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Federal Trade Commission looks at DRM

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) looks toward the Privacy Professional community for a town hall workshop discussion of the Digital Rights Management (DRM).  The FTC will accept comments and research until February 9th, 2009.

This may have something to do with WalMart, Yahoo and Microsoft’s music services threatening pulling the plug on their DRM servers.  Customers purchasing a good (digital music) with known limitations of use (no mp3/music file copying) and no expiration date suddenly were told their investments would be worthless.  This seems perfectly in line with the announced purpose: “improve disclosures to consumers about DRM limitations”.

As a CIPP, privacy professionals should understand the FTC’s Congressionally appointed powers under the FTC Act to protect consumers, enforcing corporate promises on matters such as privacy and suitability of purpose through Section 5 of the Act.  The FTC typically brings action against unruly corporations under deceptive trade practices, with a variety of fines, process controls and reporting requirements.

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