The StopDRM coalition took to the streets last night to protest legislative action in the French Senate. The action coincided with a visit by Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation. read the press release at Musique-Libre (english translation) or this one in French at StopDRM.info.
Business Week just published this story on their front page in advance of our coordinated DRM Action at Apple Stores on Saturday.
The "Defective by Design" protests are not aimed at Apple (AAPL) in particular, but at what the Free Software Foundation sees as a growing trend toward legal restrictions that bind digital content to particular playing devices.
"This isn't intended to attack Apple and its innovations, but really to draw attention to the existence of DRM technologies, and how they restrict what consumers can do with their music," says Ted Teah, who maintains a directory of free software for the Free Software Foundation.
Let the fun begin! We will be on-site tomorrow from 10am (local time) getting suited-up and you can expect the action to start at 10:30am - remember to bring those cameras!
Apple Store - 1 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Apple Store - 679 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Apple Store - 4702 NE University Village Pl, Seattle, WA 98105
Apple Store - 100 Cambridge Side Place, Cambridge, MA 02141
Apple Store - 767 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10153
Apple Store - 160 Walt Whitman Rd. Huntington Station, NY 11746h
Apple Store - 6121 West Park Blvd. Plano, TX 75093
Apple Store - 189 The Grove Drive Los Angeles, CA 90036
Two weeks ago we launched DefectiveByDesign.org - the Campaign to Eliminate DRM - since then, more than 2000 technologists have joined us and taken the pledge to stop DRM through direct action.
Now we are taking the campaign to a national stage in an effort to increase discussion of DRM. This Saturday, June 10 at 10:30am (local time) Flash Mobs will gather in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Long Island and New York converging on Apple stores to warn customers of the dangers of DRM in the iPod and iTunes.
What is DRM?
DRM is an attempt by hardware, software and media companies like Apple to accomplish through technology what they have been unable to fully accomplish by political and legal lobbying -- the authority to regulate what you do in the privacy of your home with media you have legally purchased.
They call this "Digital Rights Management". They make it sound like they are giving you something new. But, you have always had the right to make copies of your media. DRM takes away these rights by using proprietary formats and technology.
Think of it as "Digital Restrictions Management". Technology that restricts what you can do with your computer, the electronic devices you own and the media you buy. DRM can be deployed in software, hardware and in music or movies.
What is wrong with Apple and iTunes?
Apple claims that people would steal from them if they didn't use DRM, and that they have to protect themselves. This is how they would like to portray it, but it's not how it is. Inclusion of DRM in products sold by Apple and other companies is inspired by their greed and desire to control us. To accomplish their goals, they want to monitor, report, and regulate your every interaction with your computer and electronics.
All music purchased from the iTunes music store has DRM in it. That means, at the moment, you can only have a certain number of copies. It used to be you could have 10, then Apple changed it to 7. Nothing stops them from changing it again, to 5, or 3 or 1. With DRM Apple can change the rules AGAIN, and at any time. DRM gives them that power over you. Your devices will have to do their bidding. That is what DRM is about, taking the control away from you, and giving it to Big Media and companies like Apple. The hardware and software they sell you will enforce their rules, by removing your rights. As the largest distributor of DRM infected technology, Apple has set a new low in the mistreatment of our freedoms.
Take back your technology. Say no to DRM in your computer, in your home, and in your pocket.
Join Us Today
Want to wear the message? You can order shirts in various colors and sizes and two designs from GoodStorm all proceeds go to supporting the campaign.
David H. Holtzman of Business Week writes:
Makers of new DVD players are going too far in copyright protection efforts, but buyers needn't take it lying down
...these new disks are packed full of copy-protection functions, some of which impair our ability to use the content we pay for, the way we like and are legally entitled to.
...there's an ominous feature buried in this so-called protection mechanism: If a particular brand of player is cryptographically "compromised," the studio can remotely disable all of the affected players. In other words, if some hacker halfway across the globe cracks Sony's software, Sony can shut down my DVD player across the Net.
