FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
The Digital Rights Management movement that is becoming more and more prevalent in the world of electronics hardware and software is putting a stranglehold on the consumer. Software companies, in particular are not afraid of putting harsh restrictions on products that many people pay good money for. To a point, this means that we never actually own the software itself. What we do own is a lease on the software until certain conditions are met that terminate the ownership. For instance: most computer game software that has DRM will allow the owner to re-install the game no more than three times until the software expires and the user is forced to pay retail price on the game to re-activate it. You will also lose one of the three installs if there is a major hardware change in the computer system that supports that software. This is not the way to protect intellectual property. I'm afraid that if the DRM continues as it does, it will only become more restrictive and controlling as time goes on. It seems perceivable that some day, one company's software could restrict or deny the use of a rival company's software. The more and more that I deal with DRM, the more that it seems like reality.