FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM is the bane of modern society. DRM in most of it's incarnations do nothing to increase a product's value for the consumer, and often times allows companies unethical control to hold a consumer's right to use the product purchased hostage. Often these rights that the media companies give themselves and take away from the consumers are buried in one sided "End User License Agreements" (EULA) that can reach 15 pages of legal text that generally are not read due to length and legal illiteracy, but are always "agreed" to by consumers just to get their products installed and working. While the need for such technologies to exist is understandable, the implementation for most is significantly more obtrusive than a colonoscopy and this needs to be changed. The DRM can cause significant compatibility issues for the consumers and their devices. This is probably the main reason that all forms of DRM for music are being dropped. Consumers want to just buy their music and have it play without incident on their devices. DRM free music will play on any device available in the market today even older models from 10 years ago, while the ones containing DRM are limited to specific players all of which are incompatible with other forms of DRM. The following needs to be addressed: 1 - DRM needs to be transparent to the user so that they do not know it even exists. 2 - It also needs to be implemented in a way such that the security of the system it is installed on is not compromised in order for the DRM to operate. 3 - The purchaser owns the right to use digital media they bought unless it was rented. They should not under any circumstances be limited to where, when, or how they can use the product purchased. Nor should it be legal under any circumstances to deny the purchaser the right to use their digital media because they upgraded or changed their hardware. 4 - Informing the consumer about the rights taken away by the company in question, should not be buried in some lengthy legal document. A short (ie less than a page) summary should be available before the consumer's "agree" to the conditions given to them. 5 - Companies implementing DRM need to be obligated by law to remove DRM if at anytime they can no longer fulfill the requirements of the DRM implemented. If not obligated to do so, years down the line if the company goes out of business or the product they put out has been retired, the product you bought will be unusable even if the hardware you will run it on is compatible.