FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM takes many forms, all of which hurt legitimate customers. Some aren't so bad (such as requiring a disc to play the game or music that's on the disc, rather than just installing), others are ridiculous (installing without notification software into a computer's kernel). My main issue is that companies using DRM (at least in most of its forms) are killing the secondary market. If I buy a CD and then get tired of it, I can sell it to someone else in order to recoup some of the money I spent on it. If I buy an XBOX video game, I can sell it to a friend once I've beaten it. If I buy a computer game that limits itself to 3 installs all of which have to be on the same computer it was originally installed on, then it becomes such that there is no secondary market. It's as if you were to go to a supermarket, buy a couple steaks, and then be told that only YOU can eat those steaks because they were bought with your credit card. You can't even give one away to someone else. Granted it's a very smart business plan. With no secondary market, the business can continue to collect money on every single copy of their product that anyone ever gets, but at the same time it's a practice that hurts the consumer. The other oft brought up issue is that most forms of DRM due very little to stop piracy. They simply hurt and inconvenience the customer that acquired the product legitimately. I'm very glad the FTC has decided to look into these longstanding and unfair business practices, and hope they find what we, the consumers already know: Most forms of DRM unfairly hurt the consumer, and do next to nothing to stop the people they were intended to protect against.