FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
The problem with DRM is that it doesn't work. It's a broken system and there's no way to make it any less broken. From a publisher point of view they might as well try to grasp a giant handful of jello- the harder the grip the more squishes out between their fingers. To extend the analogy a little farther than necessary, the problem is that after squeezing it the jello isn't exactly in an edible state. From a consumer point of view what this means is that potentially harmful products such as Securom and Starforce are foisted on to our computers, limiting what we can do with a product that we own. These programs, in an attempt to exert greater control over how the product they're infected with is used, can instill system instabilities and, in rare extreme cases, fry certain hardware. And for what? A fair percentage of PC game buyers frequently hit up sketchy web sites for a program that circumvents DRM, specific to each product and, more often than not, available on the day of the game's release. While these programs circumvent the licensing agreement they allow the product to be used in the manner to which one would reasonably expect. I can play a CD, DVD, or video game in any compatible console, why would I allow a PC game to be slaved to one computer? While it's true that DRM will prevent sharing one copy of a title among multiple users simultaneously, the negative repercussions are hardly a fair trade. The consumer feels like he's treated as a thief, is forced to download a license-violating program to use the product in a reasonable fashion, and may even end up with potentially harmful extraneous software as a side effect. This is bad business practice. From a personal point of view, anything I buy I own. I'm not licensing the use of the software to be subject to the terms and conditions imposed by an outside force, it's mine. If I want to watch a CD or DVD and give it away, or sell it to a friend, that's my right. It's everybody's right, for that matter. How PC software manufacturers think they get an exception to the rule is a bit of a mystery.