FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
While I understand the desire for publishers to safeguard their intellectual property from piracy, the simple fact is that every piece of software has been pirated. Spore, infamous for its heavy-handed DRM scheme, was one of the most-pirated games of 2008 (an estimated 1.7 million copies were pirated as of December). Bottom line: pirates will continue to pirate. Publishers need to realize that a consumer-friendly approach is a superior option to one that will actually drive away potential legitimate consumers. This reality sadly eludes many publishers, hence this FTC forum. Requiring the user to have the disk in the computer's CD/DVD drive is a perfectly reasonable DRM scheme that ties the physical media to the digital content. Attempts to include additional DRM, such as contacting a central server, are a grave concern to me as a consumer. What happens to me if that server cannot be accessed or if that company goes out of business? The most severe form of defrauding occurs when a publisher includes a limited number of installs that are not refunded upon uninstall. A consumer's expectations about ownership are violated, leaving a rental situation in place of an ownership contract.