UK watchdog questions DRM

By Derek Sooman on January 16, 2006, 7:03 PM
In the UK, government watchdogs have decided that they are none too keen on Digital Rights Management, and how it is being forced onto consumers. The recent case of the Sony DRM fiasco, where a rootkit was installed on user's machine that had purchased Sony music CDs has highlighted the potential problems with implementing this technology in any way that is fair to consumers. Now, in the UK, the National Consumer Council (NCC) is calling for new laws to better protect consumer rights when it comes to enjoying digital content.

"Because of the current situation, consumers face security risks to their equipment, limitations on their use of products, poor information when purchasing products and unfair contract terms," declared Jill Johnstone, Director of Policy at NCC.

To make its voice heard, the NCC has made a submission to MPs on The All Party Internet Group inquiry into Digital Rights Management.

User Comments: 11

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vigilante said:
About time a big boy stepped up and challenged this stuff.The more they force all their restrictions and monitors, the more people will finds ways to get the stuff "free and clear", so to speak.I hope it turns out in favor of the consumer. We'll see.
cyrax said:
I completely agree. Its high time someone came in to reign the horses. Sony will now feel the collective fury of legal customers.
Need_a_Dell said:
Good for them. What we do with our purchases should be completely up to the consumer, not the producer. Instead of discouraging the use of digital content, they should find a way to embrace it. One step towards this harmony was within the support of the now common online digital music retailers. (ie. iTunes,, etc.) With more user friendly advancements such as this, both consumer and producer can once again be happy with the balance in the world.
Race said:
Outstanding!! Some potentially good news for the consumer.Perhaps it took something like the Sony incident to bring full attention to this very important subject.Hopefully something positive results from it.I urge anyone concerned about DRM to read the submission from the NCC, if you haven't already.[url]
Eko said:
Let's face it: the industry moguls are much too greedy to renounce at their money in favor of the customer. The only way to reduce the piracy is, in my opinion, to cut the prices of the music and films in half. Maybe than, the people will start buying their legal stuff. But to buy a crappy album for a whole bunch of money, of a promoted MTV starlette(who can't even play live!) just because the marketing is pushing me -that's outrageous.DRM is trying too hard. And it's failing. GOOD.
Masque said:
I'm not really sure how much good groups like these can do against large companies living off the fruits of the DRM. Most governments are currently behind the big companies (with much fatter wallets). This is going to be a wait-and-see issue IMO.
asphix said:
I hope these ideas and this mentality trickles over to the US. These are the sorts of things I like to see!
Mictlantecuhtli said:
I hope this would have at least some kind of effect on HDCP. You've heard about it, new monitors, and upcoming operating systems?
Cartz said:
No matter what happens here, the industries that are being attacked by digital piracy are going to continue trying to protect their products.I find it funny, and a little ironic, that people are so up in arms about DRM and treat it like they're the victims. I understand that many law abidding consumers are effected by this DRM fiasco, but the reality is, that most of the people that are so upset about DRM are at the root of the problem.There was no such thing as DRM until content became so widely pirated on the web. Napster, Kazaa, Limewire, Bittorrent... everyone has used it at one point or another, and has likely stolen something from these companies. Now these companies turn to defend their products from us pirates using DRM, and we cry foul. How deliciously ironic!Don't get me wrong, I'm against DRM if it is implemented the way Sony chose to do so the first time around. But if they can find something that allows them to protect their product, whilest giving the paying customer full access and rights to use it. More power to them, they have every right, and my full support, to do so.
MonkeyMan said:
Well, at least the NCC is thinking in the best interest of consumers. On the other hand, I think that laws in the UK, as well as the US are going to be a little more stricter because of this incident.
mentaljedi said:
About time. At least somebody cares about our rites! I mean where else would we be without the data protection act?
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