Nutritional Facts-style DRM

Over on Ars Technica, there’s an article about The Entertainment Consumers Association. Their stance on DRM is the following:

1. Digital Rights Management needs to be disclosed on the box.
2. End User Licensing Agreements need to be simple and standardized.

“We suggested a few things to the FTC, one of which was we’d like to see DRM disclosed,” Halpin started. “So when people go to the store and buy the packaged good, the PC game, they’ll see something on the front of the box saying there is DRM inside, and to what degree it will be invasive.” (From Ars Technica article)

Personally, I feel this is a step in the right direction (though, having NO DRM would suit me fine). Back when Sony had their rootkit fiasco a few years ago, I decided not to buy any of the affected CDs. There were several albums out back then I wanted to acquire, such as the then-new Van Zant album, “Get Right With The Man.” How many more decided to hold of purchasing albums because of that is unknown.

As for featuring DRM information on the box, some companies do that to some extent. Every piece of software released via Valve’s Steam service (or uses it when it installs from CD/DVD) has DRM on it that makes it so you cannot play the game unless you’re online, which hampered my playing of Half Life due to my internet connection being 28.8kbps via the phone lines at the time. After that, I didn’t buy another game using Steam.

Another version of DRM I’ve personally encountered was found on the box for “American McGee Presents: Bad Day LA” and while I have yet to install it, it does say on the back of the box, “Notice: This game contains technology intended to prevent copying that may conflict with some disk and virtual disk drives.”

The rest of my games do not mention such directives.

The ECA’s official website.


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