FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle #539814-00472

Submission Number:
Andrew Norris
Initiative Name:
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
I've recently gotten into the computer-based gaming scene, and honestly I've become quite appalled by DRM. Some DRM is ok, such as simple disk checks when you boot a game, but things like SecuROM that are installed in the kernal of an operating system are just ridiculous. I run on 64 bit Windows Vista, which is unstable enough as it is, and don't need programs being installed in it to make it worse. Also, having to validate that you own the game every few days by connecting to the internet is just ridiculous (especially for myself since I have a laptop for games and can sometimes go days without an internet connection which than then make it so I can't play the game). I do understand that some level of DRM may be beneficial for the sales of the game due to piracy (Devil May Cry 4 had no DRM, and even a representative from Capcom said it was "pirated to hell"), but it also prevents a lot of people from buying games. I personally have not purchased any PC games with DRM on them other than games on Steam (a download service that doubles as a light version of DRM). Also, if there is DRM on games, it is often not labeled very well on the game box. A example that comes to mind is Mass Effect which requires constant online validation, but the box only tells you "requires internet connection to play". I've also never been able to find on a box whether a game has programs like SecuROM. I'm buying a game. I want to know whether it's going to install a program which has behavior similar to some spyware. Activation limits, sketchy kernal installations, DRM checks taking up system resources, and constant online validation are ridiculous. Honestly, they've caused more piracy than anything else. There was a list released last month of the top 10 most pirated games of 2008. Of those 10 games, over half of them were from EA, which are infamous for their strict DRM. In total I believe only one game on the list did not have strict DRM. Things were fine when there were just CD keys and disk checks. That's all there should be. On an aside, I also feel DVD DRM is pretty unfair as well. When I buy a DVD, I should be able to make a digital copy to my computer for any DVD I should purchase. Digital copy should not be some bonus, but just an expected feature when you buy any movie without download limits. I bought it, so I should be able to at least move it to my computer to take it with me. I can burn CDs to my computer, why not a movie?