FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
The purpose of DRM is to protect copyright owners, and yet often it punishes the people who legitimately purchase the product. In order to avoid this, I believe the method employed by something like iTunes would be advised: 1. Allow the purchaser to authorize their content on several machines. Many people have several systems that they play movies, listen to music, and play games on in their home. "Fair use" should come into play that people ought to be able to use the content that they've purchased when and where they choose. 2. Assuming #1 has a limit to the number of devices a product is allowed to play on, allow the end user to disable certain machines. That way, in the event of a computer crash or hardware failure, content is not tied to a piece of hardware that no longer functions or operates. 3. In the realm of digital content, all content should be "future proofed" enabling purchases to be usable far into the future. Thus, if a service is planning to take authentication servers offline, they should be required to release a software update that allows the content to be freed from the DRM restrictions so that it is usable even though authentication will not be able to take place. I think it is important to understand that those who want to steal content will steal it regardless of what methods of DRM or other copy protection are employed. It's sad, but is a reality that ought to be recognized. In light of that, there needs to be a compromise between protecting a company's products and not punishing those who actually paid for the content. Thank you.