Tagged: Media

MLB + DRM: Foul Ball!

I downloaded the Tony Gwynn documentary from MLB.com last night. Ihave yet to watch it, but I have made an important discovery about MLB
downloads: You are not downloading a file to keep and play as much as
you want, you are only renting the file for a limited number of
viewings, or in my case, attempts to view.

I am a novice at using Windows Media Player. And my experience with
it last night and this morning have made me long for the days when you
just opened a file in Real Player and it played. Now there are
libraries, and playlists, and all sorts of complications.

One such complication is Digital Rights Management (DRM). When I
first tried to play the file, my computer went out and searched for a
license. I was not surprised by this. I assumed that somebody somewhere
would want assurance that I had a legal copy of the documentary. But I
was surprised that the computer retrieved a new license every time I
tried to get the documentary to play. This morning, after I tried,
unsuccessfully, to turn the documentary on twice, I got a message
saying that I had maxed out on the number of licenses for this download
and I should call customer support or email them.

So you basically get 5 or 6 opportunities to view a download.
(Opportunities only, the license count is triggered before the
documentary actually plays so if it fails to play, you are out of luck).

F**K DRM. When I buy something, I expect to be able to use it
whenever and how many times ever, I want. And F**K MLB for not making
it clear that you are only renting a limited number of licenses.

Frankly, it isn’t worth my time to call or email customer support
and I am certainly not going to pay any more money; I have received no
value for the money I have already paid. Now I didn’t pay a whole lot
($3.99) but that shouldn’t limit the number of times I can watch what I
paid for. I figured that the low price was a function of both the fact
that the documentary was a download, and therefore much cheaper to
produce than a DVD, and the fact that MLB.com boasts huge traffic
stats, meaning that MLB could go for volume sales. But no, they went
further, using DRM to turn downloads into de facto rentals.

I will never buy another download from MLB and I hope that this post
spreads far and wide and other people decide to boycott also. The
fascist DRM regime has got to end! The only way it will end is if
enough consumers reject it so that rights-holders realize that there is
more money to be made from selling a product than from withholding it.

The purpose of copyright was to allow creators a chance to control
distribution of their work. But nowadays, a creator typically makes
things on a “work for hire” basis for a large corporation, like MLB, or
any of the Hollywood studios the Writers Guild is currently striking,
and the big corporation reaps the benefits while most creators get next
to nothing. With Digital Rights Management, the big corporations have
found a way to give the consumer next to nothing also.


Is MLB.com ripping off fans?

Just when ByrnesBlogger1 was thinking about buying some D’Backs games, this showed up on the ‘Net:

by Matt Watson

You know how MLB.com makes it possible to purchaseand download full games to watch on your computer? Be wary, fellow
fans, because despite what you may read on their site, you’re not
"purchasing" anything at all; you’re merely renting a license to watch
the games, a license that may be revoked at any time…

More of Matt Watson’s Post.

ByrnesBlogger1, No Fan of DRM.

Livan Leads the Sweeping Crew: D’Backs 3 – Nats 1


"It’s a good start for us. Sweeping a team four straight games on the road is a rarity. It’s a huge confidence boost."
Eric Byrnes, after the D’backs took 4 in a row from the Washington Nationals.

(photo by Lawrence Jackson/AP)

It was one of those times when one is grateful that Spring Training stats don’t always predict what is going to happen in the regular season. Livan Hernandez had a horrible spring. His ERA was over 13.00. But yesterday he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and pitched seven innings of shutout ball.

It’s the kind of start the Diamondbacks need regularly from the Cuban innings-eater; he’s usually good for seven, and though he ran into a little trouble that last inning, he pitched out of it. The Diamondbacks won their fourth in a row at RFK Stadium, after going 0-6 there last year.

I’m glad to hear that taking four in a row from the Nationals, as bad as they are, is, to use Eric Byrnes’ words, "a huge confidence boost." But I remember all too well that the Diamondbacks swept four from the Braves at Turner Field last year and then the roof caved in. So I’m still a little apprehensive about how good this team really is, especially after I’ve seen how bad the Nationals really are. They were something like 1-31 with men in scoring position during the four-game series. But the Diamondbacks were looking at early disaster square in the face, having dropped two in a row to the Colorado Rockies and heading into RFK, where they had yet to win. So the sweeping Washington means they bounced back from adversity, at least in the short term.

As for the game itself, it was good to see the Diamondbacks score before the Nationals could even come up to bat. Often last year, the early scoring was done by the Diamondbacks’ opponents. Orlando Hudson hit a double that drove in Conor Jackson who had been hit by a pitch. Hudson moved to third on the throw. Batting cleanup, Eric Byrnes drove in Hudson with a groundout to second. The first-inning runs were all the Diamondbacks would need, but they got an insurance run in the eighth, courtesy of a Scott Hairston single.

It was a so-so day for Byrnes, who is again playing right field in place of the injured Carlos Quentin. Livan’s no-hitter was broken up by a ground rule double over Byrnes’ head. Eric would have caught the ball if he had a better angle on it; it really wasn’t that far over his glove, but he reached back for it awkwardly. I was rooting for the Nationals to get at least one other hit, and they obliged me with two in the seventh. So at least Eric is not responsible for costing Livan a no-hitter. On the other hand, Eric also made a fine running catch near the right-field line, and quickly made an accurate throw to first, holding the runner there.

