FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
As a game developer and player, I feel that some forms of DRM are essential in order to help combat piracy. However, when DRM hinders or interrupts the experience the valid customers rightly paid for, then it should be either reconsidered or removed. Intrusive DRM is difficult to remove from your system or that limits the number of installs or anything else that is not obviously stated to the customer only helps fuel the piracy that DRM is trying to prevent. Especially since most modern forms of DRM are still easily removed by pirates, many times even before the retail version of the game is available. Valve and their Steam system is an example of a good DRM system that is flexible and does its job well without intruding on the customers' experience. Stardock also is a champion of loose DRM restrictions and have even put together a Gamers' Bill of Rights that states their views and goals. I believe they also do a very good job of handling DRM. In short, DRM needs to be a non-intrusive mechanism with its limitations clearly stated up front for the customer. While I do not think that restricting what valid consumers want to do with their purchased product is a sound business decision, it is up to the right handlers to decide. However, if their decision is to use a DRM system that might have undue hardship or potential negative consequences on the consumers, especially if this is not made clear before purchase, then it should be illegal in some fashion as it is lying to the consumer about what they are buying. In many cases, I believe that piracy is still a rampant problem that is fueled by these bad DRM systems or restrictive rights usage requirements that the media is saddled with. While we cannot prevent the rights holders from wanting to restrict what valid consumers do with their content, we can make it more fair to the consumer so they understand what they are purchasing, and hopefully help the rights holders to understand that their restrictions are only helping add to the piracy problem that they are trying to prevent. Thank you for your time and consideration.