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Amazon Android App Store's DRM: Too Draconian?

Posted by: , 12:21 AEDT, Tue March 8, 2011

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Amazon's new Android app store DRM is causing concern amongst users and developers

Amazon is launching its own Android app store soon, and on their developer's blog, information regarding the DRM scheme has been posted, and some are saying it's way too harsh.

The most notable part of the blog post, re-posted below, seems to indicate an Ubi-DRM style where users needs to be "signed in" when they use the app:

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.

After the expected public backlash, Amazon has clarified their position, and the DRM looks a lot less draconian. First of all, DRM usage is strictly optional. This is in-line with the official Google Market policy (although Market also makes sure free apps cannot use their down DRM framework). As for Ubi-DRM style always on DRM checking, that's not the case either. What will happen is that a token is downloaded with the app at purchase, and this token can be used to validate the app in offline mode for a certain unspecified period, before the token needs to be updated again (via the Internet). 

So it seems Amazon's Appstore DRM is slightly more complicated than Google's official DRM, but also very similar in the way it works.

Do you think Amazon's new Appstore DRM is too draconian? Post your answer in this article's comments section, or in this forum thread:


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