FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
My primary concern with DRM is that consumers are being told they own a "product," but the rights to use the product can be taken away at any time for any reason. Examples include the music stores by Yahoo (Music Match) and MTV (urge) where services were shuttered and people who purchased digital music files were left without any reasonable way to use them. Would you buy a refrigerator that would turn itself off if the company didn't like the food you put in it? What about a TV that would stop working if the company that manufactured it went out of business? These are the kind of draconian limitations that DRM place on users of digital files. To add insult, the only thing DRM does is harm people who actually do the right thing and purchase digital content through authorized channels. Any P2P network or torrent tracker can pull just about anything one wants without the restrictions. It is in the public interest to limit the scope of DRM, if only to protect our culture and allow curiosity to advance the state of the art. People should be allowed to tinker with devices and make them do curious things they weren't designed to do. We shouldn't have to worry that a piece of hardware or software won't work 5 years from now because a server hundreds of miles away was unplugged. Enough is enough, DRM is harmful.