Neil McAllister Senior Editor at InfoWorld is disappointed by our activism, and if his language is anything to judge by, we may have set him on course for some serious heart burn. In a piece entitled Free Software Foundation: Free as in do what I say, McAllister suggests FSF members and activists who turned out to protest DRM at last weeks WinHEC2006 are "cut from the PETA mold", and that the campaign is telling you that "God is on its side"(?). He suggests our description of DRM as Digital Restrictions Management warrants the renaming of the FSF to the "Fundamentalist Software Foundation", and gives us imagery of "a bridge from North Korea to the Sudan"! Who says there is no passion in technology writing - pass the antacids.
Sign up here to find out about the next event.
[img_assist|nid=37|title=DRM Elimination Crew Seattle Microsoft WinHEC2006|desc=The Defective By Design DRM Elimination Crew warn Microsoft WinHEC attendees of the dangers of DRM at Microsoft WinHEC in Seattle, May 23, 2006.|link=none|align=left|width=400|height=300] [img_assist|nid=45|title=6 running|desc=6 runners in Seattle|link=none|align=left|width=400|height=222] [img_assist|nid=26|title=DRM Elimination Crew Seattle for WinHEC|desc=The DRM Elimination Crew|link=none|align=left|width=400|height=300]
K.C. Jones of TechWeb writes:
Calling themselves freedom fighters, members of the Free Software Foundation are engaging in a campaign against Digital Rights Management, which they emphatically refer to as Digital Restrictions Management.
Members donned yellow hazardous materials suits to kick off the initiative, called DefectiveByDesign.org, in Seattle earlier this week to protest Bill Gates' keynote speech on the future of Microsoft. The direct action campaign, targeting "big media and corporations peddling Digital Restrictions Management," plans more flash protests.
"Mit der Kampagne will man darauf aufmerksam machen, dass immer mehr Hardware- und Software-Anbieter DRM-Systeme in ihre Produkte integrieren und damit die Rechte der Anwender beschneiden. So würden private Kopien digitaler Inhalte verhindert und völlig ignoriert, dass zahlreiche Werke nach Ablauf der Schutzfristen unter Public Domain fallen. Zudem lässt sich das Nutzerverhalten durch DRM überwachen, was einen schwerwiegenden Eingriff in die Privatsphäre darstellt."
Heise Online schreibt:
"Mitglieder der Free Software Foundation (FSF) haben zu Beginn der Microsoft-Entwicklerkonferenz Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) vor dem Veranstaltungszentrum in Seattle gegen Digital Rights Management protestiert. In Schutzoveralls gekleidet warnten sie die vorbeikommenden Konferenzteilnehmer davor, dass ihr Produkt Windows Vista fehlerhaft sei und die Nutzer gefährde. Das geht aus einer Mitteilung der FSF hervor. Windows Vista sei "hazmat", also ein "Gefahrgut", hieß die Parole."
ZDNet's David Berlind posted today about yesterday's action. While there is no new news here, Berlind does give us a little advice. "DRM" is not an acronym that is sexy.
DRM needs a special name. A name that you can sink your teeth into like "spam." A name like "CRAP."
He goes on to say that Richard Stallman has come up with the best words behind that acronym: "Cancellation, Restriction and Punishment"
John Dvorak makes a mention of the WinHEC DRM Elimination Crew event and while he is not really on our side, he does give us props:
Whatever the case you have to admire the fact that they all went out and bought hazmat suits for their protest march.
Thanks to DRM Elimination Crew's Andrew Becherer for "foisting" the story on Dvorak!
