FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
Whenver I buy a music CD, DVD movie, or software I like to be able to make a backup copy of it. I don't see why I should be forced to shell out good money for a new copy if I happen to damage or lose the original medium. Title 17, chapter 1, § 117 of the US Code explicitly gives me the right to make such archival copies. However the DRM in many newer software products, movies, etc. makes it very difficult to make these legal archival copies. People like me are forced to either buy software that bypasses this DRM or find other ways to circumvent the DRM if we want to make these legal archival copies. I have actually reduced the number of DVD's and software packages that I buy simply because I am fed up with the DRM and the restrictions and problems it imposes. I have encountered DRM that has prevented movies from playing on DVD players or software from running properly on computers. I have made a conscious decision to avoid buying DRM-laden products because I have no idea if it will work when I attempt to use it, and many companies are reluctant to accept opened DVD's or software products for returns. DRM is also a wasted effort. In order for it to work the end user must be provided not only the media but the keys to unlock that media. The might of people throughout the world demonstrates the futility of DRM. Apple's iPhone uses DRM in many ways, and yet the DRM has been defeated and so-called "jailbroken" phones run many applications that Apple otherwise would not allow. Analysts claimed that the DRM technology in Sony's Blu-Ray high definition DVD's would be uncrackable for at least 10 years, but a company called Slysoft broke it in under a year, giving people their legal right to back up those DVD's instead of buying new ones if they are damaged or lost. As long as DRM exists large portions of the global community will continue to find ways to dismantle it. It is a losing battle, as the Blu-Ray DRM and subsequent rapid cracking of the DRM demonstrates.