Articles Tagged: Consumer Rights

The FTC on DRM: Fighting for Consumers or Making Toothless Threats?

The moment digital media consumers have long waited for finally came this week as the FTC held a Town Hall meeting to discuss issues surrounding the use of DRM technologies.

From the beginning it was clear the FTC has heard consumer complaints about DRM related issues and takes the matter seriously. What wasn’t clear is what, exactly, the FTC is prepared to do to ensure that consumers get what they pay for when they purchase digital media products.

Mary K. Engle, Acting Deputy Directory for the Bureau of Consumer Protections, opened the workshop with some tough words for companies selling DRM protected media products, warning, “If your advertising giveth and your EULA taketh away, don’t be surprised if the FTC comes calling.” Further, Engle noted that consumer distrust over DRM makes for an unhealthy marketplace. (more…)

Live from the FTC DRM Town Hall Meeting

Medialoper is live at the FTC Town Hall meeting in Seattle today. Follow our live updates on Twitter and listen along at home on the live webcast.

Open Letter to the FTC — My DRM Town Hall Comments

At long last the Federal Trade Commission is taking a serious look at DRM and the impact the technology is having on consumers. The Commission has scheduled a Town Hall meeting in Seattle on March 25th.

The FTC is soliciting public comments until the end of the month. I’ve already submitted my comments, and I encourage all Medialoper readers to do the same. You can submit your comments online until January 30, 2009.

While no one can doubt the importance of protecting the intellectual property rights of copyright holders, it is equally important to protect the rights of consumers. Unfortunately, where DRM is concerned, consumers have no rights.


Digital Content in an Ownership Society

I’ve been collecting media in one form or another since I was old enough to recognize Beatles ’65 at the White Front department store in Fresno, California. That was around 1966. I was three, and it was a very bad day for my mother.

In the years since, I watched my LP and 45 collection explode, only to be replaced by CDs, and finally to be morphed into a vast field of bits on a relatively small network storage device. Bits that I dutifully back up, maintain, and curate.

I spend more time fixing faulty ID3 tags than I care to admit. And I’m constantly annoyed when album art mysteriously goes missing (am I the only person having this problem with iTunes?).

There’s a point where it might just be easier to chuck it all and consider subscribing to one of those all-you-can-eat music services. That’s certainly what the RIAA would like me to do.


Customer Service Through Litigation: The RIAA Institutionalizes Its Business Model

I admit to being a bit old-fashioned, but in my mind, good customer service rarely involves suing your customers. But, for the past several years, that’s just what the RIAA has done. Nothing creates a warm and fuzzy feeling about an industry faster than threats. Makes you feel wanted.

Illegal downloads are a problem. I maintain — because frankly, the RIAA has offered nothing in the way of hard evidence — that the amount of money being lost is quite a bit less than what the press releases suggest. I believe this simply because every download does not represent a lost sale. In many cases, the songs would have gone unsold, unheard, unnoticed.