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Expiring Web Images: Good For Privacy, Or Just Another DRM?

Posted by: , 14:38 AEDT, Thu January 27, 2011

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Images that expire after a certain period may be good for those that lacks the impulse control not to upload embarrassing photos of themselves, but could it also be used as a form of DRM?

The BBC reports on a new service created by a German researcher called X-Pire, which allows you to put expiry dates on images. 

The intention behind this new subscription service, charged 2 euros per month, is to allow people to upload photos and images to social networks such as Facebook, but with an expiry date, you can ensure photos that will no doubt cause embarrassment in the future, will disappear after a certain period of time. Images of users who have since cancelled their subscription will still expire at the set time - users just won't be able to set new expiry dates if they don't have a valid subscription.

But as techdirt noted, this could really be just another form of DRM, as news outlets could, for example, use this to ensure people don't hotlink their images.

But before you get excited, or worried, at the prospect of DRM for images, there are a couple of things which prevents X-Pire from becoming the norm, when it comes to posting images online. First of all, a browser plug-in is required to even view the images, which means it's unlikely that it will be widely used. Second, bypassing this particular DRM may be as easy as using the print-screen key on your keyboard (does this violate the DMCA, I wonder?), or using the Windows snipping tool.

Does X-Pire appeal to you, or do you think it's just DRM in disguise? Post your opinion in our comments section below, or in our forum:


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