Lots of good answers here, and much of what I feel has been covered, but I'll throw in my two cents as well.
I bought BioShock without knowing about its DRM scheme. I was burned on that game and lost my activations due to changing user accounts and putting in another internal hard drive. This was not a new drive for the OS, but just an extra drive for more storage. I was locked out of my game. When this happened, I checked out the BioShock forums and was appalled at what I was reading. Limited activations? A new version of SecuROM that acts like a rootkit and is as bad as, possibly worse than, StarForce?
From that experience, I resolved never to buy a game with that type of DRM and also I'd research what they had on them for copy protection before buying. So, gone are the days of an impulse buy (no pun intended) of games. I used to walk buy the game shelf and maybe pick up a game on whim. No more.
Now, along came Mass Effect PC with its limit of three activations and the propsed phone home every ten days scheme. (Side note: a BIG hats off to BioWare for warning their fans about it before release). So yeah, I was one of the many people bitching and protesting about that. I own every BioWare game for the PC up to MEPC (and I'm a moderator on their forums), so I wasn't just some anti-DRM freak jumping onto their forums to post smack about it.
So yeah, what's the big deal?
I don't want a 'security' program installed on my machine that does not uninstall when the game is uninstalled. (For those interested, SecuROM version 7.xx installs hidden files on your machine, cannot be removed by a simple delete, hass ring0 access, etc. This info can be found on the r-force site, as well as other sites).
I don't want a single player game that needs to phone home. Why should it? I paid for it, and I should be able to play it wheter or not I'm connected to thin
I don't want to have to activate a single player off-line game. If there's a multiplayer component or it's an on-line game, then I've no issue with activations.
Related to the above: limits on activations. Why is it a big deal? Because no one is willing to (or perhaps, they're unable to) tell the user exactly what will trigger an activation with respect to hardware changes. The end user should not be in the dark and nervously wringing his hands worried that his game may lock him out if he's adding/changing hardware on his system.
Don't push this DRM as some necessity to 'protect our intellectual property from piracy' whenit patently does no such thing. Really, stop listening to the snake oil salesmen from SonyDADC and ask them why their oh-so-great copy protection system does not stop your game from being pirated. Then ask them for a full refuns on the money you paid them for this completely ineffective system.
Why should a thrid party program that comes with a game be able to dictate what other programs I can have running on my computer or in same instances, what I can even have installed on my computer?
So, some people think the activation scheme is okay, and it may be for many users, but what about those that runinto problems? Just call the support line. Well, the problem with EA support is it's not toll free in every country, so you run into an expense there. As well, many times you get the back-and-forth runaround of 'try this and contact us if it doesn't work' and 'provide this further bit of ionformation and we'll get back to you', so you end up waiting hours, days, or even weeks before you get your game up and running again. And even if it's relatively fast process, it means that every single time you need to activate again in the future, you've got to go through the same prcedure all over again, becasue they only give you one extra activation at a time.
So what's a viable copy protection? None. Yeah, I said it. None, because no copy protection actually works to prevent copying and pirating of games. The Stardock model is a good one. I've personally no issue with CD keys and needing the disc in the drive, but the Stardock model where there's no copy protection on the disc, you don't have to activate your game to play it, and you don't have to run a separate program to run your game is the best current model that I've seen. I'm perfectly fine with having to register your game to get patches/new content. But there's a caveat here as well: I feel you should be able to sell your game and the new user should be able to get the patches (so, in essence, there shouldn't be a problem transferring the CD key to another user), and there should be some method (that Stardock feels is secure for them) to patch your game if your rig is not connected to the internet.
Sorry if tis post is a bit incoherent and rambking. I'm in a hurry and just wanted to get this posted before I go out the door.