FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle #539814-00590

Submission Number:
Mark Kilczewski
Initiative Name:
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
SecuRom once installed, reports back to it's "activation servers" ostensibly to prevent piracy. Things like system configuration, programs/peripherals installed, and other personal information. Once the host program is uninstalled, SecuRom stays behind, continuously transmitting this personal data back to it's home servers. This is a known fact about one of SecuRom's features. There is very little else known about it's other capabilities, as it's makers and the companies that hide it in their software have been less than truthful/evasive when directly querried about it. SecuRom is spyware, that is a fact. It violates your civil rights. Companies like EA, 2K, and Bethesda have bamboozled their customers by not only installing a trojan on their machines, but also making them pay for it. Quite a few people believe just because a game doesn't have limited installs, it does not contain SecuRom. This is not always the case. SecuRom has many features, including "just a simple disc check", which can be enabled/disabled by the coder. Red Alert 3 doen't even have a disc check, however, it does hide SecuRom. The point that alot of people just don't get is, even if SecuRom did absolutely nothing with regard to disk checks, limiting activations/installs, Conflicts with other software/hardware, it still attaches itself to your OS surrepticiously, and cannot be removed without a reformat, or an extensive manual uninstall. Your machine may or may not work after this install. Imagine if an employee of say, EA came into your house and just sat there in the corner, out of the way, not doing anything, except watching you. And despite protests, and requests to vacate, stays there sitting in the corner. When you call EA to complain, they politely tell you that he needs to stay there in case you ever decide to rob EA. This is what SecuRom does to the consumer electronically. A phrase coined by some of the more, precocious, SecuRom smugglers out there. A consumer asks, "will this game have DRM?". They respond, "No activation or install limits, only a simple disc check.". Thus, they have sidestepped a direct question, and, hopefully, convinced the consumer that their product is somehow less malignant than one that uses activation, and install limits. If these smugglers really only wanted to use a "Simple disc check" for DRM, why wouldn't they just use SafeDisc? Because SecuRom is, first, and foremost, spyware. Anyone who's interested should pick up January copy of PC Gamer. On page 12 there's a 2 page write up concerning DRM and the Spore fiasco. In it a Mr. Randy Stude, director of the Gaming Program Office at Intel, and president of the PC Gaming Alliance, says that he "believes the efforts by the people who voiced their opinions about SecuRom created the awareness for change". He likens the 1-star flame campaign on Amazon to the Boston Tea Party. Brad Wardell of Stardock says that heavy-handed DRM restrictions are backfiring and may be inadvertently driving consumers towards software piracy. He further states that publishers should apply a "Litmus Test" to their copy protection scheme. "Will it cause legitimate customers to feel like chumps for buying something when they could have downloaded a copy without restrictive DRM?". There is a section titled "SecuRom: OK to hate" that explains how SecuRom spys on the user. It closes with saying that there needs to be an environment that listens to consumer complaints and doesn't treat them like criminals.