FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies - Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle
The newest DRM trend in relation to video games is installation limits, whereby you are only permitted to install the video game a limited number of times. Unfortunately this absurdity is only the latest in a series of ever-broadening restrictions placed upon the legal, paying consumer. A number of points should be noted about these blatant and disgustingly anti-consumer practices: 1) People who illegally download these games are NOT subject to any of the DRM's restrictions. DRM is fully stripped from ''pirate'' copies of games that are freely, widely available on the internet. DRM is commonly and readily removed from these games by the pirate hackers who freely distribute them, thus, the ONLY people to suffer these restrictions are those who lack the technical knowledge to remove it. This point does not even touch upon the issues with legality. 2) Thus, as we can infer, DRM is explicitly -- despite the claims put forth by the publishers -- intended to restrict the rights of the paying consumer. DRM is almost entirely a matter of control over the consumer, it does virtually nothing to deter copyright infringement. 3) Installation limits are especially a scam. After the consumer pays full retail price for their video game, the publishing company then uses DRM to dictate how they may and may not use the product. Of course ''pirate'' copies are immune to such restrictions. While I can only speak for myself here, however, I personally STILL occasionally re-install and play video games from the early-to-mid 1990s. Some of these games I have re-installed dozens of times over the past 15 or so years. 4) This general form of DRM -- with or without installation limits -- entirely relies on the company's DRM servers to authenticate your copy. Internet trouble? Too bad for the consumer! Company's servers overloaded on launch day? Too bad! Traveling and cannot access the internet? Too bad! Company decides it's more economical to shut down DRM servers for old games? Too bad! Company has technical difficulties for possibly days on end? Too bad! Company simply goes out of business? Too bad! (Note: In relation to online music stores, such DRM servers HAVE been scheduled to be shut down for economical reasons, which would permanently prohibit access to legally-bought music. The consumer would have to repurchase the products!) 5) These forms of DRM also commonly forbid you to install various kinds of software. Some of this software CAN be used for pirating (e.g., DAEMON Tools), much in the way a simple hammer can be used to destroy, or build, or repair. However another piece of forbidden software, Process Explorer, is very commonly used by IT professionals or other advanced users, AND IS DISTRIBUTED BY MICROSOFT. ( http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx ). Yes, these companies have the audacity to dictate what software you are allowed to use on your own computer. Remember: So-called software ''pirates'' are IMMUNE to all of these restrictions. The supposed reason for all this DRM, these illegal downloaders?, they do not suffer from ANY of the restrictions that paying consumers are now being forced to tolerate.