Western Digital reconsiders file-sharing limits

A "very surprised" Western Digital may reconsider its decision to restrict certain types of file-sharing using its remote access software, a company spokesman said Monday.

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A "very surprised" Western Digital may reconsider its decision to restrict certain types of file-sharing using its remote access software, a company spokesman said Monday.

"It is something that we are going to look at in future," said Brian Miller, director of marketing at Western Digital. "There are definitely a good number of customers who are very interested in opening up the accessibility" offered by Western Digital 's Anywhere Access software.

But Miller stressed that nothing has changed yet -- nor is any reversal imminent.

The storage vendor last week found itself in the middle of a raging controversy over what some called attempts to police how people use their Western Digital hardware and software.

The controversy erupted after the BoingBoing.net Web site published a post saying that the company's Western Digital Anywhere Access software prohibited users from remotely accessing most types of multimedia content stored on their Western Digital hard drives.

Calling it the most "extreme example I've seen yet of tech companies crippling data devices in order to please Hollywood," the article's author said that Western Digital had disabled the sharing of 30 different multimedia file types, including .avi, .mp3, .wmv, .mpeg and divx, on its network-connected devices.

Western Digital 's Anywhere Access software is available with the company's 1TB MyBook World Edition of shared storage devices. The software is designed to allow Western Digital customers to access their Western Digital hard drives remotely in order use digital files such as photos, videos and text documents and even share those files with others "as if that content were stored local to the user," according to a company description of the tool.

Monday, Miller agreed that while such sharing is possible without restrictions within a home network or LAN, Anywhere Access does not allow users to access multimedia files types commonly associated with copyrighted material such as music and video over the Web.

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