Amazon DRM Sounds a Bit Strict, Users Must Be Logged in to Appstore Client

While Google provides developers with plenty of tools to authenticate apps and make sure only the users who paid get to play, there is no hard and fast DRM solution for the Android Market as a whole. The Amazon Appstore, on the other hand, will have what on paper reads as a fairly strict DRM policy that will apply to all apps sold through the marketplace. In order to run apps purchased through the third party market, which is rumored to be launching this month, the handset in question must have the Appstore client installed and be signed in to the user’s Amazon account. When the app is opened it will ping Amazon’s servers to verify that it is not pirated wares.

“Any app that has Amazon DRM applied to it will require users to have installed and signed-in to the Amazon Appstore client to access the app. When an app is accessed by the user, it will verify with the Amazon Appstore device service as to whether the user has an entitlement to the app. If the user does not sign in or does not have an entitlement to that app, then the app will not be usable. However, any user can gain an entitlement by purchasing the app through Amazon.”

One immediate drawback to this method of DRM arrises when considering how apps might function when a handset is not connected to a data network. It is unclear how Amazon will handle the matter.

The issue of DRM is a tricky one for this fact. It is only fair that developers can protect their software from illegal distribution, but there is a thin line separating that protection from violating the rights of users who paid for an app fair and square. We will have to wait for further clarification at the launch of the Appstore.

[via Android Police]

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  • macw

    This is a retarded idea. What about, as an example, people in Canada who literally can’t get more than 2GB of data usage per month? Or people who don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on data while roaming? Or people who literally can’t get a data signal everywhere they go?

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  • austin

    i agree mac i have no signal at home unless im on wifi which is only in half of my house and also its impossible to stop 100% of pirating

  • Chimphappyhour

    Odd that they will have DRM on their apps but their music has been DRM free forever. And hopefully it remains DRM free.

  • BenR

    I won’t be purchasing applications from them. I don’t do DRM. Period. I don’t share apps either. And out of the 30 or so on my DroidX .. I have one .. yes .. one adware based app. All the rest are purchased applications. So Amazon can go f**k themselves and the devs who do only Amazon’s appstore too. This is ridiculous. It’s why I’d never give up my laptop to a mobile device … they think we’re all pirates or morons. Whatever.

  • MagicMike

    @BenR

    Not to be a smart ass, but you do realize Android Market paid apps have DRM, right?

    The beauty of the Android Market is that the DRM is not hindering to the average user. Most don’t even know it’s there. This is how it should be. If Amazon goes forward with their method, it will be more of a hassle to honest users, which in turn will prevent it from succeeding as most of us don’t want to deal with that crap.

  • snapper.fishes

    Now you know why people hated Ubisoft.

  • Ankit Aggarwal

    I don’t understand the hate. This is exactly how Steam works and the way they did it is so seamless that it doesn’t get in the way. If Amazon also makes it so that your Amazon App Store Account credentials are stored on your device for 14 days or until another device logs into the same account, whichever happens first, then it will be even more like Steam where you can still use the apps without a data connection for a reasonable period of time.

    Since phones are always taken with you for travel, maybe Amazon could let you “lock” your account into your device for a long enough period of time such that it allows only your single device to use those apps until that time period ends. This way you don’t have to pay roaming charges just to reactivate your Amazon apps every seven days on a three month cruise.

    @Chimphappyhour

    They want to ensure that you can use their apps only on one device at a time (consistent with how every other computer and game console treats applications) but allow you to use music on any number of devices you own (consistent with how any other multimedia and data is treated).

  • Sean

    I agree with Chimp. I’ve always praised Amazon’s MP3 store, and it’s the only place I buy music anymore because they fought for DRM free music. It seems way out of character for them to add such restrictive DRM on apps.

  • IzRey

    They aren’t ” violating the rights of users who paid for an app fair and square”. They are alienating them. They sell a service with that as part of the up-front agreement.

    Not saying I agree with the idea of Amazon’s DRM. But They aren’t infringing on anyones rights. Just making a product that some people will not be likely to use.

  • Wesley

    DRM is the devil!

