FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM reduces the usability of legally purchased products. For instance, if one purchases a song or movie with DRM, it can only be played on certain specific devices or operating systems. The owner can't listen to it in the car, in his home or office unless he purchases specific (and often inferior) technologies to play the media. This makes people who would normally be happy to purchase a product likely to look at peer to peer systems to find copies with no DRM, so they can use them in a way the is convenient to them, not to the publisher. Similarly, DRM on software, especially games, causes additional hassles (like number of times it can be installed, or requiring the use of a CD). If a user needs to upgrade computers, or looses the CD, the software can no longer be used. Finally, some DRM products use very shady techniques to attempt to secure their product (like the Sony BMG CD DRM debacle). Games companies that have opted to NOT use DRM have not reported any loss in sales (see Stardock). Sales of DRM free mp3's have not seen any decrease, and many DRM free experiments have been exceedingly successful (see Nine Inch Nails) The addition of DRM has not slowed the release of DRM free version of products. Virtually every game or song can be obtained through peer to peer mechanisms. Based on this, it seems the DRM not only does not work, but makes for inferior or dangerous products. It also seems the publishers who choose NOT to include DRM do not suffer from that decision. It is my opinion that DRM is the result of a bad business model, and an attitude that your customer is a criminal. It should be abolished.