ECA Launches Digital Rights Group

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has debuted a new online presence aimed at educating consumers about such issues as digital content distribution, license agreements, virtual property and piracy.

The Gamers for Digital Rights web presence includes a glossary of terms and concepts, a Facebook Group and the ability to sign—and comment on—a DRM and End User Licensing Agreements (EULAs) petition to the FTC.

Jennifer Mercurio, ECA Vice President and General Counsel, added:

The importance of this issue is mounting, as we move from a packaged goods model, where we own what we buy, to a digitally-distributed model, where we may have a license for what we buy.

As part of its drive into the issue, the ECA also announced the hiring of Robert L. (“Beau”) Hunter, IV as Digital Rights Consultant. Hunter joins the ECA after serving as Manager for IP Enforcement with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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  1. 0
    Pixelantes Anonymous says:


    It’s opinions exactly like yours why something like this is important.

    The real problem FROM A CONSUMER’S VIEWPOINT is not piracy. It’s not hurting me in any way. For every developer or publisher that goes under because of piracy, there’re 5 to take their place. I’m not hurting. If anything I’m benefitting from it by being able to buy products with lower prices.

    The real problem FOR ME is DRM, EULAs, overly limiting licensing terms, digital distribution with no resale rights, buying products so riddled with bugs that they’re unusable, paying for manuals (or "strategy guides"), and on and on.

    As a consumer I don’t give a **** about piracy.

    Now, if I was a shareholder, employee or a lobbyist of a content producer, then maybe I would be concerned about piracy. But I’m not.

    Damn. You really think consumers have no rights? Jesus.

  2. 0
    Gaming Observer says:

    Brett, this is not a chicken and the egg scenario.  Piracy predates DRM.  That is an indisputable fact.

    DRM is also never a justification for piracy.  Just so we’re clear.  If you’re going to make suggestions about "intrusive DRM", you should be fair enough to point out that theft is never an appropriate response.  Its the height of stupidity that people complaining about DRM would do something that perpetuates its use in turn.

    Please, if you’re going to make this much of a stink about consumer rights, you should be bold enough to focus on the actual culprit, which isn’t game companies.


  3. 0
    Brett Schenker says:

    Thanks for the feedback.  What you’re arguing is a chicken and egg situation, does DRM lead to piracy, or has piracy created the need for DRM?  It has been argued numerous times that DRM actually leads to increased piracy.  The case of Spore is an example of intrusive DRM leading to piracy,

    “If you don’t like the licensing agreement or the DRM, don’t buy the game.”

    The problem with that statement is people most often don’t know the steps that a publisher has gone to in order to protect a game, so gamers also don’t know how it’ll affect their gaming rig or their game performance.  Further, most consumers don’t know what DRM really is, let alone know how it affects them.  Through Gamers for Digital Rights, the ECA will try and make this whole process not only more transparent, but also understandable to the general public.  The goal here is to let consumers know what their rights are, where publishers are coming from, why these issues exist and where they came from, and then letting the consumer make an educated and informed decision on how they want to obtain and play their choice of games.

    It depends where you’re coming from as to what the problem is: piracy affects content creators; intrusive DRM threatens the functioning of a consumer’s computer.  This is an honest and valid concern for consumers.  Educating the public about how and why content protection was developed, what consumers can do to protect themselves, where the concerns may be in the future…  all of these topics will be addressed in the Gamers for Digital Rights initiative we’ve launched.

    The ECA will empower consumers facts, studies, information around gamers’ digital rights, content protection, and other related topics.  As Francis Bacon once quoted, "knowledge is power."

    Brett Schenker

    Online Advocacy Manager

    the ECA

  4. 0
    Gaming Observer says:

    The notion of "consumer rights" in the context of entertainment products is itself a complete oxymoron.

    The only right the consumer has is to buy, or not buy.  They do not have the right to insist upon or control the means through which products, or product licenses, are delivered to them, other than the former suggestion.  If you don’t like the licensing agreement or the DRM, don’t buy the game.  Pretty simple.

    They certainly have a right to recourse in the event of fraud or deceit, but that’s not the issue here.

    Its interesting that consumer advocacy groups like the ECA are working this hard to address DRM issues, but make no comperable effort to address piracy.  They’ll acknowledge that piracy exists, but they don’t fight it, nor do they seem to give enough attention to the fact that piracy – not consumer rights or a desire to inhibit them – is the root cause of this issue and the more important problem to address.

    It’s depressing that in this case, the apparent attitude of the ECA is to ignore the real problem and simply complain about the inconvenience of symptoms.

    Not very helpful.


  5. 0
    Gaming Observer says:

    If, by raping you in the ass, you mean forcing you to pay for media instead of stealing it – which you seem to prefer – than I fear you’re doomed to the dark ages forever.

  6. 0
    King of Fiji says:

    Yes and we digitally stream our hot dogs over the internet.  We have evolved beyond the need for a physical media format for our hot dogs.


    Get with the times.  😛  E-dogs.

  7. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    I am not a store or retail seller I don;t need to know what a license is, anything I buy is something I can own and can give away. Of coarse the digital stuff tends to be connected to a account its more diffcult to give away or sale but not imposable, either the system wakes up and starts catering to the public or the public will ignore them as much as possible. NEXT!

    PS:DRM=suck it down, copy right? come back when you have something that protects everyone not just the top 30% from being forced to sale stuff at real market value.




    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!!

  8. 0
    Brett Schenker says:

    This is about educating consumers about where things stand right now and learn more about their legal rights and understand more about issues in the world of video games, such as digital content distribution, license agreements, virtual property, and video game piracy.  There are numerous misconceptions as to what consumers actually own when they purchase video games and what their rights are.

    As covered in previous articles here on GamePolitics, when the FTC recently asked for input on the subject of DRM and EULA’s the ECA stepped up and attended their Seattle meeting stating:

    "Over the past year we have witnessed a growing concern from gamers about the issues of increasingly invasive Digital Rights Management (DRM) and End User Licensing Agreements (EULAs). While we respect the careful balance that must exist between the content community and the customer, and agree that piracy is an ever-present challenge for the trade, it is also becoming evident that consumer rights are being diminished in the process…

    The law, in the area of EULAs in particular, is not as clear as it once was. And the software industry’s potential side-stepping of the First Sale Doctrine’s protections – by terming their products as “licensed” rather than “sold” – leaves us concerned about the future of interactive entertainment, generally…"

    Brett Schenker

    Online Advocacy Manager

    the ECA

  9. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    Sorry but if I’m forking money over for something, I damn well better own it. This strikes me as something aimed at bringing consumers round to the corporations way of thinking and I completely disapprove.

    "Hunter joins the ECA after serving as Manager for IP Enforcement with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA)."

    This says more than than their press relase in my opinion.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  10. 0
    Gaming Observer says:

    Will this include an effort to educate/encourage consumers away from piracy?

    I sure hope that consumer advocacy toward issues like digital rights management doesn’t ignore why it exists and what consumers can do to help solve the problem.

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