Alexander Grundner at eHomeUpgrade writes
"We're all familiar with protests against war, cruelty to animals, and such, but how about DRM (digital rights/restrictions management)? Enter Defective By Design, an anti-DRM advocacy group backed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) that has started targeting “Big Media, unhelpful manufacturers and DRM distributors.” The group aims to identify “defective” products for consumers and recruit technologists to help bring awareness to the public of the evils of DRM – even if it means having to wear hazmat suits to get people's attention.
From the Seattlest:
but the point is that if you don't like how your software's performing there are other options out there. Now, if it's built into your computer hardware (this protest was staged outside of a Microsoft hardware engineering conference) AND it's mandated by law that you must use DRM-capable hardware (people are working on it) then you're screwed and it's time to put on a haz-mat suit and walk around downtown.
Ina Fried writes Protesters in hazardous materials suits marched outside the Washington State Trade and Convention Center on Tuesday, where the software maker was kicking off its Windows Hardware and Engineering Conference (WinHEC). The demonstrators, from the Free Software Foundation's Defective by Design group, were lobbying against Microsoft's digital-rights management technology, which restricts copysharing." Read the story.
Brian Ward of Tech Effect writes "When Bill Gates took the stage for a keynote speech on the future of Microsoft and the upcoming release of Vista little did he know that men in hazmat suits were lying in wait. Defectivebydesign.org is a group of color-coded anti-DRM crusaders, and they made their presence known in Seattle with a rip-roaring good time of a protest. This grass-roots organization has applied the golden rule of protesting to their latest effort to eradicate digital rights management (or as t
Personal Computer World reports "Anti-Digital Rights Management (DRM) protesters from the Free Software Foundation have gate-crashed Microsoft's Winhec developers conference in Seattle.
Wearing bright yellow suits, the Free Software Foundation protesters swarmed around the Winhec convention entrance, telling the delegates that the Microsoft-backed DRM was defective and hazardous to users." Read the story.
Cory Doctorow writes "Protestors from the Free Software Foundation's excellent Defective By Design anti-DRM campaign staged a surprise demonstration yesterday... Defective By Design promises lots more grassroots activism, street theater, and direct action against DRM."
Andrew Becherer, one of the freedom fighters who attended the Microsoft action today posted a great comment on slashdot:
I am proud to say that I participated in today's FSF event.
I believe the combination of Digital Rights Management technology and the Trusted Computing initiative are the single greatest threat to a free software desktop. I believe the danger is not just that we will be pushed into a desktop ghetto where we will not be allowed to enjoy the newest movies and music.
RMS' Right to Read [gnu.org] might seem far out for most folks I believe he is point on. DRM will tie media to an user or possibly an user and a specific machine. DRM will allow corporations to gather unprecedented amounts of information about us. If we are not vigilant we are headed into an Orwellian dystopia where all of our digital habits are carefully monitored and controlled.
Bruce Byfield writes "Planned as a flash event, today's protest was deliberately kept secret over the last few days. The Electronic Frontier Foundation alerted its members in Seattle, and information was posted yesterday to the Bellingham Linux Users' Group mailing list, but the three dozen supporters who showed up at the corner of Pike and 7th in downtown Seattle at 8 a.m. had little idea exactly what form the protest would take until shortly before they ducked into an alley to change into t
Howard Rheingold just posted "At 8:30am this morning, wearing neon Hazmat gear, 25 techology activists from FSF & EFF swarmed the 2006 Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Seattle. Following the lead of the French anti-DRM activists, the new initative, Defective By Design, is signing up activists interested in getting involved in local actions to bring awareness to the crippling effects of DRM on art, literature, music or film, and free software. "
Slashdot writes "The Free Software Foundation launched a new anti-DRM initiative today with a flash protest at Bill Gates’s keynote speech to Microsoft developers in Seattle. They’re calling the new campaign ‘Defective by Design’ and have named Big Media, device manufacturers and proprietary software companies as targets. CivicActions is participating as a coalition partner in the campaign. Protesters donned HazMat suits, apparently to emphasize the hazard Digital Restrictions Management poses to their rights. There are a