FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
My greatest concern about DRM is that intellectual property owners often use it to circumvent or simply to ignore the fair use provisions of copyright law. Copyright law allows for fair use of intellectual property for certain uses such as education, small portions of a work may also be freely copied for use in news stories and commentary. These fair use provisions are not legal afterthoughts. They are there by design so that artists, scholars, educators and others can have reasonable access to the works of their peers for review and the furtherance of scholarship. This principle is noted in the Constitution, which authorizes Congress to enforce copyright laws not exclusively to protect the interests of IP owners, but rather, for the "Progress of Science and useful Arts" (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8). Copyright is intended to give IP owners only LIMITED and TEMPORARY rights. However, by using DRM, IP owners are free to ignore the law of the land, locking down IP by means of code in ways the law never envisioned. This is wrong and un-Constitutional, and as an increasing share of the world's intellectual wealth is created in digital format, it threatens to hobble progress in the arts and sciences.