It is hardly justifiable for the government to make something illegal just because consumers don’t like it. The free market is based on mutual agreements between consumer and merchant, and DRM is not outside of that realm of mutual agreement.
Let’s take perhaps the most well-known example of DRM today: iTunes store restrictions. I doubt many consumers are particularly thrilled that iTunes restricts the use of a song that they buy. But anyone who buys a song off iTunes clearly does not do so under threat of death — they freely agree to these restrictions when alternative options certainly exist.
The argument was made during the debate that DVDs operate with proprietary technology, so that only select members of a certain DVD “conspiracy” can make DVD players, restricting competition just as a monopoly does. In the end, though, the monopoly argument fails because we are talking about non-essential items — that is, if I think the Spiderman 3 DVD is too expensive, then either I suck it up and pay the exorbitant price, or I catch the movie on FOX in a few years. I don’t need Spiderman 3 to breathe. This is not U.S. Steel. Quite simply, it is not the government’s responsibility to guarantee the consumer whatever goods he wants at whatever prices he wants.
It has been suggested that buying a file suggests ownership, and all of the property rights that come with it. These rights, however, can be waived if there is an agreement between the user and merchant to waive them. Simply put, you do not own a file that you buy if it has DRM. I can pay for a car or a DVD and do whatever I want with it, but there are obvious restrictions if I lease the car, or rent the DVD at Blockbuster. It is very important to look at buying a file with DRM as essentially leasing the file, and our hang-up over property rights violations disappears.
In the end, if Richard Stallman feels his freedom is being infringed, then he himself should refrain from buying the product. Other consumers will similarly do as they please, and the market will do the rest.
You don’t need to pass more and more laws when profit drive itself will reflect public opinion and make the necessary changes.
Funny how capitalism works.