FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is detrimental to the consumer. It’s detrimental because it removes control of exercise of a basic right of ownership, that being use of the product, from the legitimate legal purchaser. People are routinely penalized by DRM with access to the music or other legally purchased entertainment media being denied them because the service the entertainment media was purchased from shut down their servers. As a result the DRM technology built into the media files can not authenticate the media files authenticity. In this case the consumer is left with a loss of money because the product they paid for can no longer be used, and through no fault of their own. In other areas such as games, the game producers use the DRM capabilities to control a legal purchaser’s use of the product by threats of removal of that use if the purchaser does not meet certain unassociated criteria such as posting as the producer likes in the producers open public forums. Game producers frequently use DRM to remove a person’s use of a game based upon the dubious and false statements of others that someone might have been cheating, or might have been not as accepting as the abuse or opinions of others, in a game. Even the U.S Army, although not specifically including DRM in its Americas Army game, allows a third party vendor to install its possibly insecure and computer compromising software called PunkBuster for anti-cheating into the Americas Army game. As such the U.S. Army allows a form of DRM to occur because PunkBuster routinely removes use of the Americas Army game from U.S. Citizens who are the legitimate and rightful owner of the Americas Army game because it was developed and paid for with American tax payer dollars. As such the U.S. Government through the U.S. Army may be infringing upon the rights of ownership of the American citizen. DRM is not used as a method of protection for content. It is used as a method of control. DRM has been, and continues to be, used by software and big content producers and providers to control the legally purchased access to a product at the whim of the software or big content producer and provider. These software and big content producers and providers often use intrusive, abusive, and computer compromising, methods, installed in secret on a persons computer systems without providing the person any form of redress or method of removal or notice of such methods activity when active and what information the method is actually gathering and sending. There is frequently no method of removal provided for these methods. DRM needs to be outlawed. The potential for abuse to the detriment of the consumer is too great and neither the U.S. Government nor producers of software or entertainment media should be allowed the use of such technology.