Posts by Noah Pepper

Protecting Consumers from DRM

Consumer rights advocates and media companies have been fighting over digital rights management (DRM) software for many years now. In the age of the closing digital media store, the negative effects of DRM are more apparent than ever before.

Just a few days ago Yahoo! announced it would be closing its music store, taking the authentication server for its DRM offline in September. This will leave its users without access to the content they believed they bought once they: switch computers, alter their operating system, or try to copy their Yahoo! store music to an MP3 player. Luckily for Yahoo! customers the company has said it will compensate them for music they bought.

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Protecting Consumers from DRM

Consumer rights advocates and media companies have been fighting over data rights management (DRM) software for many years now. In the age of the closing digital media store, the negative effects of DRM are more apparent than ever before.

Just a few days ago Yahoo! announced it would be closing its music store, taking the authentication server for its DRM offline in September. This will leave its users without access to the content they bought once they: switch computers, alter their operating system or try to copy their Yahoo! store music to an MP3 player. Luckily for Yahoo! customers the company has said it will compensate them for music they bought. Yahoo!'s solution is to port their users’ music over to RealNetwork's Rhapsody music service and, where that would cause conflict, provide a refund.

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Myth of the Bandwidth Hog

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been quick to blame problems with service quality on so-called “bandwidth hogs.” According to AT&T, the top 5% of their Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) subscribers use 46% of the consumed bandwidth, and the top 1% of subscribers use 21%. But it is unclear what these figures mean, and if congestion problems could even be caused by those who use the network the most. These figures would seem to be describing the bandwidth consumption totals at the end of some designated time period (day, week, month). If this is the case, then 5% of subscribers using 46% of bandwidth consumed is not necessarily cause for alarm.

Excessive bandwidth usage is only a problem when it degrades the quality of service for other users of the network.

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