FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle #539814-00396

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Outside the United States
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FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
I am a 17 year old gamer from the Netherlands and would like to give my opinion about this subject, particularly in the context of computer games. DRM hurts normal costumers, while pirates crack it within days. Also, some game protection systems will refuse to start the game if certain software is installed on your computer. This fact is (almost) never mentioned on the back of the disc, at the 'system requirements' section. Since you can only see the EULA once you try to install the game, and most shops don't take back opened games, you will have the choice of removing the, sometimes paid for, 'offending' software from your computer, or having waisted your money. An example of a program that often isn't allowed to be installed is deamontools, which is a piece of software for mounting cdrom /dvd images in so-called 'virtual drives', i.e. drives that don't physically exist but are detected and can't be worked with by the operating system. DeamonTools is often used for piracy purposes, however, this is not what the programmers wrote it for, and in addition, a lot of people use the program only for legal purposes, for example, to watch a free fan made star trek or star wars movie that is downloadable as a DVD image without having to burn a disc, which not everyone can do with his/her pc, and is also expensive. An example of such a movie is reign of the fallen, google it, I forgot the webpage. Some DRM programs also install programs to the heart of the pc's OS (Operating System), the 'kernel'. The 'kernel' is the part of the OS that handles the communication between the hardware components of the computer, and the OS with the software running on it. EA has had a class-action lawsuit filed against it for the use of such techniques in their game spore, which did not mention anything about this to the end-user, not even in the terms as stated in the EULA, let alone on the box. In conclusion, I have no problems with simple DRM, such as having to type in a cd-key, which reduces the amount of 'casual copying'. I do have a problem however with the type of DRM that a) requires you to remove certain software from your computer before it allows you to play the game or b) installs software to the heart of your pc's os without telling the user it is doing so. I would like the FTC to take action against this kind of DRM on games. If america implements laws against it, then the EU might, hopfully, follow the example. (I live in the Netherlands, so I definitely hope so.)