio on....

        So not only do they get paid by the radio station but they then demand a hefty yearly "licencing fee" as "it clearly adds value to your business so we want paid"

        Perfect example of having cake and eating it as well as eating someone else's

    2. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Just imagine

      That's not the same thing though. With clothes you are paying for a good that keeps you warm and dry. Ds or DVDs are just plastic media. It's the information encoded on the media that you are paying for.

      Put another way:

      If someone offered to replace the contents of your wardrobe with random clothing (that fit you) you probably wouldn't object much if it all.

      If someone offered to replace your DVD/CD collection with random discs you certainly would.

      Music/TV/Film is ethereal. It's not a physical good as such and therefore any attempt to treat it the same way is going to be flawed.

      1. arachnoid2

        Re: Just imagine

        But the clothes are designed in the same way music is. So that infers a designer could ask for more money if you sold it on to another person to wear.

  41. Alan Brown Silver badge

    At which point....

    Do people (and courts) realise that copyright law has gone vastly too far and returns to older, more sensible settings?

    Royal Patents were abolished in the 16th century because of similar IP abuses to those we see today (including trolls) and only reinstated a few decades later using the format we now use (time limited)

    If I write a bestselling book, I don't see why my great-great grandchildren should be entitled to royalties from MY work, but that's the current situation

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: At which point....

      >If I write a bestselling book, I don't see why my great-great grandchildren should be entitled to royalties from MY work

      Yes that's ridiculous, only the publishing company should still be getting money in the next millennium

    2. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: At which point....

      >If I write a bestselling book, I don't see why my great-great grandchildren should be entitled to royalties from MY work, but that's the current situation

      It’s most likely that you didn’t get paid a decent amount per hour of work that you spent on writing. With books, music etc. you don’t get paid on delivery, you get paid a percentage as long as your work sells and makes money. So if I wrote a book, I intend to live another twenty years, and it is so good that it still makes money after 20 years, then I haven’t been paid completely yet. So yes, I want that money to go to my heirs.

      1. arachnoid2

        Re: At which point....

        The same for painting nes paux?

  42. Alan Brown Silver badge

    UK: Consumer Rights Act 2015 - Chapter 3 - Digital Content

    This is worth reading. Legislation notes here:

    Of note:

    - The act specifically prohibits suppliers "Contracting out" of provisions of the act

    - Paying for in-game digital goods with tokens that trace back to money is covered by the act

    - There is consideration given to the validity and enforcibility of "click-wrap" licenses

    - Unfair terms are covered

    - Prohibits forced arbitration (unfair contract term)

    There's a lot more to it, but reading the notes will give a much better idea of what suppliers can and cannot do - As may be expected, American-based companies are usually operating well outside European law (The UK act is more or less replicated across the EU and if anything offers a lower bar of consumer protection than most EU countries)

    There's been talk of people finding their Prime accounts closed and all media access cut off due to billing disputes on "unfit for purpose" or "non-delivery" - suffice to say that Amazon doesn't have a leg to stand on here and anyone who has this happen should be taking legal advice (not just full refunds, but compensation)

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: UK: Consumer Rights Act 2015 - Chapter 3 - Digital Content

      >As may be expected, American-based companies are usually operating well outside European law

      Although the Apple hardware you buy in a shop on Oxford St is actually sold in Ireland, the software sales all legally take place in Narnia and disputes must be lodged with Apple's customer service dept in Mordor

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: UK: Consumer Rights Act 2015 - Chapter 3 - Digital Content

        "the software sales all legally take place in Narnia"

        That's the point. According to the consumer rights act, they don't and any contract terms which say they do aren't enforceable

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: UK: Consumer Rights Act 2015 - Chapter 3 - Digital Content

        I'll just walk to customer service and bang on the door then.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: UK: Consumer Rights Act 2015 - Chapter 3 - Digital Content

          One does not simply walk into Apple HQ

          Although apparently lots of workers do walk into the stylish glass walls and concuss themselves

  43. Peter Galbavy

    I still buy CDs (esp in charity shops) and only download un-DRMed music, typically when bought with a record or as a sampler. As for books, I am in the Kindle ecosystem, abandoning Google Books when they unilaterally imposed DRM on titles that the author and publisher said would not be DRMed (later China Mievelle like The City and The City etc). I can backup my Kindle books using open tools like Calibre to protect against corporate avarice, but it's tedious.

  44. gnasher729 Silver badge

    The first Amazon situation

    If you buy stolen goods you don’t own them. It seems Amazon sold two books without permission of the copyright holder, so you did indeed not own these books. Normally Amazon should as you to delete them and give you a refund. They deleted them instead; the result was still correct.

    I think Apple has the ability to stop any app bought from the App Store from working but to my best knowledge this has never happened. Should they detect malware, with a likelihood that it causes me damage, I would expect them to protect me from the malware - and give me a refund. That ability has nothing to do with ownership.

