FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM, in most of its current forms accomplishes nothing. Be it music, movies, or videogames, it never accomplishes its goal of preventing piracy. There simply is no solution to that problem. Games are getting the worst of it. The more complicated DRM schemes that show up on PC games never do anything more than inconvenience a lot of people that actually bought the game. The pirates still download for free, usually before the game's even out at retail or available to download from an online store. The best a DRM scheme can hope for is to stop only the most casual of piracy. The people who don't know how to download the ripped version, but simply try to put the disc in one drive and copy it to another disc. Those people are easy to stop with CD keys and a one time registration. That was seen as enough for a long time. It's only over the last few years that DRM schemes have really gotten intrusive and sometimes destructive. Those schemes are the worst offenders because they never actually stop the pirates, but they do cause a number of problems for people that went the honest route and paid for the product. The lighter kinds of DRM are generally accepted and seen as ok. The more intrusive ones like Starforce and Securerom do no more than invonvenience actual paying customers. I had to reformat my PC's hard drive and reinstall windows after my last encounter with Starforce, and I bought the game. It was for my mother, and she never got to actually play it. Every time I install it the optical drive stops working, and nothing short of a wipe and reinstall of my Operating System ever manages to fix it. I can say, for myself, that I've avoided purchasing quite a few PC games over the last couple years simply because of the DRM scheme involved. That's money I would have otherwise spent that stays in my bank account because I won't deal with these intrusive attempts at controlling a product. As long as the potential for problems remains, I'll be saving some extra money.