  • John

    IzRey,

    You are incorrect, they ARE infringing. Or more correctly they WILL be infringing as their market hasn’t even launched yet.
    Their system WILL fail at some given time due to some technical issue, at that point they WILL be infringing on the users who paid to use what ever app they purchased.
    2 simple facts, It WILL fail at some point. At that time users will not be able to use the app they paid for and have every RIGHT to use whenever they want.

  • http://www.androiduipatterns.com/ Juhani

    Hmm. this sounds like exactly same as what we get from Android Market app. For user to use apps that use Google’s Application Licensing they need to be logged in to the android market app.

    See more details from:
    http://developer.android.com/guide/publishing/licensing.html 

  • kris

    Simple solution: If you don’t like it – DON’T BUY FROM THEM

  • GPL

    So I can use my favorite app downtown in the Loop, but when the El goes underground and I lose reception I have to be sure it’s already running and past the DRM stage?

  • ari-free

    Apps don’t have to have DRM if the devs so choose
    Developer protection is the only way to bring high quality apps to Android and keep them on it.

  • Len

    Sorry Amazon. You just killed it for me.. I will not be installing your App Store. This will not stop pirates, only make it harder for them. This will stop me from using apps while traveling.

  • Hank

    As others have mentioned, Google’s Application Licensing also needs a network. It’ll cache the result for when a network is not available. I’m sure Amazon would also use a cache.

  • brian

    Crybabies

  • Todd

    So what happens if I buy an app through Google’s market that is also available in the Amazon market? The programmer leaves the Amazon DRM in the Google version, Amazon sees the DRM, checks its servers and sees I didn’t buy it from Amazon. Oh, I must be pirating. Now I can’t use the app I bought from a different source. Is this a possibility?

  • http://www.davematney.com Dave Matney

    I guess Amazon doesn’t care about Wifi-only tablets.

  • electricsheep

    It’s called smali/baksmali, the DRM phoning home won’t be in the apps for long, lol.

  • Scott

    John-When your car breaks down, is the manufacturer infringing on your right to use it? How about when the cable goes out? Or you can’t access the net from your phone?

    It’s your right to buy or not to buy-read your tos for anything you have and stop being such a crybaby.

  • kwyjibo

    Mandatory logins to appstores can work, as Steam has shown us.

    But Steam has only been embraced because of the value it gives to users. It means that you can access your games from any of your machines, which would also apply to Amazon. But it also gives you cloud storage, community profiles and an IM client – which are totally unnecessary and unapplicable to a general purpose mobile appstore.

  • http://www.droid-den.com Lekky

    “When the app is opened it will ping Amazon’s servers to verify that it is not pirated wares.”

    WHERE DOES IT SAY THIS IN THE AMAZON BLOG POST?

    It does not is the answer. It says nothing about pinging networks. It says signed into the amazon app.

    Sp how do you know you can’t just sign in online then cache the login for offline use?

    Seriously dude, don’t be promoting things as fact when you don’t have any facts. This will run android.

  • bill

    @ lekky

    Android was F@cked the very first day it was released and today, the major issues with android still are not much better off…

  • Richard Yarrell

    Oh borther

  • MWC Zombie

    @ #7. Ankit Aggarwa, you can still play games downloaded from Steam if your internet connection is down…

  • ari-free

    Dave: you mean like a kindle?

  • Allen

    This is not that much different from the license management the android market is moving to. Developers have been asked to stop using the legacy copy protection and move to a License Server model, in which in order to start your app it has to login and bounce an authentication request against a market license server. Thats the same thing Amazon will be doing.

    Really, that’s the most secure way to provide that kind of protection. The fact that Google wasn’t doing it is just another example of those types of concerns (along with support) being an afterthought.

  • rudyy

    Gosh, I don’t know why you’d want apps from amazon in the first place. I’ve done business with amazon twice, and both times it sucked. Now I just use it to see what kind of prices are out there. Put amazon on my Dx? Never.

  • wingdo

    All I want to know is, does an amazon DRM app of some kind need to be running in the background so I can use an app purchased through Amazon? For those of us on older Android devices with limited RAM, that’s not a great answer if it is a yes.