FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
There are only two things to consider about DRM. The first and most natural is: Does it work? The answer is a resounding "No." The most high-profile case of DRM use is with the game Spore, which became one of the most-pirated games of the year. Clearly, DRM had next to zero effect in terms of helping the copyright-holders control any user's access to their game. The second question, which only needs to be considered in the wake of the first, is: Does it do any harm? While, strictly-speaking, the answer is a "no," as there was no widespread, genuine damage caused by any DRM, it is clear that the use of more restrictive policies does caused perceived harm, whereby consumers feel that the illegal version of the game, the DRM of which is bypassed or supplanted is a superior product. Consumers simply end up seeing a choice between an illegal product which has no restrictions on installation or use (as computer games largely have been since they were first on the market), or a legal product with harshly-limited usage (note that whether this is the actual case or merely perception by a large number of consumers isn't always clear, and doesn't always matter). Thus, DRM seems to be entirely pointless: it neither accomplishes its stated goals, nor helps create a well-received product.