FTC warns vendors who use DRM to disclose limits

By Justin Mann on March 25, 2009, 4:57 PM
Many people have been anticipating this week, which marked the start of long-awaited conference on DRM with the FTC. Advocates for such copy protection schemes as well as opponents have come to petition the commission, to try and sway them one way or the other about what is an acceptable way to provide service. While the FTC specifically mentioned that it would not be taking sides, there was a very curious opening statement by Acting Deputy Director Mary Engle, who referenced certain DRM problems in the past.

In short, she warned that vendors must provide users information about any DRM they use in advance, disclosing the limits it places on products. Without mentioning any specific actions they would take, she only mentioned that the FTC would “come calling” if vendors fail to comply. The conference just begun, but has already seen this and many other very interesting statements being made from both sides of the fence. Whatever happens, this will be a important development fot DRM technology.

User Comments: 7

Got something to say? Post a comment
tengeta said:
If your car comes with a computer that controls the maximum speed of the vehicle to prevent you from using your car the way you want and it has to inform you of that, then why can't game developers and music/movie producers be held to the same standard?It would likely end a lot of issues with DRM, mostly because if the restrictions listed are too annoying no one will buy it. Bye EA!
burty117 said:
I hate DRM, I buy my games, I don't want them to come with a limited number of times I can install it as I build computers all the time. If I build a computer and keep it, its then classed as a new computer and I cannot install things like crysis warhead more than 5 times and i'm on my forth already.
Rick said:
Part of the problem is just the way licenses work. It should be one per household, not one per computer... IMO. There's no reason for me to buy 2 license for Office - one for my laptop and one for my desktop. I mean, I already own the damned software...
viperpfl said:
This is why DRM in it's current form is such a evil thing to use. DRM went from unlawful copying of a companies product to limiting what a paying customer can do with that product or how the product is used. It is even going so far that you can't even give a bad review of a product without violating a copyright. I can go as far as to say that DRM is anti competitive. The DRM abuses are astounding but nothing is done because we all live with it.
JDoors said:
"Acting Deputy Director Mary Engle ... warned that vendors must provide users information about any DRM they use in advance, disclosing the limits it places on products."ENTIRELY reasonable. Is there even an argument against this? Let's just hope they don't bury the information in legalese similar to EULAs.
dickdowning said:
Don't look for the FTC to take any significant action. The recording industry contributed to much money to the current administrations political campaigns for the current crew at the FTC to be allowed to upset them.
Appzalien said:
I would love it if games at the local Best Buy had SECUROM in big yellow letters across the front of the box. But lets face it, if this does goes anywhere, the word securom would be in letters so tiny that you would need an electron microscope to see them. These days fine print is more like microscopic print. I know my eyes are not what they used to be, but is so obvious that what they want me to see is clearly visible, and what they don't want me to see I can't see even with my reading glasses, I literally need to carry a magnifying glass. Besides, no company that uses drm solutions like securom wants to advertise it, they already have a user base nightmare on their hands. I haven't bought a Securom game since BioShock, and that one I only found out after I opened the game.
Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.