in which cha0s returns to #leverage, and @wilw gets screwed by drm for the last time

I've known about this for over a month, but I couldn't even hint at it until today: I'm returning to Leverage later this season, as superhacker Cha0s. WIRED's Underwire talked to me a little bit about it, and broke the news earlier today.

I also wrote another column for Techland, about how I got screwed, again, by DRM (for the last time):

Everyone on Reddit has been talking about how great Matt Smith is, so last night, I decided to meet him. I felt a surge of excited anticipation as I woke up my iMac, made sure Rivet could see the /iTunes/TV Shows/ directory, and turned on my Xbox. I browsed to The Eleventh Hour, hit play … and got an error message that the Xbox couldn't play back the protected format.

Son. Of. A. Bitch. Fucked by DRM, again.

So listen, I know that a non-zero number of you are laughing at me, and I realize that I should have thought about this ahead of time, but I want to use this as yet another example of DRM screwing an honest, paying customer, who could just as easily have gone to the seedy underbelly of the Internet to acquire these episodes without paying anything to BBC.

There has got to be a better way to balance the needs of consumers with the rights of creators to be compensated for their work. I don't know what it is, but I think it has to be a change in philosophy and thinking, because what the way they're doing it now just isn't working for anyone.

64 thoughts on “in which cha0s returns to #leverage, and @wilw gets screwed by drm for the last time”

  1. OT. Sometime back I noticed that I hadn’t seen a tweet from you in a long time. Then saw that I was no longer following you and the I was blocked from re-following. No doubt this is some twitter spam prevention thing that doubtless affected lots of users. How about a blog post explaining your twitter pain?
    Back on topic. I use Linux almost exclusively and stay away from all things DRM – particularly music. Linux will handle plenty of stuff like encrypted DVDs but I wouldn’t touch Apple or Microsoft DRM with a 10 foot pole. I don’t want to be locked into iPod, (gasp) Zune, or any other player. Good luck on leverage.

  2. DRM only screws honest users. I have never understood what they thought they were trying to accomplish. If anything it gives people a reason to justify their theft. I had a comment on my blog the other day about just this. Company A did me wrong and so I took their product.
    I will always think the violation of someone’s copyright and right to earn a living is wrong but DRM only punished the people who actually made an honest purchase in the first place.
    http://www.csdaley.com

  3. Hey Wil,
    We’re all glad you’re coming back to PDX. My offer still stands. TV talk show for Geeks here in Portland. Outlook Portland hosted by Rick Emerson. Past Guests include: John Rogers, Art Director-Tim Oakley, Simpsons writer/runner Bill Oakley etc. We would love to have you on. Oh, and we are sponsored by TFAW.com
    Enticed yet? are you curious? Feel free to contact me. I’m the Producer of the show. Here is a link to us and John Rogers, producer/creator of Leverage.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5pNsHRqU2k

  4. I have watched Dr Who since it was in B/W. Yes, I am that old. The new series(it is on Space in Canada)is better than any of the last 3 or 4 Docs. The companion is a good as Rose(do not remember name of actress). Thanks for the book, Just a Geek, I read it to assist me in accepting my up coming forced(sort of) retirement.

  5. food for thought: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc&feature=player_embedded
    Also about compensating creators, our (often collapsing) ‘money system’ does not always reward in proportion to the effort invested in a task, it is also not unified globally which often results in slave labor.(money here is worth more than there etc).
    I bring this up because its related to the fairness of our trade system
    To solve this matter I think Humanity as a whole must change its trade system to something less feudal and I doubt that will happen before the space age…
    Until then its like in the middle ages, Artists and Inventors are compensated by the whim and good sponsorship of patrons who can afford the charity of paying them.

  6. I’m with Chris on this one. I’ll try to get it honestly – if that fails, I’ll get it however I can. It’s in their interests to make it available to me honestly, at a fair price, for me to use as I see fit. Trying to limit me, force me in a particular direction, or dictate in any way how, when, or on what device I will watch? Well, that just makes me stubborn.
    Then of course, I’m in the UK, and if anyone thinks I’m waiting up to a year to see a series that my friends overseas have already started watching, they can forget it. Anything more than a fortnight behind, and I’ll hie me to bittorrent.

  7. Floatingpencil you are considered a criminal for holding that mentality.
    Though With that said you only have so much money that can’t be spent on all products regardless of how badly you want them so eventually you get to the point where you cant afford something so you take it, and you are not directly hurting anyone by taking it because there was no effort in replicating that product after its conception.
    I can’t blame you either way, Internet TV is a much better format than TV if only because there is no 5 min commercial break before the cliffhanger.

  8. Matt Smith is brilliant. Absolutely bloody brilliant and he gets better as the season goes on.
    If you have any sort of “on-demand” cable you may be able to watch the episodes that have shown on BBC America, even if you don’t get BBC America in your cable lineup. Time Warner I know has it (as this is how I see it), not sure about any others.
    And I have a two-sided feeling about piracy. Just taking stuff you’ll never pay for, I’m very against that. Musicians need to eat too. But watching a show now that you otherwise have no access to, if you’re definitely going to buy the dvd when it comes out? I’m not sure I see where the harm is in that. In fact, knowing I’m going to buy the dvds, I would be loathe to pay for it _twice_ just to see it now.

  9. I love the photo of you at Wired. Jazz hands!
    Yay for coming back to PDX! I spose I have to put a book in my purse again. :) Do Emerson’s show. He’s one of us.
    Speaking of pirating etc: we ditched cable and were trying to figure out how to watch Leverage legally. TNT used to put the eps up not long after airing, but haven’t this season. Strongly considering an iTunes buy, because I miss the show in general (Portland’s favorite passtime: Name That Location!), and I sure don’t want to miss you on it.

  10. Hey Wil Wheaton,
    Doctor who is a special case for me. I’m very against pirating the things that I love, because it means I’m not supporting them, which means I’m promoting not have more of them. Which is bad. However, with Doctor Who, I must admit, I proxy into the BBC website and watch them online..
    Why? Because I already paid for this season. Last year I was in the UK, and I, unlike most of the British people I knew, actually paid my TV licence, which is how the BBC nabs its cash. It brings an interesting argument to DRM; The JoCo donate button.. on Coulton’s site, I’m sure you know, he’s got a “if you pirated, but you feel bad you can toss me the coin”, which, for his fanbase is a good message.
    I really think that the attitude has to change with DRM. Stingy pricks are always going to steal, and trying to stop them is a cat and mouse game. But for those who actually want to support their favourite shows, the ability to buy and dontate, or even just donate to support should be enough to give them the right to watch the show, without restrictions.
    Imagine how much a “donate” button on a firefly website at the time would have made. Perhaps you should just buy yourself a UK TV licence.
    Link
    PS: I envy you the fun you’re about to have, discovering Matt Smith, and Karen Gillan and Our Dear Moffie’s fine work for the first time. It’s a hoot. Enjoy it!

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