FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM is an acceptable form of copy protection in some circumstances, but above all it must not be invasive. DRM in the form of invisible programs installing themselves on your computer and reporting home is unacceptable, but integrated into the application and doing the same or being visible and potentially turned off while not using the protected software is acceptable in my mind. DRM software that limits installations or number of copies to a fixed number is unacceptable, once purchased software should have the same rights as physical property for a single user. While limiting these aspects could potentially limit piracy, they have significant negative effects on the rightful end user and destroy any legitimate resale value. In a similar vein, DRM software that limits the number of copies or installations in use at once is acceptable. DRM requiring proprietary software or hardware is somewhere in limbo, but in its current state is mostly acceptable. I think building hardware for the sole purpose of DRM content protection and severely limiting the hardware which either predates the addition or was built without the part (especially out of price concerns) should be discouraged, but is not illegitimate. This can work well on exclusively proprietary systems, and if the hardware is affordable can integrate into the market well. Software is generally more acceptable, but it should be kept both transparent and minimally invasive. Ideally, software required to use some content should not run in the background in all times and should not disable or change other software running along with it. Good DRM, DRM which is not invasive, will not provoke piracy, and that bad DRM does provoke it. I do not condone piracy in any form, but I think that invasive forms of DRM are encouraging piracy and furthering it along while other forms are not instigating piracy against themselves. With clear piracy education and noninvasive DRM, I think piracy will decline. Many people purchase all of their content legitimately and should not be penalized for the people who do not, but the people who pirate will have fewer reasons to do so if the content is both available and not protected in invasive ways.