FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM has been seriously misused and misrepresented in the last decade. People buy games that need to be authenticated online by the company who created the game every time the game is played or when the game is installed, even if the game has minimal or no online play. When companies who publish works with DRM that requires internet access go out of business, or just decide to turn off the authentication server, every one who bought the game may completely loose the ability to access their legally purchased works. The companies will hold on to all of their intellectual right for a hundred years or more. However, everyone who purchased a legal version of the work will completely loose access to their legally purchased work. What if the companies turn off DRM brand X and the next day, or years later, start selling the exact same work with DRM brand Y that is not compatible with DRM brand X in any way? Should everyone be forced to purchase a new copy of a work they previously bought simply because a company wants more profit? The aforementioned scenario should not be possible, it only brings profit to companies and leaves consumers with what they originally purchased. If Barns and Noble went out of business should I be prevented from reading the books they sold me? Alternatively, should Barns and Noble have the right to disable my book when they feel like it? I strongly believe the answer to the two preceding questions is no. I also believe that if Barns and Noble tried to implement these restrictions the people and the government would be outraged and put a stop to such practices immediately. Publishers of intellectual works should have tools to protect their works that do not remove legal rights such as the first sale doctrine from consumers. In the 21st century digital formats will continue to become the cheapest and easiest way for publishers to distribute their works. Publishers claim that DRM is the only way to combat piracy. Currently consumers are loosing rights at the same time there has been an increase in piracy.