FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle #539814-00405

Submission Number:
539814-00405
Commenter:
Francis Turner
State:
Outside the United States
Initiative Name:
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle

I have done research (documented at my blog - http://www.di2.nu/200808/03.htm - and follow up - http://www.di2.nu/200808/04a.htm ) that shows that DRM is utterly ineffective when it comes to preventing internet users from locating a "pirated" version of popular books. I am not a computer gamer but a cursory search has shown me that unlocked versions popular games which are known to be "DRM-locked" are also easily downloadable, much the same applies to other DRM protected content. One reason why otherwise law-abiding people may search out unlocked versions of content that they wish to read (play etc.), or tools to unlock content that they have purchased, is that DRM schemes frequently end up orphaning purchasers as the provider of the DRMed content ends support for that DRM mechanism or download site or the consumer upgrades to a new computer. The dilemma is summed up neatly in this cartoon: http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/steal_this_comic.png A recent example of this problem is the ending of the contract between Fictionwise and Overdrive which means that purchasers of eBooks from Fictionwise which were supplied there by Overdrive will no longer be able to reobtain them after Jan 31, 2009 in the original format, if at all. A second reason why consumers may wish to avoid DRMed products is that the DRM mechanism may break other software, not work in their environment or open up a security risk. One good example of this was the Rootkit which was distributed for a short time by Sony until pressure forced them to stop. Considering these issues I believe it would be wise for the FTC to mandate a "health warning" on DRMed products requiring that the DRM scheme (and potential side-effects) be clearly set out and to require that providers of DRMed products refund users who are unable to use the product.