FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
As the senior software support person for my company and part time programmer, piracy is a serious concern to myself and many others. Significant piracy of my company's software could jeopardize my income and financial future. However, DRM solutions such as Securom 7x are as wrong as the piracy they are suppose to be stopping. The software embeds itself in such a manner that wiping the pc clean is the only way the average consumer will be able to remove the software. Since the software needs unrestricted access to the internet, the software becomes and excellent tool for a hacker to gain control of the pc and forward personal information. Since DRM requires registering each time the software is reloaded, the company can restrict the number of times the software is installed by the user even when used in a lawful manner. Currently Electronic Arts is restricting the installation of its program Mirror's Edge to a maximum of three times. Please remember that the DRM is being used by cutting edge games being purchased by pc and gaming enthusiasts that perform regular upgrade to their computers. So it is not unreasonable for an enthusiast to reinstall their operating system and all software several times in one year either by choice or by performing upgrades that crashed their system. My largest pc has had the operating system and all software reloaded more than three times in the last 12 months due to hardware upgrades (new system board, two hard drive upgrades drive and several video card upgrades). While at least one of the upgrades would not have required re installation of the operating system and applications, it was my choice, not Electronic Arts to do so or not. Additionally, there is no guarantee to the consumer that when they reinstall the software the second time a year from now, that they will be able to activate it. Electronic Arts maybe out of business or simply chose not to allow the software to be activated. This is not right. The software was purchased, not rented or purchased for an annual fee. It is no different that going out to your garage in the morning, finding out that your two year old car wont start because it can not contact the manufacture because GM just went out of business. Sorry, your car is junk, please go by a new one. I have software that can not be activated for the same reason. I purchased the software and within a few months, the company went out of business. First time I reloaded the software, it will not run. Now I have a box and useless cdrom disk that I paid $149 a few months earlier. If Electronic Arts and others want to protect to the software and not deliver a working copy of the software to the consumer after they paid for, then let them go to an annual or quarterly purchase arrangement like the Anti-virus companies. They sell a one year subscription which is more of a guarantee of usability than provided by the companies using DRM. Because I know of the security risks inherent with DRM, I will never knowingly purchase any software that uses DRM. I would also happily support any class action lawsuit against any companies that choose to use DRM. Again, I depend of software sales for my income, but I also respect by customer's equipment and would never allow my software to jeopardize a clients computer security. Of course I deal with businesses that have lawyers. I do not sell to the unsuspecting public which do not not have in-house legal counsel.