How DRM Negatively Impacted Me

Some history of how DRM negatively impacted my experience as a legitmate customer or user.

Unable to activate Windows XP

When I was younger, I often reinstalled Windows XP after somehow borking the system. This initially was not a problem as my legal copy of Windows XP Home Edition upgrade would activate online without issue. However, it eventually stopped activating due to exceeding the number of activations for my CD key. It was possible to work around this by activating over the phone.

NetFlix quality limited to 720p on Linux

NetFlix capped stream quality at 720p on all PC browsers other than Microsoft Edge. At the time, I was a dedicated Linux user and did not have access to Microsoft Edge.

Bitwig Studio requires reactivation

Bitwig Studio seems to require reactivation after not launching the application for some period of time. I only came to realize this after launching Bitwig whilst in an airplane. The applications still worked, but with the trial’s limitations of being unable to save or export music.

This happened to me a second time on another flight years later. I forgot to check activation before leaving and, yet again, was stuck with the trial’s limitations on my flight.

Old games with SafeDisc copy protection don’t work on Windows 10

A number of older games I own, like Midtown Madness 2 and Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, use SafeDisc copy protection. This protection no longer works with Windows 10 due to a vulnerability in a related system driver being patched. [1].

Cannot play DVD’s on Linux

In the early 2000’s, it wasn’t possible to play most commercially available DVD’s on Linux due to the use of CSS DRM. An open source decryption library for this, libdvdcss was not commonly available and, iirc, had to be installed from a third-party repository on earlier ubuntu releases.

Android game requires internet activation at first launch

I loaded up my phone with a game before heading to a place where I knew the internet would be spotty. The game was previously installed on my phone so I knew it would work - hence why I didn’t bother launching it before leaving. Upon arriving to my destination, I launched the game and was prevented from playing due to having no internet connectivity.

The name of the game has been omitted as the author has been regularly sending me personal, DRM-free builds of the game upon email request.

2FA Android app blocks custom roms

I forget the name of this app. It was a standard 2FA app I used in 2013-ish to connect to a work server. It worked without issue on my phone running a custom ROM until a later app update. It no longer allowed me to access the 2FA code due to not trusting the ROM I was running.

PC’s CD drive broke, could not play most of my games

2002-2005 era. My PC’s disc drive broke - leaving me unable to play most of the games I had installed until the replacement arrived.