The National Consumer Council is continuing its campaign to have consumer rights on digital content defined and protected by law.

The organisation has submitted a letter (PDF) to an MP's inquiry into Digital Rights Management (DRM). It explains its concerns at the way the industry is presently self-regulated, while calling for laws to protect consumers' rights to use digital content.

It says that it believes the use of DRM "can and is already constraining the legitimate consumer use of digital content. It is also undermining consumers existing rights under consumer protection and data protection laws."

Greedy labels defining consumer rights

Jill Johnstone, Director of Policy at NCC said; "Because of the current situation, consumers face security risks to their equipment, limitations on their use of products, poor information when purchasing products and unfair contract terms. 

"While we recognise the value of intellectual property rights, we have little confidence in self-regulation by the industry."

The organisation's filling makes particular reference to Sony BMG's recent moves to impose dangerous DRM measures within millions of CDs - putting consumers at risk without warning.

In the face of continued criminalisation of music fans by a shareholder-return-obsessed music industry, the filing complains: "The legitimate interests of consumers have been eroded by the strident articulation (and advancement) of the interests of intellectual property rights holders."

"New approaches are needed to ensure a fair return to creative people and fair access to creative works for consumers".

The NCC also argues that by being permitted to act without clear regulations of rights, music and other industry forces are redefining consumer rights "without any involvement of interested stakeholders, including consumer groups."