Tell the FTC your thoughts on DRM and EULAs


Here's another opportunity for you to get the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to hear your thoughts on digital rights management (DRM) and now end-user license agreements (EULAs), courtesy of the fabulous Entertainment Consumers Association.

The short version of it is if you would like less restrictions (some very invasive) on your PC games, and would like to actually own them instead of buying a license for them upon purchasing, then you should tell the FTC these things and explain why you feel this way. If you don't play PC games but feel this way about other media such as DVDs and music, I still recommend contacting them as I expect a ripple effect should the FTC facilitate change with these forums. You can do so with this link.

Here is the message I sent, if you care to read:

"Obviously I understand why publishers would want to protect their games, and to some extent (serial keys, disk checks, etc.) I've been fine with this for ages. But online activation, invasive products like SecuROM, and limited installs are just plain insulting and disrespectful to anyone who plays games seriously (upgrades their hardware/formats regularly, for example), and are certainly bound to even hurt at least some "casual" gamers. And to the publishers who feel gamers who, upon running out of activations/installations should re-buy the game -- you obviously don't play games. Please listen to your customers and incorporate what they have to say in your methods or leave the industry.

Actual investigations from developers [1,2] (whom I respect for actually looking into this) and outlets like Tweakguides show there's no real effect on sales whether DRM is included or not, so I'm not sure where this kneejerk reaction comes from. It's very disconcerting. As a gamer, I avoid anything with DRM beyond disk checks, serial keys, and disk protection. Ideally, we'd be forever free even of those methods, but I'm willing to compromise. I also go out of my way to buy games that do not have DRM, some of which I normally wouldn't have bought. Not in all cases as I'm on a budget like anyone, but certainly some, and I'm very happy to do this.

Logos and such on the front of game boxes for DRM implementations should be mandatory. I'm shocked they aren't already -- this says to me developers, in most cases, know they're doing something they shouldn't be. If it's so perfectly fine, why aren't you open about it?

EULAs are long outdated, and yes, should be uniform -- this would solve the problem of customers not knowing what they're buying and would also put everyone's minds at ease. The part of course which is of particular concern is "owning" vs. "licensing". This language desperately needs to be revised -- of course no one is asking for the licensing rights for a game when they purchase it, but they are asking to own it, as they are for anything else in life they buy. The creation itself forever belongs to the creator, but copies of said creation, sold to the public, belong to the public, and the new standard EULA should definitely reflect this.

Thank you for your time and for choosing to listen to the public on these issues. I hope together we manage to find a means by which to make at least most people in the gaming industry happy on these matters."


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