FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle #539814-00190

Submission Number:
Randy Edwards
Initiative Name:
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
The way I see it, typically, DRM enters the game market with CD protection technologies. What that basically is is algorithms that maintain a means of identifying the patterns of "special error bits" or otherwise needed data ON the cd medium. This is a strategy used to attempt to identify what IS or isn't a burned copy, since a bit-per-bit identical copy of a disk is a difficult thing to get. Unfortunately, the only way they can ever accomplish this is with special system drivers for the system (which slow it down, by design) Unfortunately, what I see is the inevitable problem of what this type of DRM is trying to accomplish. Basically, they're trying to stop someone who does not have the original cd from playing the game. While that propostion is a fair ideal, I URGE you to reconsider the what you're proposing. A cd is a blueprint. A game is a blueprint. But, like all blueprints, you can extract pieces of information that you need. For instance, if you had a blueprint for a ship, and you wanted it without an anchor (god forbid!), you would get all the data from the ship's blueprint, and leave out the anchor. CD protection is much the same. A CD IS a blueprint. It's an idea contained in a stateless form. Anyone looking to extract the information they're after can do so, given a sufficient education on software engineering and reverse engineering. What I see as the inevitable problem of CD protection, is that installing kernel drivers is INVASIVE. It's a resource hog, and unfortunately it DOESN'T stop the fundamental problem: Once you release a CD to the public, you've released a blueprint. Be it a complicated one (i.e. intensive reverse engineering to find where the anchor is), or a simple one (i.e. no difficult in locating the anchor in the software). And since you've released a blueprint, you've given them a complete copy of the software, regardless of whatever CD protection mechanisms you install on the CD, or introduce without public concent into windows. What I'm saying is, it doesn't solve anything. It's an idea founded n the expectation that those who go against the software liscence are not smart enough to read the blueprint FOR the blueprint (contained on the CD), and it installs unnecessary software on everyone's machines that hinders performance and gameplay. To paraphrase what they're trying to accomplish, imagine selling a blueprint of a ship, that has it inscribed "you can't remove the anchor from this blueprint", and it so happened that the anchor was taking resources from shipbuilders funds. Now give that blueprint to a 5th grader. and hand him some whiteout for the anchor. Hopefully now, you will realize how much of a waste CD protection is. It doesn't stop the problem.