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Digital Rights Management, End Users, and the FTC


Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Town Hall / Conference on DRM

Given how complex EULAs are (to the tune of whatever EULA wants, EULA gets), we don’t get enough questions about them from the public. (Librarians are always agonzing over them, law abiding souls that we are.)

Also, Ars Technica has this interesting post about real-people reactions to DRM:

Some excerpts: “… And just stuffing the disclosure into the fine print of an End User License Agreement (EULA) isn’t good enough. “If your advertising giveth and your EULA taketh away,” she said, “don’t be surprised if the FTC comes calling.”

She stressed that it was not permissible for companies to play Lucy to consumers’ Charlie Brown, holding the football and promising that this time she won’t yank it away at the last minute. Promising “if you buy our DRM downloads, we won’t shut down the authentication serves this time,” she said, wasn’t enough….

Besides, “DRM technologies are for the most part transparent,” Attaway added, pointing to DVDs as his example. DVDs just work; no one has to think about DRM, it gets out of the way and allows people to enjoy films while preventing them from making a copy for everyone on the block….
… This brought an almost incredulous response from Jason Schultz, who heads the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic at UC-Berkeley. Consumers certainly are befuddled and angered by DRM, even the relatively tame version found on DVDs, he said
“ (link to full post)

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