San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today to mitigate the damage that digital rights management (DRM) technologies cause consumers.

In public comments submitted to the FTC today, EFF explained how DRM, backed by the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), impedes innovation and thwarts consumers' rights to make full use of their digital music, movies, software, and videogames. EFF urged the commission to study DRM's effect on competition in the marketplace, investigate whether the effects of DRM are fully disclosed to consumers, and promote a set of "Best Practices" that, if followed, would help alleviate the burdens of DRM for consumers.

Industry leaders argue that DRM is necessary to protect sales of digital media, but DRM systems are consistently and routinely broken almost immediately upon their introduction.

"DRM does not prevent piracy," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "At this point, DRM seems intended to accomplish a very different purpose: giving some industry leaders unprecedented power to influence the pace and nature of innovation and upsetting the traditional balance between the interests of copyright owners and the interests of the public. The best way to fix the problem is to get rid of DRM on consumer products and reform the DMCA, but the steps we're suggesting will help protect technology users and future technology innovation in the meantime."

EFF's comments were filed in conjunction with the FTC's Town Hall on DRM, set for March 25 in Seattle. The Town Hall is free and open to the public.

For EFF's full comments to the FTC:

For more on the FTC Town Hall on DRM:


Corynne McSherry
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation

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