Outside the United States
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
I purchased most Sims 2 (EA games) expansion packs and stuff packs as well as the base game. Securom, a DRM, was installed on my system with the Bon Voyage and subsequent expansion/stuff packs, without either my knowledge or my consent. I did not have some of the problems that many are complaining about but this malware did affect my ability to use my CD/DVD burner in ways that are perfectly legal. I tried to record a few songs from some of my own store-bought CDs to create a mix for listening in my car. The Securom software prevented me from doing so and ruined more than a half-dozen CDs before I even realized that this was causing the problem. I was not doing anything illegal and certainly should have been able to make copies, for my own personal use and backup, of my legally store-purchased CDs. Then, I tried to make a copy of a software title I again purchased legally at a store, as a backup to protect myself should anything happen to my original DVD but again Securom prohibited me from doing so, again ruining several DVDs in the process. The last straw was when I was unable to back-up my own computer files onto either CD or DVD, to protect my file contents, as a result of Securom. While I understand that EA has a right to protect it's own software, they have no right to distribute it with malware that affects customers' legal usage of their own computers. In effect, by using Securom, EA has made itself the arbiter of how one is permitted to legally use his or her own CD/DVD drivers/burners and software related to this function. In closing, I am a middle-aged mother of three. I am a law abiding citizen. However, by installing Securom, a malware that affects my legal computer usage, EA has left me with only one of three choices: 1) to uninstall and never use the Sims 2 expansion packs and stuff packs that I paid for yet cannot return for a refund 2) to continue using the game packs but use an illegal pirated no-CD hack to avoid the installation of Securom onto my computer, turning me into a criminal 3) to install the Securom-infected packs and be treated as though I am already a criminal due to the DRM's affecting my legal usage of my CD/DVD burner to make backup copies of legally purchased music and software CDs and prohibiting me from using my CD/DVD drives to legally back up my own computer's files. None of these options are acceptable however I have chosen the first option and have not installed the Securom-infected Sims 2 packs on my new computer, leaving me out of pocket over $100 because I can't safely use these packs and I cannot return them for a refund. I realize that companies must protect themselves from software piracy but in doing using DRM malware, they are treating all customers as though they are probable criminals, in effect punishing us before a crime has even been committed. This is not fair to the majority who are honest, law-abiding individuals who purchase these game titles to spend a few hours on home entertainment. Most of us have no intention of spending our hard-earned money on software to turn around and just give it away, illegally, to someone else. All software purchasers should not be punished for the possible actions of a minority who will illegally distribute pirated software, especially when these people always manage to a way around it and are therefore not suffering the consequences of the DRM malware in any event. As such, I hope that the FTC will protect consumers, as it is mandated, and properly investigate and stop companies like EA from installing harmful DRM malware onto unsuspecting customers computers.