Burned by MLB and DRM

I know this isn’t really business related, but I thought I’d write a post about this problem just in case anybody knows a solution.

In late 2004, after the Red Sox won the World Series, I purchased the downloadable broadcasts of all of their playoff games from Major League Baseball. That came to about 20 gigs of downloads covering 14 games, each of which was playable in Windows Media Player only (the only supported player at the time).

In each case, the first time I tried to play the file on a new computer, the program contacts MLB for a license file, which is then stored locally. After that I can play the files without a problem.

Well, I’m not really an “early adopter,” but that is almost three years ago and I’ve gotten new systems since then. The field of digital downloads has also, shall we say, moved on. Anyway, the other day I tried to play one of those files on my current computer, only to discover that the license download site no longer exists.

I contacted MLB about this at their 800 number. I eventually had to talk to a manager in order to find somebody who understood the situation.

He informed me that their digital download service is down and therefore unavailable. I explained that the files had already been downloaded years ago and I only needed the licenses, which I’d bought and paid for long ago.

That didn’t matter. I still need to contact the digital download service, which is not available. Worse, it’s been down all year, and, believe it or not, he had no idea when — or even if — it would ever be back up. He suggested I keep checking periodically, because he’s doing the same thing. And no, there is no one else I’m allowed to talk to about this.

The bottom line is that I now have a complete set of video files that I can’t play. I guess this is yet another example of the evils of digital rights management. Probably serves me right for going through legal channels to get them in the first place.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

About Ken Kousen
I teach software development training courses. I specialize in all areas of Java and XML, from EJB3 to web services to open source projects like Spring, Hibernate, Groovy, and Grails. Find me on Google+ I am the author of "Making Java Groovy", a Java / Groovy integration book published by Manning in the Fall of 2013, and "Gradle Recipes for Android", published by O'Reilly in 2015.

3 Responses to Burned by MLB and DRM

  1. chip says:

    I have the exact same issue, and have tried contacting them many times. My emails go unanswered and I got the same run-around on the phone. When I purchased the files I specifically checked that they did not expire and that I would own the right to watch them forever. In fact, their marketing even used the term “own forever” I’m sorry, but two years is far from forever, MLB.

    Long story short, I’m considering legal action as I have quite a few downloaded games that I’ve been unable to watch since last year. Interested in a class action?

  2. steve says:

    I am having the same problem. After reading this, I am infuriated. how can they say that they do not know when it will be back up. This is MLB, not some mom and pop operation.

  3. Upset at MLB says:

    I have the exact same problem! I am sitting here watching the 2007 world series and wanted to call up the 2004 WS on my new laptop and no luck. It tries to connect to the MLB site to download the digital rights but the site is down. This is so much crap. How is this legal? I paid for this file and now because MLB has crap systems I can’t watch it? This needs a class action.

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