FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
In relation to the statement "Among other issues, the workshop will address the need to improve disclosures to consumers about DRM limitations", I feel this a critical part of the use of DRM. I feel that a large part of DRM is the underground nature of it. There is heavy DRM use by companies like Apple (in their iTunes store for example) which consumers never hear about. When Sony's BGM DRM scandal broke in 2005, there was a huge consumer outcry. Yet this is only one of Sony's *many* uses of DRM and all the other instances are mainly unheard of. In order for consumers to make an informed decision on DRM they need to understand the true nature of what it intends to do, namely restrict consumer behavior based on a companies decision about "proper use" Further, I also think the FTC needs to investigate if DRM use actually is beneficial. Does the cost of researching, implementing and monitoring DRM outweigh its benefits? In the monetary sense, does it make sense for consumers to pay companies to restrict behavior (because in the end their resources to use DRM comes from consumers). Also, was it the social-cultural risk of using DRM? Do we as a society lose out on fundamental rights/freedoms at the cost of protecting the bottom line of a company? Do we gain anything by DRM? Are there any reasons to think that DRM actually benefits consumers? Does it work and if not what would make it work. Is it a battle that can't be won? If so, fighting more vigorously with consumers should not be a recommendation of the FTC. In short, I don't think we should extend E-books (or other digital media) DRM capabilities when we don't do so with regular books.