FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
Hello! First, I'd like to apologize on behalf of gamers everywhere for the drek and insults you have likely had to wade through. A lot of us don't have the experience or capacity for social interactions. I also ask that you forgive me for saying what I am sure you have heard before, I am sure you are familiar with the situation, likely more so than I am, however, I feel I must speak my piece. That said, I feel that DRM is an immoral tool that corporations use to capitalize on the ignorance and goodwill of the public. Quite simply put, we as a species are now globally interconnected. We are moving into a new social paradigm, the rules and guidelines that we have lived with up until now are changing. The future of human civilization depends on us being more open, on sharing, on letting go of things like avarice and control. Information wants to be free. We need to let it go. Not only does DRM jeopardize the very freedom of humanity, but the corporations seeming desire to keep the population ignorant of their motives is even worse. I, for one, am a very moral person. I am not religious in any sense of the word, I just firmly believe in a lawful and moral code. As such, I do not "pirate" music or software. But there are times I want to. Times when I can't afford to pay for music. Especially in this recession. So I find it a great shame that when I CAN pay for music, when I take my hard earned money and indulge myself in paying for what I believe should be free, that I am forced to purchase a version of it that is locked to my computer or iPod. Example: iTunes forces you (until recently, but their solution to this is to make you pay $0.30 a song to strip the DRM, which is hardly ideal) to download songs in their proprietary .m4p format, which is DRM locked. I'd like to listen to a band, and then be able to send that music on to, say, my brother, recommending that he listen to it, and then purchase it on his own. Yes, I could purchase the .m4a version of that song, which is DRM unlocked, but then I have to spend an additional thirty cents per song. That doesn't sound like much, but it adds up quick. At this moment, to free all my iTunes music from DRM will cost me $148.79. Putting it, for the foreseeable future, out of my reach. In this example, the corporation involved forces DRM on the consumer, dictating the activities a legally purchased copy can be used for. Conversely, if one were to go out and buy a CD of the exact same music, they could easily share it amongst friends, broadening the reach of the band involved, and spreading joy and music to those less fortunate. Example: There was a big kerfuffle in 2005, with Sony BMG at the center of it. Sony BMG saw fit to install a rootkit protection to roughly 102 different titles. This rootkit invisibly installed itself onto Windows-based computers, interfering with the way the computer ran CDs. By it's very nature, it opened up security vulnerabilities at the lowest level of the computer, vulnerabilities that would easily allow malicious hackers access to those systems. Not only did Sony BMG not take into account those possibilities, they downright scoffed at the fact people were upset about it. Famously, Thomas Hesse, who is Sony BMG's Global Digital Business President, told reporter Neda Ulaby, "Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?" It is that kind of callous thinking that shows how dangerous DRM is. That statement shows that the intention was to keep the public ignorant, because if they were, they could get away with the murder of free speech. Yeah, I went with the murder of free speech. Free speech is, first and foremost, about the expression of artistic ideals and opinions. The first amendment guarantees it, and DRM subverts it. I thank you, dear reader, for taking the time to read my writing, and I urge you to take what I've said into consideration.