FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM only serves to punish honest consumers and reward hackers and pirates. Piracy prevention measures are always cracked eventually and the prospect of a "DRM-Free" copy of a software package is just further incentive for people to pirate products they otherwise may have paid for. All too often DRM causes serious problems for legitimate users of software, in some cases it can even cause catastrophic software issues on the customer's personal computer. Also, DRM is gross invasion of personal privacy, there is much discussion nowadays of warrantless surveillance of American citizens and most reasonable people would agree that it is not only wrong, but also unconstitutional. If it is wrong and illegal for the government to invade a person's private property than it is just as wrong, and should be just as illegal, for a corporation to do so. Many DRM implementations invasively scan the customer's computer, often without seeking any sort of permission, this is wrong. In addition these scans often turn up false positives, or will not allow a consumer to use their purchased software if certain other legal software, used for a legal and legitimate purpose, is present. If I, as a consumer purchase a product, I should be able to use that product as I see fit, within the law, on any computer belonging to me. All too often, in the media industry, we see a mentality that the consumer has no rights over the product that they have purchased, which is rarely considered their property. This is wrong, copyright law is important for many reasons, but consumers should have a right to expect a product they have purchased to work properly and to use it as they see fit. I consider DRM to amount to nothing different than a Virus or piece of malicious code (malware). It is my belief that DRM is a violation of my privacy rights, morally wrong, often counterproductive, and should be banned. Failing this, a very clear, easy to see, explicit warning about the presence of DRM, it's action on the consumer's computer, and possible side effects, should be provided to the consumer before they purchase a DRM-laden product.