FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM limits legitimate uses and inconveniences paying customers much more than it prevents content piracy. Being forced by companies to accept DRM protected content without alternatives infringes on the freedoms we have a right to as US citizens. It would be very simple to ban certain DRM technologies altogether, but companies with the funds to employ lobbyists have a much larger say in this than citizens do. A practical alternative would be to require an accessible DRM free alternative to DRM protected content. It makes business sense as well, companies like Apple have demonstrated that people are willing to pay content providers more to have DRM protections removed. If people are willing to pay more for the same content, it wouldn't be unreasonable to protect public interest (which is the duty of the FTC), and require content providers offer a premium, DRM free alternative. This would be a small step, and these premium alternatives should be limited to less than 200% of the original price. Apple's own iTunes Music Store has shown that charging a 30% premium for DRM free content is not only viable, but very popular with consumers. It wouldn't be out of line to limit DRM free premiums to 150% or less of the original, DRM enabled price.