2nd Update: Baseball Think Factory has publicized the discussion.
Update: Just got off the phone with a MLB customer service supervisor.
"MLB no longer supports the DDS system" that it once used and so any CDs with downloaded games on them "are no good. They will not work with the current system."
Great. Just effing great. ... As I told the supervisor, this is right in line with how wrong-headed and stupid and ass backwards MLB does everything.
I was told there is absolutely nothing MLB can do about these lost games. Plus, they said my purchases were all "one-time sales" and thus "there are no refunds".
No refunds? As Lee Elia would say: "My fucking ass!"
My info has been submitted to some other MLB department which will review things and see what they can do about either getting me the games I paid for or refunding my $280.45.
So if you have downloaded any games prior to 2006, get those discs out and try to watch them ... then call MLB at 866-800-1275 and demand they refund your money.
MLB continues to steal money from baseball fans who have downloaded full games through its digital download service.
I have blogged about this problem twice this year -- April 5 and April 16.
Background: Beginning in 2003, MLB offered fans the chance to download full games to their computer at $3.95 each. When you attempted to open the media file -- either on your hard drive or after it was burned to a CD -- it connected with a MLB.com webpage to obtain a license. Once the license had been verified, the game would play.
From MLB's FAQ:
2. Why is a license used for my downloaded video?At some point during 2006, MLB deleted that essential webpage. Since then, none of the videos that fans purchased will play.
All MLB.com Downloads are encrypted with Microsoft Digital Rights Management technology. DRM security requires a valid license before viewing the material. You must have Windows Media Player (version 10.0 or higher) downloaded on your machine to view downloaded video.
3. What is DRM?
Digital Rights Management is a technology that allows for the secure management of digital media. This security protects the content provider from unauthorized distribution, viewing and use of the material.
7. Do I have to obtain a license every time I want to watch the downloaded video?This is a lie. Once MLB deleted the essential webpage, none of my CDs would play, even ones I had opened and watched previously.
No. When you first try to play the video, a license will be distributed to you and stored by the player. Unless manually deleted, the license will exist forever and will be used when you try to watch the downloaded video on that machine. If you watch the video on a different machine, another license will be required.
Here is a screenshot (from last night) of what happens when I try to play a CD with a downloaded game on it:
By deleting the webpage and making it impossible for fans to watch the games they have paid for and downloaded, MLB has stolen $3.95 for every game from every fan. That must runs into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Since MLB started this download service, I have bought and downloaded 71 games -- many of them from the Red Sox's August-September 2004 hot streak -- which works out to a total cost of $280.45 (plus the price of the blank discs). Thanks to MLB, I now have nearly six dozen coasters.
When I contacted MLB in April, the people I spoke with expressed surprise at my predicament and claimed to have never heard of this problem before (naturally!). They said that MLB was overhauling its downloading system -- this was true -- and they told me to be patient because even though they had never heard of anyone with this problem, MLB was working on it.
More than six months have passed and nothing has changed. The essential webpage is still gone and my games will not play. I tried about 35 of them last night -- all with the same result.
And now MLB IS SELLING GAME DOWNLOADS AGAIN! Various 2007 playoff games -- and other games -- are available for $1.99. MLB is still using the DRM technology. Will the page fans use to watch these 2007 games be suddenly deleted in 2009?
Despite MLB's claim that I'm the only baseball fan on the face of the Earth with this problem, I know there are other fans out there who have been similarly ripped off -- because they read the April posts and either commented or emailed me.
I'm asking that if you also have discs that are now useless, call MLB at 866-800-1275 and complain.
It would also be helpful if some Boston or national sports media picked up on this.
Diehard baseball fans have paid tens of thousands of dollars to MLB to download games -- and MLB has pocketed the money and is now making it impossible for those fans to watch the games.