Friday, December 19, 2008

Experts debate: Is DRM good or bad for consumers?

COMPUTERWORLD ran a story about the FTC's discussion about the controversial DRM (digital rights management) technology possibly benefiting consumers because it could give them more choices for downloading or buying copyrighted content. Others on a panel discussion about new technology products are not convinced however.
Until DRM matured, consumers had control over how they used digital content, noted Deirdre Mulligan, director of the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, Law School. DRM is creating a "permission culture" where consumers have to ask the copyright owner's permission to play a piece of music on both a home computer and a car stereo, she said.

Until DRM, "there was a lot of breathing space in copyright law," she added.

In addition, many consumers don't understand DRM restrictions, and they're surprised when a CD that works on a home stereo can't be played somewhere else, she said. Vendors offer "little disclosure about how consumers can use" DRM-protected content, she said.

See full article at COMPUTERWORLD.