FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
Speaking as a creator and someone who believes credit and fair compensation for one's work are extremely important, I strongly OPPOSE digital rights management technologies. Not only is there tremendous potential for abuse and the erosion of fair use rights, DRM also cripples technology and innovation. We're already seeing corporations weilding DRM laws to deny people their rights and force behavior that benefits them rather than the public as a whole, and that will only get worse as time goes on. In their lust to control how people use their products, DRM-favoring corporations will have to pursue an endless, futile, and destructive quest: first our computers must be DRM-compliant, then our media players, then our televisions, our speakers and headphones, our microphones and cameras. Every part of the chain will have to be crippled by digital Thought Police systems to monitor every signal and ensure "compliant" use, strangling innovation, reducing performance, and interfering with more and more legitimate creative uses until we all begin to look like Harrison Bergeron. Furthermore, the fear that drives this is irrational and pointless. Sheet music companies opposed player pianos, record publishers opposed the radio, movie studios opposed television and VCRs and cable TV, the RIAA opposed mp3s - again and again throughout history the corporations who control the means of creative communication have opposed new technologies that made possible new media and new sources of revenue, and in every single case they have been dead wrong. DRM is a dead end, a destructive idea, and a failure of imagination.