FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle #539814-00054

Submission Number:
Jean-Philippe D. Leighton
Outside the United States
Initiative Name:
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
As a consumer, I have no problem purchasing a piece of software and respecting the developers in doing so. There are some forms of DRM that I actually accept and endorse. One prime example is the Steam platform (http://steampowered.com). Steam immediately ties your purchases to an online account. The most major restriction to Steam is that any piece of software purchased is tied to one account only. SecuROM DRM at its worst allows me to install a game only 3-5 times. Even with the "de-authorization tool" it is still very possible that the end user could end up not being able to utilize the software purchased. One example where the de-authorization tool becomes useless is when a user's computer becomes defective and the computer's hard drive must be re-formatted. Also if I change once piece of hardware in my computer, I must uninstall the game before doing so. Then I must re-install the game after the new piece(s) of hardware are installed. If I do not do this, I lose an activation, and the game ceases to work until I use a new activation. With Steam I am capable of installing my purchased software at any time, at any place provided that I have an internet connection and access to my Steam account. Steam even provides the tools to back up games on a disk. So in the future, I may install the game without having to download the software. As consumers we are only willing to take a certain amount of "flak" from the software developers. Those who treat legitimate customers like pirates, and enforce too many restrictions actually make the problem worse. To me it is much easier to simply illegally download a piece of software then to purchase and install a piece of software containing restrictive DRM. Let it also be known that the internet is sparking a social revolution that has not been seen to date. Never before has information been so freely accessible. Never before has it been so easy to distribute a piece of information to millions of people. Steam as DRM actually embraces the easy distribution and acquisition of information that the internet provides. Of course you couldn't categorize software purchased on Steam as free, but the Steam platform offers more then just DRM. It's easy to use, I can use it to communicate with other players, and I can freely access any software that I had previously purchased with little or no trouble at all.