FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle #539814-00603

Submission Number:
539814-00603
Commenter:
John Seel
Organization:
Citizen
State:
VA
Initiative Name:
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle

To all concerned: DRM, or digital rights management, is intrinsically a contradiction in terms. Rights imply the ability, without restriction, to undertake usage of property. DRM provides precisely the opposite effect, by preventing one from using their property in the way that they see fit. The holders of DRM argue that this is necessary under the concept of a "license", but then refuse to uphold their own responsibilities in support of a licensing concept - such as re-issuance of media for minimal fees, the idea that the license is transferable and permanent, and then routinely argue against first sale rights, in direct contradiction of well established case laws. DRM is often installed without requesting any form of express permission, particularly on personal computers. This renders those computers vulnerable to hacking, at risk of having information sent to unknown parts of the internet without their knowledge, and represents what could be argued as an illegal intrusion of those computers. The major issue with DRM, however, is the lack of ability to ensure that in the future the DRM holder will still be solvent. If the IP holders of DRM were forced to provide an unlocked version into public escrow, that became public domain upon either end of life cycle of the primary product or dissolution of the firm, DRM might be more tolerable. At this time, DRM has no value to consumers, and in fact, often renders consumers vulnerable to attack, with their information at risk, and further puts them at risk that at some point in the future they will be unable to run software that they have purchased. This is, quite frankly, untenable in a time when software costs are greater than the cost of the machine running the software in many cases. Sincerely, John Seel