DRM

Can I listen to an iBook audio book on another platform?

Episode 1423

David from Anaheim, CA
Apple iBooks

David wants to know if he can listen to an audio book with his iPhone as well as his Android phone. Leo says he should, unless Apple does something different to them when buying them off iTunes. But if the audio book is from Apple's iBook Store, it's copy protected with the ePub format. He would need to strip it in order to play it on another platform. There are programs and plugins that do that, but they tend to be fly by night. TunesKit has one called iBook Copy for Mac. It has a free trial.

How can I play old music I bought from Walmart online?

Episode 1352

George from Houston, TX
Piracy Music CD

George bought some music from Walmart, but he can't play them anymore because the copy protection servers have been shut down. Leo says that this is the reason not to buy copy protected music. These are unplayable sadly, but there may be a way to strip out the DRM. George should Google "strip WMA DRM" or "Strip WMA copy protection." It may seem like he bought the music, but if he looks at the terms of service, he technically rented it.

Why won't my phone play music I downloaded from SoundCloud?

Episode 1331

Greg from Valley Center, CA
SoundCloud for Android

Greg is running into issues with music he has downloaded via SoundCloud. He gets errors now that say "invalid file." Leo says those are MP3s, so the Samsung Galaxy S7 should play them just fine. It could be an issue with how the file is saved by the app. SoundCloud enables you to stream in SoundCloud, but not play it with an MP3 player. That may mean a bad download, or saving to a format that his player doesn't recognize, or it may even be copy protection.

Why can't my Blu-ray player play my DVDs?

Episode 1327

Joselyn from Orange County, CA
UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

Joselyn has a Samsung Blu-ray player and it won't play a Blu-ray that she bought. David says that it may need to have its firmware updated. Hollywood is so afraid of piracy that they constantly change the encoding of the copy protection, so consumers have to keep updating the firmware in order to play it. She can just go to Settings > Firmware update.

Why didn't my Roku work with a projector?

Episode 1297

Rick from Pleasant Hill, CA
Roku 4

Rick is a member of a user group called the Diablo Valley User Group and they had a shootout between Roku and Apple TV. When he plugged in the Roku 4, though, he got no signal. Could it have been a DRM issue? He's heard that running an HDMI cable through a splitter will strip out the DRM. Leo says it depends on the splitter. Usually sold from China, they can have that advantage, but they can't say so because they'll be blocked.

AppleTV has HDCP, and Rick said it works. So it's probably not a DRM issue. It's more likely an HDMI handshaking issue. It could even be a bad cable.

How can I restore my Windows 8 activation key?

John from Dayton, OH

Episod 1093

John is having issues with Windows 8.1 and a hard drive failure that has wiped out his Windows key. Leo says if he doesn't have the key, he'll have to contact Microsoft. There may be a way to recover the key from the hard drive. The chatroom says Belarc Advisor can give him the key as it will have it listed in it's register. Leo says that Microsoft also saves the product key in his Microsoft account, so he can log in with another machine and see it. But John says that Microsoft has blocked the key, so it won't help. Leo says the boot UFEI firmware saves it as well.

Why can't I get DVDs to play correctly?

John from Newport Richey, FL

Episode 998

John bought a DVD player and the DVDs just aren't playing right. So he returned it and got another but he's having issues with that one as well. Leo says that if John is playing off the analog component cable, then it's likely he's dealing with copy protection and the TV isn't supporting the analog hole. Leo says to look on the back of the TV and choose the best quality connector. Ideally, HDMI is the way to go. Component will work as well, but he just needs the right cables.

How do I connect the DISH Network Hopper?

Rich from Florence, MT

Episode 967

Rich just upgraded to DISH Network's Hopper, but is only getting a green screen by HDMI connection. Leo says that it could be a copy protection issue and recommends trying a different HDMI. It may also be that Rich's TV doesn't support HDCP, and the Hopper is HDCP compliant. Also, he should make sure he's plugging the cable into the proper port. The port or cable could be bad. Try the easy stuff first. Then contact DISH.

Is DRM a good idea for eBooks?

Bob from Pasadena, CA

Episode 964

Chris has created a new website called Cruise Port Insider, which gives the inside track of what to do when you're "in port." Leo says that's a great idea and wonders if Chris crowd sources the data. He's also created eBooks for cruisers to download. On Amazon, it asks about digital rights management so he's wondering if DRM a good idea for eBooks. Leo says he doesn't like DRM. It doesn't protect the content creator from piracy, because the pirates can always defeat it. All DRM does is frustrate legitimate readers.