FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
As an avid music listener and game player, I get much more direct contact with DRM and its inherently broken system. DRM restricts one thing: the theoretical profits of those who use them. Let me give you a hypothetical, I want to buy a song and I download it from the iTunes store. I do not own an iPod, and so I cannot put the song on my MP3 player. Now, I know that Apple just got rid of DRM, and I applaud them for it. However, in that case, I would not buy the music from Apple. Instead, I would get it from a different source: the non-DRMed Amazon. Prior to the existence of Amazon (and the non-DRMed Apple music store), I would have had to download the song via a P2P network if I wanted to enjoy it on my MP3 player, and that is, simply put, ridiculous. When it comes to PC games. When I buy a game, I have expectations. One of those expectations, and the most important one, is that the game will always work as it is intended. With recent DRM issues, some games not only stop working after you install them five or so times (as someone who upgrades and formats my computer frequently, I would run out of installs very quickly), but others simply don't function at all, even if I have the disc inside, it will claim to be a fake copy. In this case, I would have to download a crack to the game to make it function, all because the DRM misunderstood my intentions. Taking away the rights of consumers does one thing: makes them angry. When I can't play a song that my friend wants me to hear because there is DRM on it, I become unhappy. When I am unable to play a game I have paid for, I become irate, and I'm not alone. Whenever I can get something via legal means, I do so, because I want these industries to grow. However, the companies make it harder and harder by acting as though I, a paying customer, am a criminal. If I had pirated the music, or the game, both of which are incredibly easy to do nowadays, I would not have any limitations, and I would end up with a superior experience. The fact that a customer who does not pay gets a superior experience to one who does is illogical, and it is one of the main causes of piracy. There will always be pirates, DRM or no. However, getting rid of DRM will stop certain people (like me), those who feel like they're getting the short end of the stick by obtaining these things by legal means, from engaging in filesharing and piracy. As it is, I simply don't buy things with DRM, and instead give my money to those who have made the decision to forego it, and that is the way it shall stay.