FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
Ownership is a necessary component o any free market. Consumers must be able to own the products that they buy in order for them to have confidence in their purchase, and to make their investment seem worthwhile. What certain DRM policies, specifically the practice of limiting downloads, do is degenerate the purchase down to the level of a long term rental. The consumer does not own the product in question, but instead is being allowed to use it for a limited amount of time. The consumer can no longer resell the product, lend it, or give it away, as would be allowed for the purchase of other commodities such as cars, furniture, and computers. DRM cripples the product, and denigrates it's value. The practice is also an artificial roadblock to the market that has developed around used video games and software. This market has existed for as long as the technology has, and is an important and profitable business practice that supports countless distributors. This market also does no real harm to the publishers, as a game that is sold on the internet, or to a retailer, does as much for them as one that sits idle on a shelf. Furthermore, though piracy is an issue, history has demonstrated that no protection is a match for a determined hacker. As the SecuROM fiasco with the game Spore has demonstrated, DRM does little good when faced with high demand for pirated software. Though despite being the most pirated piece of software in '08 Spore was still able to sell over two million copies in its first week (according to Wikipedia), more success than most games receive in a lifetime. In short, as has been shown above, aggressive DRM does nothing for the consumer, harms the publisher's reputation, and stymies the natural flow of the economy. For the good of the software market, and the rights of the consumer, the practiced involved with DRM should be regulated or banned completely, this is the only logical course of action.