  45. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    A bird in the hand

    Is worth two in the stream

    1. Mark Zero

      Re: A bird in the hand

      Hmm reminds me of a funny saying that my father, who was a professor of medicine used to say, rarely;

      A push in the bush is worth two in the hand.


  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No ownership and privacy invasion too

    I've complained about many things regarding ebooks. They can't be or are difficult to loan or share. Kindle books are a proprietary format. Often books with illustrations or pictures don't offer the same (to me) experience.

    And now, despite their cost being the same or close to that of physical books it appears that we don't even own our copies of them.

    To be clear, there are many benefits as well.

    One thing I didn't know until recently was that ebook publishers (Amazon) collect and sell data on our ebook usage.

    So...we pay pretty much the same price as a physical

    book, but don't own our copy, we can't use our copy like we would a physical book and the seller tracks our usage and other activity and sells it to whomever they desire.

    Nice way to treat customers.

  47. Grunchy Silver badge

    Did something crazy

    I bought a box with random 700 cds for $13.99 per hundred and I just rip em.

    Hey it was funny people bought music libraries from iTunes and then passed away, and children tried to access the collection, only to find out Steve Jobs wanted all that for himself (and then died to spite em.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Did something crazy

      A drummer friend let me borrow 14 lbs. of CD Albums with the songs he uses to practice, all the way from Abba to ZZ Top. I ripped everything and returned it to him.

      It took 12 hours to rip everything, and 50GB of mp3 files. Never regretted it one bit. Now it all fits on a single microSD, a copy in my car.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Did something crazy

        But that kills music and (checks notes) funds drug dealing and terrorism

        1. fromxyzzy

          Re: Did something crazy

          Let's be real, all music leads to funding drug dealing.

  48. Luiz Abdala

    I miss the simpler times...

    ...When Eletronic Arts reverse-engineered the Sega Genesis /Mega Drive and was about to make custom cartridges and sell them (REGARDLESS of copyright and be sued out of existence) with their own manufacturing and code, but Sega made a deal with them to license the games in the last minute with better royalties.

    (Imagine this, Sega saw the yellow-tabbed cartridges working perfectly fine in the console, and panicked!)

    If we could just do that and jailbreak all forms of media to run whatever we want, and not be blocked to run whatever the makers don't want us to run...

    That's why retro gaming exist, and a myriad of emulator makers are in the scene.

    In the games department, the reaction already begun.

  49. 0laf Silver badge

    Nothing new

    I've been telling people for years that they are only buying a license when it's a streaming service or a digital copy.

    TBH for many things I don't really care. Steam, yeah I use it and I've had no issues in 8yr, it's unlikely I'll have any issues that will make me change what i do. Also I only buy older stuff so no big bucks involved.

    Music is a bit different, I still like to own my music, I still have physical media players and they are good quality so I'm going to keep buying physical music. Film I'm less concerned about but I may go back to buying bluerays etc for films I really want to keep watching. Most things I wouldn't really miss.

  50. tiggity Silver badge

    I like my physical books

    I have several signed copies * - cannot really get an e-book signed.

    Plenty of my books are illustrated (varying from fine art books to wildlife field guides) - a quality printed image is easier on the eye than viewed on a screen... though most of my field guides have some water damage now from "use in the field", but still OK to use (& e-reader would definitely not have coped with extremely wet rainforest conditions in the same way the "real" book field guide managed - I reckon an e-reader might have lasted a couple of minutes before expiring).

    Between us, partner and myself have a good number of books over a century old that are still in good condition and have more years ahead of them than we do!. Well cared for books last a very long time.

    * Sadly all those authors now dead, the cynic may say that increases the value, but would sooner have e.g. Iain Banks around producing new works & criticising the Tories than have a book with hand written dedication to me that has increased in value

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This has been a massive long term problem with music production software, a market where many if not most of the companies that build and sell the software are very small (often one person operations) and can go out of business or otherwise disappear immediately and without notice.

    Much of modern music is made with computer-based software instruments generally referred to as VSTs, many of which are made and sold with no real support. If you purchase a useful instrument or audio tool, it will often not be upgraded and eventually (thanks to the pointless march of enforced incompatibility on Macs, the generally preferred computer for audio production studios) will inevitably cease to work. It will just as often become impossible to download once the distribution source ceases to work.

    This has become much more of a problem in the past ten years because many companies have begun using 'phone home' DRM that requires a constant internet connection and puts an extra burden on the computer running their software.

    The only solution to these problems has been pirate groups who both break the DRM and provide copies of the purchased software that can be preserved. In computer gaming, Steam solved all of these problems, so once-rampant piracy settled down to a low simmer on the back burner, but in music software without an equivalent to Steam it will be utterly necessary to have a strong pirate cracking culture.

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