FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
Manufacturer's and publisher's comments that DRM is entirely necessary to prevent piracy are in large part erroneous or even misleading. --- There are no studies that have definitively shown that the presence or absence of DRM measures have increased or decreased overall sales of any game respectively. And as can be shown by various statistics-tracking firms, the presence of DRM is rarely if ever a deterrent for prospective pirates, said pirates often able to -crack- a game's DRM measures even before release day. --- A large portion of users are actually troubled by DRM because of the system instability and compatibility problems brought upon by DRM measures. Given the way they operate, hiding themselves from the system and disabling or hindering completely normal system operations that on occasion permit the use of copied software, DRM measures would be considered "malware" if viewed in any other context. ---- DRM further harms the rights of the consumer to the product he or she owns. DRM prevents the resale of a product, limits the amount of times a product can be installed on a given computer, and serves only to allow publishers more and more control over their customers, control that is neither warranted nor wanted.---- The justification that a consumer is only buying a "license" to a given product and not the product itself is spurious and misleading, as it is based on a contract that can only be signed by the consumer "after-the-fact", in that the consumer has already bought the product before he or she knows what she is buying. This would be illegal if applied to most other products. Would you agree to buy a car if the seller refused to tell you details about the warranty, engine performance, or ride comfort, only saying that you'd know once you bought it? ---- As a result, DRM is a security measure that does not prevent the supposed crime it is supposed to protect from, regardless of the actual damage said crime does (see above the lack of definitive proof that software piracy damages sales), and only harms the legitimate consumer in the process. ----- I strongly urge the commission to take a stand for consumer rights and encourage the prevention of piracy via better business practices, better products, and cultivating consumer loyalty, rather than through expensive and ultimately ineffective means that damage both goodwill and consumer rights. ----- Thank you for your time and consideration.