FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
To make it quick and short, the biggest issue with DRM is that it is almost completely ineffective and works backwards. I understand that DRM is there to protect certain aspects including someone's work. However, all it does is make the consumer pay. This is the wrong way to go about this. There is a bigger advantage to stealing the product or pirating software because there is no DRM that way. The only way to curb piracy is to give consumers the advantage back. Sometimes I think that piracy is Adam Smith's invisible hand guiding the market back to equilibrium. Most companies that introduced DRM never lowered the price, never made any other effort to increase the value of their product. A great example is the securom effect. Securom is an anti piracy system that EA includes in many games, one for example being Red Alert 3. Securom limits the amount of times you can install a product, it also requires online activations. A pirate on the other hand can just download said game and thanks to modern piracy efforts can enjoy the product hassle-free. No activations necessary, you just install and play. What about the case of HDMI 1.3 and HDCP. HDCP is a DRM system included in most modern High Definition televisions and media players (blu-ray). The problem is early adopters of HDTV's do not have HDCP on their television. Eventually they will run into the problem of spending money on a HD Media player only to find that because their TV does not contain the HDCP the movie will now play at SD resolution rendering all of their purchases worthless. A pirate on the other hand would have no problems, since he would have found a rip of the movie with HDCP, the DRM component, removed. The economy is steadily decreasing, now is the time for manufacturers and developers to listen to the consumer. If this situation is to change you HAVE to create value for the consumer. This is a new era of technology and manufacturers and developers are still imposing a tired old model. This needs to change. Pricing structures need to change and so does the way these big companies think. Once companies realize this and change everyone including consumers can/will profit.