Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Letter to Amazon

Dear Amazon,

I am writing to ask you to make my Amazon Instant Video purchases available for download, DRM-free.

I am a big fan of your service, and in the last year I have cancelled my cable service and begun to rely heavily on digital purchases from your store to bring new content to my family.

However, as we have settled into this, some major disadvantages of your service have become clear:

1) Many of my devices (phones, tablets, etc) do not have support for viewing Amazon Instant Video content.
2) If I'm having a bad internet night, I cannot watch the content I purchased.
3) If I am making a long drive for a vacation, my son cannot watch any Amazon content I have purchased.
4) I cannot lend my content to friends who want to check it out for themselves, like I can with DVDs.
5) I cannot back up my content in case something catastrophic happens to your service.

I am aware of the existing download option.  It is Windows-only and uses DRM and is therefore useless to me.  DRM'd files cannot be unlocked in the event of you turning off your authentication servers.  And, obviously, they cannot be played in arbitrary devices.

Now, if there were good tools for removing the DRM, this would not be as big of an issue for me as a consumer.  I would just remove it and go on my merry way.

Unfortunately, such tools do not exist.  It would be far easier for me to pirate content I've already purchased from Amazon Instant Video in order to watch on my tablet, make backups, lend to friends, and have offline access.

But it seems inevitable to me that if I begin taking the risk to pirate content I've paid for, I will quickly find that it is easier to never pay for it in the first place.  At that point, you will have lost me as a recurring customer.

I'm not trying to threaten you, but I think you should realize that I am becoming a dissatisfied customer of yours, and the natural consequence in order to get the sort of access I want to the content I buy appears to be piracy.

I love that your Amazon MP3 service is DRM-free.  I don't buy a lot of music, but I have very happily used your service for years when an album came out that I wanted.  I have preferred it heavily when compared to iTunes and similar services.

Please follow the great example you set with Amazon MP3, and make Amazon Instant Video purchases available for download without DRM as well.

Trying to stay a loyal customer,
Sandy Armstrong