FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
DRM does not protect products against theft or piracy. It prevents legitimate users from accessing their lawfully-purchased product, making legitimate fair-use copies or backups of their products, transferring a legally-purchased product from one format to another for ease of use, or moving a legitimate copy of a product from one computer to another in the instance of hardware failure. The tools used in DRM are not impenetrable and in certain cases contain code that is harmful to the legitimate user's hardware. The very mention of these security failures is punished by threats of lawsuits and illegal detainment under a process called 'anticircumvention' - google RIAA v. Ed Felten and Adobe v. Dmitry Skylarov for two examples of this. Cory Doctorow said it better than I could: "..anticirumvention lets rightsholders ... write private laws without accountability or deliberation -- that expropriate your interest in your physical property to their favor." It's hurting commerce. I, personally, won't buy a DVD I can't play on my computer as well as my DVD player. I won't buy a game that insists on disabling any of my legitimate DVD burning software before I can play it, or games that I can't move from one computer to another in my own home. I won't buy CDs I can't rip to MP3s to play on my portable music player. I refuse to buy an iPod because I refuse to own something that demands I purchase my software and music through their store only and played in their format only. I believe in supporting the people who produce my entertainment. I prefer to buy legitimate products, however, once I've purchased the product, it is MINE to do with what I will, and the distributor's authority to dictate the hows and wheres and what I do with the product should end the minute money changes hands. If I knit a unique design of a scarf and sell the scarf, I do not retain the right to tell the person who purchased it what clothes they can wear it with, when they can wear it, and how many times they can wear it. It is my resentment against the media distributor's dictatorial treatment of free commerce that has caused a significant decline in the amount of goods I purchase - not piracy. I don't believe in supporting them at all, even by fostering interest in their product. I refuse to be treated like a criminal for purchasing a product that, by the time it's released in physical format, has already been hacked, cracked, ripped, burned, and made available on the internet for free. The only people being punished or affected by DRM are the people that actually BOUGHT the product. Thank you for listening.