Western Digital 1TB MyBook Drives Infested With DRM?

The guys at Wired and BoingBoing stirred up a hornet's nest this morning by alleging that Western Digital's 1TB MyBook World Edition external hard drives "won't share media files over network connections." That got us worried, since we just acquired one of the 1TB three-way (eSATA, FireWire and USB) Home Edition drives to plug into our eSATA ports, looking forward to sharing some DivX, XviD and various audio files over our home network. But never fear. We plugged our drive into one of the PCs here via USB and found out what's up, first-hand.

The problem was Western Digital's DRM-infested Anywhere Access software, which lets you access your files over the Internet as long as they're not dealing with any of 30 different forbidden file types, most of which have to do with music and video. But we didn't really want to share files over the Internet, anyway; we just wanted to use this huge drive on our internal network.

As Wired's Rob Beschizza noted, if you don't install that Anywhere Access software, which is really not required, you're good to go. We noticed that without installing that software, which was included on our drive, our files transfered back and forth normally across our internal network.

While the whole idea of accessing a drive anywhere in the world sounds great, apparently there is a convoluted process of reaching your files and sharing them with someone else when you're using Access Anywhere software, and then there's this DRM aspect of the software, which makes it a completely unacceptable alternative.

Shame shame, Western Digital, for including such a crippled piece of software in the package, which on some drives is said to be "required." To Western Digital's credit, we didn't see any such notation of requirement on ours. So far, we're finding the drive to be a pretty good deal at $316.66 from Buy.com. [Boing Boing, via Wired]