FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM is one of those things which seems like a good idea in theory, but never seems to quite work out in practice. There's two things that I'd like to point out: 1) The inconvenience only falls upon the paying customer, not on the pirate. The paying customer has to deal with the DRM every time they try to use the product they've paid for - whether it's light or heavy, the customer has to handle entering in a product key, or having his computer connect with a server on the internet to use or copy his content. Once the content has been pirated, however, the person who steals the content has no such inconvenience, as they have full access to the item. Penalizing the person who pays never seems to work. Some DRM, I will admit, has little or low problems most of the time, but even if it's invisible to the user, there's my second note. 2) DRM only works as long as the sponsoring company is around or wants to support it. Fictionwise is currently having to deal with people who have bought books online who are now going to possibly lose what they have already paid for because of Overdrive shutting down in a month. WalMart was going to just shut down their DRM service for electronic music, and only a loud outcry from their customers convinced them to continue - this DRM that they imposed is now an extra cost that they have to pay indefinately. Many companies in the music realm seem to be realizing that using DRM is slowly killing their business - Apple is finally been given permission to sell music without it, for instance. Other businesses, such as games, movies, and ebooks, will have to learn the same harsh lessons over time, apparently not willing to see that it's already failed for one business. DRM sounds like a good idea, as I stated, but it just doesn't work in the long run. People are not willing to pay money for something that they think they should own, but only own until someone pulls the plug on the servers.