Byrnes struck out in the ninth, with runners on first and second and two out. Chad Cordero, against whom he’d homered, was pitching. Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. In addition to the productive out in the first inning, Byrnesie singled and stole second in the fifth inning. Unfortunately, he was not driven in. But he now has four stolen bases in four attempts.

José Valverde recorded his third save. Shawn Hill took the loss. Chris Young left the game early with a leg injury; Robbie Hammock replaced Byrnes in right and Byrnes moved to center. I have not seen anything detailing the problem.

I am so glad the Diamondbacks are out of Washington, and not just because of the cold weather or the very big park that cost Eric Byrnes at lease one homer. I am glad to get out of there because the MASN broadcasts were painful to listen to. There was this awful sound, like fireworks and drums, that kept running over the announcers. I could not tell where it was coming from. It was not on the field; I could tell because they wouldn’t have that constant noise running while their players were batting. And the announcers did not seem to be aware of it even though at times the sound nearly drowned them out, so it didn’t come from their booth. Also yesterday, there was cross-talk from another broadcast on more than one occasion, probably the Orioles game on MASN2.

So now it’s the opening homestand, in a better climate, and against a better team, the Cincinnati Reds.


Senate Holds Hearings on DirecTV Deal

"There’s nothing sinister, illegal, wrongful or frankly unusual about that form of business negotiation or results," MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy told the Senate Commerce Committee, which called a hearing to investigate the deal. "This is not a matter of fans being unable to view MLB’s out-of-market games. It’s a matter of not being able to watch those games on a particular system."

…unless you don’t have southern exposure, or live in a place that does not allow satellite dishes. Then it IS a matter of fans being unable to view MLB’s out of market games.

Does this remind anybody of the hassles of not being able to play music or computer programs across platforms?

This is just another example of the fact that "we, the people" are not MLB’s customers. The various networks and systems, to use DuPuy’s word, are MLB’s customers. MLB is selling its product to them, not to us, and is willing to sell exclusively to one group in order to maximize profit.

Which brings me to another point, the business model. Exclusivity is a business model that seeks a high profit over a limited distribution of production units. Think Lamborghinis. Or think the Oakland Athletics, who have tarped over the entire third deck of the Coliseum, and who are planning to move to what will be the smallest park in the majors, out in the exurbs, i.e. suburbs of a suburb–Fremont, you’re a ‘burb of San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, deal with it; those who can’t get to the park can just buy the right package to get the games at home. That’s assuming that A) you can afford it, B) you have access to it (see earlier paragraph about southern exposure and permission to use a particular system) and C) it’s compatible with the rest of your media consumption habits.

That last one is noteworthy. Suppose you are generally satisfied with your cable company’s offerings, or, probably more relevantly, you have a bundled package of phone, cable and Internet, the price of which will increase if you drop one of the services? Do you add DirecTV to get baseball that used to be offered on cable? Or do you drop cable and switch to satellite, even though it will increase your phone and Internet rates? Either way, your wallet is lighter, while the media and MLB execs are raking it in.

All of this may not be illegal or frankly unusual, but inside MLB and out, I find that maneuvering people into buying more than they need or want IS sinister and wrongful.


No Respect At All!

Jim Molony’s Around the Horn series focuses today on outfielders. He writes mostly about players who are changing teams, rookies and players who are changing positions, like Ichiro. His mention of the Diamondbacks outfield is as follows:

Arizona fans may miss 2001 World Series hero Gonzalez, but the projected starting outfield of right fielder Carlos Quentin, center fielder Chris Young and left fielder Eric Byrnes has considerable potential.

Espeically Young, who hit .253 with two home runs, 10 RBIs and four doubles in 70 at-bats. The team expects him to become more of an offensive threat as well as he becomes more comfortable with NL pitchers.

"He does everything," manager Bob Melvin said. "You talk about five-tool guys, and he’s one of those guys — runs, hits, power, defense, the whole bit."

Quentin, 24, began his big-league career with a bang last year, hitting a two-run homer in his Major League debut on July 20, becoming only the third player in franchise history to do so. The round-tripper also made Quentin the fourth player in club history to homer in his first at-bat. He finished the 2006 campaign with a .253 average in addition to nine home runs, 32 RBIs and 13 doubles in 166 at-bats.

That’s it.

Needless to say, but we’ll say it anyway just for emphasis, WE ARE EXTREMELY DISPLEASED! Eric Byrnes batted 14 points higher than either of these two. Moreover, he was one of only three major leaguers to go 25/25 or better. Additonally, he is changing positions this year, becoming Gonzo’s successor in left. Yet, Molony could barely be bothered to mention his name. Why?

It was not an article dedicated solely to rookie outfielders, or outfielders changing teams; he wrote about three teams: the Yankees, the Blue Jays, and the Devil Rays, who are standing pat in the outfield.

Is it because Eric may not finish the year in Arizona? Irrelevant till it actually happens. Until then, he’s THE MAN in left field and deserves more notice than he gets while everybody ooh’s and aahhh’s over rookies.