Last night, I and three other DefectiveByDesign members from Seattle met up for a dinner and a beer and then headed over to the launch of the Zune at the War Room on Capital Hill. This being a Microsoft town, I expected a huge crowd, even if it was just Microsofties. We were surprised by the turnout, maybe 150 people waiting in a line snaking around the corner for the doors to open. Almost all were MS people, but we talked to them none the less. The responses were interesting ranging from disgust with out message, to bemusement to outright support.
DBD Member Jeremy Clark recently got a new iPod, (from his blog):
When it came time to choose a free engraving for the free Nano that came with my new laptop (I would never pay dollars for something so obviously broken on purpose) nothing else seemed appropriate. My favorite part is how natural the slogan looks printed on the back and how, if you stretch your imagination a bit, “Defective by Design” almost sounds like a legit Apple slogan (I mean, it’s at least as good as “Life is Random” right?)
[img_assist|nid=849|title=DRM make me sad|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=222|height=240]With more than 5000 names added to the Bono petition, we decided it was time to take a look at some of the 1700+ messages that signers have left for the U2 front man.
What is interesting is how many signers made the connection that digital restrictions on published works and technology will effect development and cultural equality. A selection of messages are posted below.
"Bono, in the same way that the pharmaceutical companies use patents to restrict the poor from getting access to important medicines, so DRM will be used to restrict access to knowledge. At the moment DRM appears to be about music and movies, but within a few years we will see that this was just the beginning. You have the opportunity to help us stop this now."
The BBC has an article up about a report by The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) calling on Parliament to revise the UK's copyright laws (currently Brittons do not have even the private right to copy their CDs to their own computers or portable digital music players).
Deputy Director of the IPPR, Dr. Ian Kearns said, "[But] it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have that is the job of government."
Report author Kay Withers said: "The idea of all-rights reserved doesn't make sense for the digital era and it doesn't make sense to have a law that everyone breaks. To give the IP regime legitimacy it must command public respect."
On Thursday afternoon we asked DBD members to start tagging products with DRM on Amazon.com "DefectiveByDesign". The response has been great, with over 500 products tagged by more than 150 Amazon customers.
We're also suggesting that if you own a product that has DRM, go on Amazon.com and review it to let other would be users know about the dangers of DRM. If you do, let us know by posting a comment (include a link to your Amazon review!).
The anti-drm community is growing. Our own organization has nearly 15,000 members signed up. Mainstream press is covering the downside of DRM, and people in the industries pushing DRM are starting to speak out.
DefectiveByDesign members have shown that we can fight against DRM and win.
Other organizations are now joining in the effort to stop DRM. In the last month FSFE has helped launch a coalition effort called DRM.info a great repository of information and articles about DRM. If your looking for more information so you can hone your "holiday dinner" presentation to your family, this is a great place to stop. And just the other day the Consumer Electronics Association and others launched DigitalFreedom.org an advocacy site that allows you to sign a petition to (US) government and send advocacy emails to your representatives asking them to protect your digital rights.
We are starting to hear more and more doubts expressed that DRM can be a viable business model for the media and technology companies. The "stay the course" voices sound shaky. The problem? It seems that we - their users and customers - don't like DRM, and we won't accept it. We refuse to purchase from them, some circumvent the restrictions and most just go elsewhere. Eric Pickard is the director of advertising strategy and emerging media planning at Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, and his message to the Big Media companies is simple: The people are in control...
Last week Billboard (the music industry publication) ran a great article about DRM and the digital music market. The article was picked up by Reuters and ran in many other publications. An article like this would have been almost unthinkable in a recording industry publication just a few months ago!
What's more, opponents insist that DRM, in fact, does nothing to protect music. Virtually every form of DRM has been hacked, including Apple's FairPlay and Microsoft's WMA encryption of tethered subscription files. Not all digital music consumers are aware of these workarounds, but tend to discover them the minute they find they can't play their music on their device of choice.
As we mop up after all the action and news related to October 3rd - Day Against DRM, we want to draw attention to a couple of items:
FreeCulture.org just announced the winners of the Down With DRM Video Contest.
Digg the DRM Video Contest Winners
Electronic Frontier Foundation's report "Who Killed the TiVoToGo?" which details how Big Media and Cable companies forced TiVo to remove the TiVo To Go service from the new TiVo Series 3 HD.
Digg DRM killed the TiVoToGo!
It was interesting to hear these law law students talk about DRM and engage with each other on both sides of the issues. We had a lively discussion that really got students thinking about the implications of DRM on culture and our rights.
If you are a student, or law student and would like to organize an event on DRM, please let us know.
October 3rd, Day Against DRM was a huge success - thank you to the thousands of people who took part in actions around the globe, both big and small, to spread the word about the dangers of DRM. Thousands of emails were sent from the DefectiveByDesign site to friends and relatives warning them about DRM. We distributed one hundred and fifty thousand stickers, and you used them in more than two hundred organized meet-ups to get the message out. The reports from the protests outside the flagship Apple stores in London and New York showed people were having a lot of fun. Some of you got dressed up in Hazmat suits and educated shoppers and commuters, others blogged about anti-DRM activities, many submitted amazing photos. In Paris StopDRM.info activists took it to another level and handed themselves in to police for breaking French DRM laws. Our friends at Free Culture ran a video competition that resulted in some truly wonderful submissions, and more than 80,000 people have viewed the winning submissions!
