FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle #539814-00795

Submission Number:
E. Mapstead
Initiative Name:
FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
Hello, Digital Rights Management (DRM) would be more correctly written as Digital Control Management. DRM technologies are snake oil sold to companies who irrationally fear losing control of their works. DRM is used by these companies to assert more control and "rights" over their works than is granted to them by copyright law for no other purpose other than to assuage their unfounded fears. DRM relies on numerous faulty technologies like phoning home to the parent company over the internet, timing out at a certain date, and downloading digital keys from parent company servers which may (and have) go offline at a later date rendering the work (which has been lawfully purchased) inaccessible. The snake oil DRM technologies do not stop illegitimate users from accessing works if they are so determined. DRM snake oil harms normal businesses and consumers who lawfully purchase works by brokenly restricting access to works they have legally obtained. There are numerous examples of this from Adobe and Amazon eBooks to Macrovision and Microsoft software to Sony and BMG music CDs to Ubisoft and EA video games. One need only do a search on the web for "broken DRM" to be bombarded with hundreds of cases of DRM gone awry. DRM has kept legitimate purchasers of works from accessing material which has been legally purchased. Some examples of such can see seen in a variety of venues. People who are blind use special software to read digital books. In some DRM restricted eBooks they are unable to read the books they have legitimately purchased. Some video games (Spore) and operating system software (Windows Vista) lock users out after X number of uses. This creates huge headaches and lost productivity for users and the companies that deploy these broken DRM schemes. I personally have opted to not buy or have anything to do with the video game Spore (a $50 value) because of it's use of snake oil DRM technologies. If DRM snake oil had not been deployed with the Spore video game I would have gladly purchased it. Even the Spore: Creature Creator Demo (which I did purchase) was apparently infected with DRM which is probably slowing down my computer at this very minute. The copyright pact with citizens guarantees that at some point the work will revert to the public domain to spur the creation of more works. DRM exerts more control and rights than are granted by copyright law and in most cases hinders the reversion to public domain from occurring. DRM has an adverse effect on the economy due to wasted man hours both in deploying and dealing with the fallout from broken DRM schemes. I urge you to take action to mitigate the overreaching control that companies exert on our past and future culture using failed snake oil DRM technologies. Thank You, E. Mapstead