FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
1. DRM in computer games is implemented to prevent piracy yet the pirate community is never deterred. They always find ways around it. The issue I have is it negatively effects the consumers who actually purchase products through compatibility issues, Battlefield 2142 for example, uses executable software called PunkbusterB.exe that anti-virus software identifies as a trojan and attempts to remove it. The reason it sees it as a a trojan is because it continuously scans the users computer and reports to the developer, even when the game is not in use the file is active which to me is an invasion of privacy. On top of this, if your firewall blocks this transfer of data or your anti-virus removes it it makes the game unplayable, you can start the game and log in but as soon you attempt to join a game it kicks you out. Essentially you have to completely turn off your anti-virus and firewall to play which leaves you completely unprotected. Being concerned about something infecting the computer and sending credit or billing information, I am not willing to disable my firewall/anti-virus so my game will not work. I ended up being stuck with a product I can't use because no companies take back software ones it has been opened because they can't resell it once the CD key has been used. 2. Recently another game released, Command & Conquer Red Alert 3, uses DRM that allows the user to install the game up to 5 times, and it reports each time the game is installed. However, over time if the game is uninstalled and reinstalled or if you experience a critical system failure and have to reformat your computer you may not be able to use your product. This information has kept me from purchasing the software to begin with. 3. In the case of DRM in music, I purchased an album from itunes expecting to be able to put the MP3's on to any 1 MP3 player expecting the DRM to allow me to do so while blocking me if I attempted to put it on multiple players, this is not the case though. In reality, Apple's DRM keeps you from putting the music on any device other than an Apple. I do not own any Apple products and I do not want to spend money to buy an Apple Ipod when I have a Sony PSP that can play music, movies and games that I have already spent $235 on. 4. DRM is more detrimental to the products it is implemented in because it is inconvenient and impractical to the user/consumer and it almost never works the way it its intended to. I personally believe that products with unique CD Keys that are monitored are far more effective and practical as evidenced by Valve's Steam software and Kaspersky anti-virus software. A unique key that is allowed to be used any number of times but only allowed to be active on a pre-established number of devices is far more efficient than DRM and far less cumbersome. As an example, Kaspersky allows the owner to load 3 license software onto 3 computers, if the owner violates this and installs it on a fourth they are prompted to buy an additional license and until they remove the software or buy the license they are blocked from receiving product updates. Finally, DRM is ultimately bad for sales which in turn is bad for businesses and therefor bad for the economy. I refuse to purchase products with DRM that hinders my use and have not purchased any EA computers games or music from Apple Itunes since their respective fiasco's and I have made the decision that I will not purchase current or future products from these companies unless they don't implement such clumsy and stringent DRM.