This via a DBD member:
BLEEP WINS BEST MUSIC STORE AT DIGITAL MUSIC AWARDS
04 / 10 / 2006 (for us int he USA that is October 4, 2006)
On Tuesday night Bleep won the UK Digital Music Award for 'Best Music Store', beating players such as iTunes, Napster and ThreeMusic.
It was a public voted award so we want to give massive thanks to everyone
who took the time to vote for us!
This summer Bleep passed the million downloads threshold, and is now home
to over 300 labels and counting. All new music to the site is now encoded
at the maximum bitrate of 320kbps, with everything still as standard
[img_assist|nid=875|title=DBD US Member Map|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=400|height=196]
Anselm Hook, a friend of DBD, took some time to make this better map of us members. We are still having some difficulty mapping members outside of the USA because we didn;t always capture your Country or City.
"If consumers even know there's a DRM, what it is, and how it works, we've already failed" - Disney Executive.
Defeating DRM is all about awareness. The direct actions that we take are all about this. On October 3rd we launched a world wide day of awareness about DRM, and now everyday is a Day Against DRM. Let the people around you know that DRM is bad for our culture and society. Let's create space for the debate. Do we want handcuffs and locks on art and knowledge?
As our friends at Disney recognize, if we have this debate, we will have won.
[img_assist|nid=849|title=DRM make me sad|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=370|height=400]
Read Gareth Bowker's full blog from the anti-DRM rally in London on Saturday.
"Yesterday’s Defective by Design awareness campaign in London went very well – far better than I could have hoped. In the end, we had over 20 people helping to hand out over 3,200 leaflets in about 2h30.
...we decided to send a couple of people into the store to leaflet as many people as they could manage before getting thrown out. Kudos has to go to MJ for the ballsy “replace the leaflets in Apple’s leaflet holders with DbD leaflets” which was pretty successful. After they got ejected, we set off, and almost immediately got stopped by a Policeman. The conversation went something like this:
[img_assist|nid=845|title=Apple Store 5th Ave|desc=photo credit http://diabloadvocati.deviantart.com/gallery/|link=none|align=right|width=265|height=400]Members of FreeCulture.org, New Yorkers for Fare Use and DefectiveByDesign all turned out for today's precursor to October 3rd.
WE talked to shoppers and passersbuy distributing stickers and leaflets about the dangers of DRM. Apple security didn't seem too happy with us, but the people we talked to were all interested and were pretty pissed to learn about the privacy violations and use restrictions of DRM schemes that Big Media are pushing.
On Saturday, September 30th, hazmat suited DefectiveByDesign members will gather at the flagship Apple stores in New York and London, These high profile events will kick-off awareness for "Oct 3rd, Day Against DRM"
Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribue ran a fantastic column this morning on the Amazon Unbox service, DRM and our Day of Action:
Amazon's Unbox program is going to run in the background on
your computer and send information back to the company about your
"operating system, software, amount of available disk space and Internet
connectivity" as well as what you're doing with those videos, all in
order to continue to "manage rights" associated with them, says the
We have had a completely overwhelming response to last weeks email email about DRM Warning Labels. We asked you if you'd like some stickers to help spread the word about the dangers of drm, and nearly 2000 of you have responded!
We are working to get stickers out to as many people in as many cities as possible. If you sent us an email, we'll be getting back to you in the next day or two.
If you haven't responded yet (or even if you have and you are just a little impatient) you can download a PDF template and print your own stickers.
The Phoenix ran a piece on FreeCulture.org's video conference related to October 3rd:
But if you’re a consumer, it’s more accurate to say it stands for Digital Restrictions Management. (Or, in the case of Sony-BMG’s roo tk it, which deposits all manner of intrusive and concealed software on a user’s computer, Digital Restrictions Malware.) “It prevents you from using the content that you have bought the way you want to,” says Nelson Pavlosky, co-founder of the international student movement FreeCulture.org. “And because there are laws against circumventing this copy protection, uses that would otherwise be legal suddenly become illegal. If I wanted to make a back-up copy of a CD that I bought, which is legal under fair use, the DRM physically stops me — and the laws that enforce DRM legally stop me.”
We are totally out of stickers for October 3rd and will let you know when we can fullful additional requests
Announce a meet-up and get your friends together with others in your area, We've distributed stickers to over 300 locations around globe and we will try to connect folks via event on the website in the coming days, so keep checking back. You can also download a PDF template to print your own stickers
"If consumers even know there's a DRM, what it is, and how it works, we've already failed" - Disney Executive.
Defeating DRM is all about awareness. The direct actions that we have taken are all about this. Whether it means protesting outside Apple Stores in Hazmat suits or getting HUGE press coverage for announcing the Bono petition (sign it now). Action gets attention, and creates space for debate. And as our friends at Disney recognize, if there is a debate, we will have won.
There is an interesting thread on Slashdot about DRM and the "economics" around creativity and media. There have been many thoughtful and interesting comments to the original post "A Working Economy Without DRM?" which asks the question "How do you create a market for a product, and make money of a product that has a huge initial creative investment, but then no manufacturing cost, and is in infinite supply?"