Outside the United States
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
Hello, As an American citizen living abroad, I felt my duty to chime in on this issue. Yesterday a friend of mine brought to my attention that the HDMI spec is changing. Seems the movie studios in their zest to DRM the video, forgot about the audio. So now they are reintroducing DRM to the audio component which basically means that people who own Blu-ray players, Playstation 3's, or any DVD player with and HDMI output are now screwed. Also, in case you were niot aware of it, pirated Blu-ray movies have been released at the same time or earlier as their commercial counterparts so DRM is not even stopping that but it is inconveniencing consumers. Let me cite another example, SPORE by EA Games for the PC format. The first release had so many bugs some people tried to reinstall it multiples times as it kept becoming unplayable, but of course they were stopped from doing so because of the draconian DRM. I know several PC gamers who buy their games then immediately proceed to download a pirate copy specifically to avoid the DRM. The only thing DRM really does in this instance is prevent people from reinstalling a game they legitimately bought after the game crashes so badly that it won't run anymore. The other thing it seems to do on some extreme cases is compromise the operating system with rootkits making it more likely for viruses and trojans to compromise a system which just brings productivity down. Also, several online music providers have started offering music without DRM and saw their sales increase. Apple made the same move this past Tuesday to drop DRM from their music files and charging a bit extra. The obvious reason for the increase in sales is that consumers don't have to worry about which device supports the DRM du-jour and can actually enjoy the product they bought. DRM doesn't stop the pirates as they continue unabated, all it really does is cause headaches for consumers and increase support costs. It is absolutely ridiculous. Sincerely, Daniel.