FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
It is my personal belief that the current implementation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) is excessively restrictive and broken. While I don't have any official case studies, I do have personal experience. There's nothing special about me. I own an iPod. I own a Playstation Portable (PSP). I own a computer. I have a car stereo. I even have a cellphone that plays music. Lastly, I like music a lot. From what I've experienced, the implementation of DRM currently inhibits me, the original purchaser, from playing music and videos the way I want to. The way I want to use my media is on all available devices I own. I have no problem with the ideals behind DRM. I think that disabling media for a person who isn't the owner is perfectly legal and by no means at fault. The problem with our DRM is that something bought with one DRM won't work with another DRM authenticating device. For example, Apple DRM used in iTunes and on iPods will not work on Windows Media Player or WinAmp (which I use to put music on my phone and PSP). It also won't work in my car unless I play it directly from the iPod or burn an audio CD. That adds a level of inconvenience that is not necessary at all. I paid for the media so logically, I should be able to use it natively on any of my media playing devices. If there was a standardized method for encoding and authorizing DRM playback that was used in all DRM capable electronic devices, there are no fundamental flaws to it. This current implementation where different companies use different DRM methods places too many unnecessary limitations on the lawful owners of such media. DRM as it currently exists is a broken method for enforcing something that could otherwise be acceptable. DRM as it currently exists is not properly fulfilling it's true purpose and unless a person can play their DRMed media on any of their media players, I will say it has failed to fully realise the goals to which it was created. It should not be used.