FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle #539814-00636

Submission Number:
Nathan Beauchamp
Initiative Name:
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM (Digital Rights Management) is destroying my consumer rights. It is unethical to install programs that run in the background of my computer, have administrative privileges, and send encoded messages back to their creators about my specific hardware/software. Such is the case with Securom 7x which installs itself with many PC games (including all of the newer releases by EA). This should be made illegal, especially because game buyers have no option to return the game after opening the package. Only in the EULA available upon inserting the disk (and sometimes not even there!) does the full spectrum of the DRMs intrusiveness become apparent. Teh game is rendered nonreturnable in the process, and unplayable if the buyer does not want the DRM installed on the computer. Another major issue with DRM is that it limits ones ability to resell their copy of a game. DRM creatives a defective market where games once played are highly suspect, do they have any installations left or not? This conceptually violates the doctrine of First Sale. DRM cannot and will not protect companies from piracy. That has been proven in the last 6-months as game after game with DRM has been cracked immediately by pirates. Pirates are dishonest by nature, skilled at hacking, and much more creative than game designers or the makers of DRM. Essentially DRM only affects those who are honest and willing to purchase the game. It hurts guys like me who are unwilling to give into the temptation of free, superior DRM free versions available on torrent sites. DRM is about control. Control for companies of information, control of the number of installations, and control to make a market place where 'pay to play' is the norm. It used to be that you could buy a game and then play it for years. For as long as you liked. Now, unless you get a cracked pirated version, that is no longer the case. This is simply unacceptable. As companies like Apple and their itunes store have moved away from DRM (or Amazon.com which sells only DRM free music) they have have shown themselves to be just as lucrative as they were when selling DRM infected files. DRM does not benefit anyone. It is an annoyance at best and a means to jeopardize consumers' computers at worst. Simply stated, DRM should not be implemented in ways that limit a consumer's rights to fairly use the content they have purchased. This is very much about the little guy vs. the big guy. Music produces, game manufacturers, development companies and their like have all the money in the world to hire lawyers and lobbyists to push their agenda. Guys like me only have the FTC. Thanks so much for looking into this and for making a town hall meeting a reality. It is nice to know that at least someone in government has an open ear to listed to the end users (consumers). I sincerely appreciate the time taken to read my comments. Nathan M. Beauchamp