Bram Cohen has confirmed in an interview that content on the upcoming BitTorrent Video Store is going to be loaded with Windows DRM, which means restrictions for all and Mac & Linux users are going to be left out in the cold. What fun!
When asked by Michael Calore of Wired News if the content on the new video store would contain DRM and if it would be cross-platform compatible, Cohen said, “we’re rolling out with some content DRM’d, using Windows DRM.” By this he also made it clear that content from the store would only play on Windows computers. The company seems to have no plans to expand their offering to users of other OSes.
Windows DRM has been completely left behind in the portable media player market. The iPod can’t play content restricted (read: infected) by Microsoft’s little virus, and neither can Microsoft’s very own Zune! So, the only consumers who’ll be able to watch videos they have purchased from the BitTorrent Video Store away from their computers will be those who own Creative, Dell, Archos or any one of the other compatible devices. This is, assuming the content from the store will be protected with Janus, Microsoft’s Windows DRM for portable devices. If it isn’t, it won’t play on any portable device at all.
In September of this year Ashwin Navin, the co-founder of BitTorrent Inc said that his company foresees a future without DRM. Although, even then, the company had said that they would use DRM, Navin also made it clear that it would only be in the early stages. Let’s hope the POA hasn’t changed.
Navin made his standpoint on DRM quite clear when he said that “the bottom line is that DRM is bad for the content provider and it’s bad for the consumer.” About foreseeing a future without DRM, he said that he thinks “the future will not be marked by digital rights management. It will be marked by advertising-supported content that’s clear of DRM.” The inventor of BitTorrent, Bram Cohen too says that the company is “very concerned about the usability problems DRM introduces,” and that they are “educating [their] content partners about the lost commercial opportunity.”
To be fair, BitTorrent Inc is only walking down the path of limiting consumers’ rights because it is being forced to. The company is clearly against DRM. According to Cohen, it is the only way they have been able to strike deals with content creators. He says this is “at the insistence of [their] content partners.”