FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM, from a technical perspective, does not limit piracy. Millions, if not billions of dollars are spent by companies large and small to prevent piracy, and the net result is that legitimate customers must jump through hoops, while software "pirates" can bypass these hoops. In at least two instances in 2008, the solution that was initially pushed by software companies to fix "piracy prevention" features in their own software was to distribute software "cracks" developed by pirates to bypass copy mechanisms. DRM hinders legitimate industry and exposes computers to dangerous exploits. From a trade perspective, DRM is unreasonable, I recently bought a computer game that was "protected" by DRM, and it refused to run as long as I had a DVD drive emulator installed, which I constantly use when developing my own software. I could not afford to simply remove a critical tool for my own development, and I could not return the game because I had already opened it. The fact that the game would not work on my computer unless I made significant system changes was not disclosed to me on the packaging. If the FTC cannot mandate that DRM be removed, it at least needs to work to change the current law that an opened software title cannot be returned. Considering that a significant amount of pirated software hits the internet before it can even be legally purchased, allowing consumers to return software when it has been intentionally hobbled to not work on their machines is the only other reasonable solution.