The government has rejected calls for a ban on digital rights management (DRM) technologies for digital content.
Campaigners against DRM technology started a petition on the Downing Street e-petition site, demanding that it be banned, as it limited consumer use of purchased digital content and locked users into particular playback platforms.
Over 1,400 people signed the petition in support, but Downing Street has rejected the call, defending the rights of content providers to use the technology.
The Downing Street response to the petition said, “Many content providers have been embedding access and management tools to protect their rights and, for example, prevent illegal copying.
“We believe that they should be able to continue to protect their content in this way. However, DRM does not only act as a policeman through technical protection measures, it also enables content companies to offer the consumer unprecedented choice in terms of how they consume content, and the corresponding price they wish to pay.”
The government said it was, however, sensitive to consumer concerns about DRM restrictions that users are not informed about prior to buying content.
It said, “The needs and rights of consumers must also be carefully safeguarded. It is reasonable for consumers to be informed what is actually being offered for sale, for example, and how and where the purchaser will be able to use the product, and any restrictions applied.
“While there is good reason to expect the market to reach a balance as these new markets develop, it is important that consumers' interests are maintained in the meantime.”
Sony attracted a wave of negative publicity when it was found it had embedded its music CDs with DRM software that prevented their wider use, without informing customers.
It was found that the DRM software left a backdoor on PCs for potential hackers when the CDs were played on a computer.
The company recently settled out of court with the US government over the fiasco, which included having to shell out millions of dollars in compensation to consumers.
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