FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
My home computer is my personal property. When I purchase software, I expect to get a working product for my money. When publishers bundle their software with mandatory DRM, and the product does not work, I have no way of knowing whether the actual product is faulty or the DRM has prevented it from functioning. Additionally, almost no vendors accept returns on opened software, so I'm left without recourse. Some DRM is deliberately incompatible with virtual drive software and system tools for monitoring memory and services, both of which have many legitimate and legal uses. I expect these sorts of limitations from an operating system, which relies a specific kernel and hardware drivers, but not from software running *within* the OS. In that sense, publishers seek to elevate their DRM to the same operational level as Microsoft Windows. I see no justification for that, I would not intentionally purchase software that competes with my primary OS for control of my PC. A publisher's fear of piracy is not sufficient to hinder my legal use of unrelated software, let alone destabilize the machine I use for entertainment, paying bills, and writing term papers. I've experience these problems primarily with the Electronic Arts game "Mass Effect". The game periodically causes my whole system to "lock up", and cuts the entire signal to my screen. It leaves me with no option but a hard reboot, which can cause data loss in mechanical hard drives. I've checked for patches, updates, and other tools to remove EA's DRM or manage system integrity, but they have provided nothing. I have no way to enjoy the product I legally purchased, no way to determine whether my problem is a game bug or the fault of DRM, and no way to receive a refund. Please oversee this issue and ensure that customers have freedom from DRM.