FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
The use of digital rights management has become widespread in recent years as companies have sought to protect the media they sell. But, this has been intrinsically detrimental to the consumer. Where for decades consumers have been able to buy a piece of media and own full rights to use that software, DRM allows companies to attempt to withhold those full usage rights. The consumer deserves a certain set of rights with their media including the ability to make a backup copy or a digital copy (for a mobile media device) provided that they do not sell these items or misuse their copies. Furthermore, the use of DRM is usually, if not always, only a partial fix because if media is playable, there is usually a way that can be found to circumvent protections. These software codes that circumvent the protections are then eventually integrated into easy-to-use software that the average person can use. This process eventually makes every form of DRM obsolete. Another important argument against DRM is that DRM has become a monopolistic tool as it has become more complicated, expensive, and advanced. There are reports that the specifications for the Sony Corp's Blu-ray disks specifically require copy protection even when the artist does not require or want DRM on their product. This copy protection that is required is provided at set prices by companies affiliated with Sony which range in the thousands of dollars. This is far too much money for a small artist to produce Blu-ray disks and has also kept smaller disk producers away from Blu-ray production, keeping prices high and hurting consumers. There are benefits to be gained from DRM and dangers from DRM, but I believe the dangers are greater than the benefits and that it should have greater regulation within government due to its monopolistic tendencies.