Friday, November 27, 2009

DRM sucks and only punishes people who play by the rules.

I have been rebuilding and reinstalling programs on my computer the last two days and I’ve run into digital rights management problems twice already!

The two programs that complained are Adobe Creative Suite 3 Standard and Mindjet MindManager 7.

In both cases, reinstalling the program and trying to activate it resulted in errors indicating that I had tried to install the programs too many times.

In the case of CS3, you get two activations so that you can install it on two different computers,  but in my case I guess that it counted both Vista (my original OS) and Win7 32-bit (the upgraded OS that died). I rebuilt my system with Win7 64-bit which set the counter over the limit.

You can deactivate one copy before moving it to another computer, but that is hard to do when your OS fails before you can deactivate CS3. And now I can’t even install the second copy because it has counted the same computer THREE times.

MindManager is even more limiting with only one activation available. And I couldn’t find any way to deactivate it from the menus within the program.

Anyway, in both cases I was able to call customer support, explain the situation and then activate the programs on my rebuilt computer.

Still, it feels wrong that I had to pay a lot of money to have the privilege of running into these DRM problems, while someone who “found” torrents of these programs wouldn’t have to deal with the DRM at all.

What happens when these programs become abandonware in this age of planned obsolesce?

Will these companies still stand by their part of the license agreement to provide you with working software when these products aren’t supported anymore?

Programmers need to make a living and be paid, which is why I buy software, but DRM is not the solution.

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