FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
I have a lot to say and only 4000 characters to say it, so I'll try to be brief. In 2008, I bought the game "Mass Effect" for the PC. My PC is only just good enough to play the game, so the performance of the game is low. I decided that I was going to hold off until my next PC to continue playing it. Afterward, I was informed that I was not allowed to install it more than a few times, or I would have to buy a new copy of the game. As it is now, the game is taking up 10 Gigabytes of my hard drive and I'm not playing it and I can't uninstall it because I don't know if they will release a revoke tool or not. If I uninstall it before a revoke tool is released, I will permanently lose one installation. Needless to say, if I was careless and uninformed, the money I spent of the game will end up being literally flushed down the toilet because I eventually wont be allowed to install and play the game. This is not fair. I understand why companies feel they need DRM. Piracy is a big deal, and giving away copies of a game is bad for business. However, if I wanted to, I could illegally download the game for free, and never have to worry about running out of installations. Where is the incentive to actually buy the game? I can pay nothing and get a better product, or I can be an honest person and get treated like a criminal. This is not fair. DRM comes in all sorts of forms. Music and downloadable content for console games also are restricted by DRM. Mostly, this is OK, because once again, letting people give away free copies is bad for business. The problem is, with consoles and iPods and such, if the device breaks, you can't always get the content you purchased back. When my Nintendo Wii broke, I sent it in for repair, and when I got it back, I couldn't use all of the features I had before it broke, because I was now officially using another console. Similar things can happen with the Xbox360 and PlayStation 3. These are just issues that *I* have come across, and I do my best to be an informed consumer. Not everyone will be as conscious of the limitations in the products they purchase as I am. Given the current trends, I could easily see DRM becoming more and more restrictive to the point where a consumer no longer owns the product they purchase, but have rights equal to that of some one who rented it instead. I'm afraid I don't have any great solutions to offer, but I would recommend creating restrictions on how restrictive DRM is allowed to be on a product. The easiest solution would be to just ban DRM, because I believe that products will be purchased if they are worth purchasing. Internet pirates will always be around, and punishing honest consumers is inexcusable.