It's been a while since we have talked about RIAA's legal strategy of suing folks for alleged infringement, but this week brough some good news. Ray Beckerman reports on his block hat the Judge in Capitol v. Foster has awarded the defendant legal fees to the tune of $68 thousand dollars after tossing out the RIAA's case with prejudice, and subsequent appeal.
TorrentFreak has announced the winners of their anti-DRM t-shirt contest. You can order shirts printed with the designs, or you can download the source files and print your own. The winners are strikingly effective designs and are a great way to get people thinking about DRM—I just ordered #3 for myself. Kudos to all 50 of the entering artists for taking the time to apply their skills to help communicate this important message, and congratulations to the winners!
This afternoon Information Week published a great article by Cory Doctorow about how big corporations and shadowy associations and working groups collude to develop DRM schemes and the laws that mandate them.
The piece is very long, and very good. Everyone who is interested in this sort of thing should give it a read and then tell your friends and family about it.
Here is a choice excerpt from the beginning:
The iPhone hype hides a basic problem with the product – Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) inside the iPhone means that it wont be under your control. Apple has built this “smart” phone to dumb you down. They also want you to switch your cell phone service to AT&T – who collaborated with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its massive, illegal program to wiretap and data mine Americans' communications.
As the GPLv3 press release states:
“Tivoization” is a term coined by the FSF to describe devices that are built with free software, but that use technical measures to prevent the user from making modifications to the software—a fundamental freedom for free software users—and an attack on free software that the GPLv3 will put a stop to.
ArsTechnica reports thatEMI's DRM Free tracks on iTMS Plus are selling VERY well with double and triple digit percentage increases. As ArsTechnica points out, some of the increase could be a result of users looking to upgrade already purchased tracks, but that still means that users are willing to pay the extra 30 cents to loose the DRM.
EMI execs are expressing confidence that the trend will continue, and other labels are considering joining them, probably when more data has come in.
On this date many thousands of free software projects will start to switch to this license. And GPLv3 is squarely aimed at defeating DRM.
Many corporations use GPL covered works to build their products. The successful adoption of GPLv3 will help limit DRM to those products built with proprietary software. Those products will be less attractive to consumers, more expensive, and less useful.
A few months back, AnywhereCD launched offering a new service, buy a physicals cd AND get the digital download immediately. Anywhere made deals with numerous record companies, including Warner. Shortly after launch, Warner cried foul. The lawsuits started flying.
The Christian Science Monitor has a good article about classical music without DRM.
The article makes the point that digital sales of classical music are pretty high and that classical music fans are willing to spend money on digital music sales for larger files.
Industry figures are hopeful that dropping copy protection – thus allowing for big, clear-sounding and noncompressed audio files – will generate even stronger interest in classical downloads.
Time Magazine ran an article last week about DRM. It gets alot right, and speaks in non geek terms:
Off the record, most executives--on the technology side at least--will tell you that DRM is a dinosaur that's waiting for the asteroid to hit. It's just a matter of when the music industry will stop assuming its customers are all criminals.
On Friday, DefectiveByDesign members hit the streets to tell the public about Disney, DRM and the Intellectual Property Protection Act 2007 (IPPA2007).
In Boston a large group composed of DefectiveByDesign members, and activists from FreeCulture.org and BinaryFreedom.info gathered, at Boston's main cinema on Boston Common.
But they don't want to drop the restrictions! Earlier this week an HBO Executive, Bob Zitter, caught alot of flack in the blogosphere (and rightly so) for suggesting the only problem with DRM is the name, and that renaming the same restrictions "Digital Consumer Enablement" would solve the problem.
We like to point to a quote from a Disney exec from a ways back "If the consumer even knows there is a DRM we've lost." And by all accounts, they've all lost! Through the work of groups like ours, we have informed users about DRM. And now they don't want it.
A while back I pointed folks to Dell's IdeaStorm website where they were soliciting feedback from customers about what products they offered. Overwhelmingly people wanted Dell machines with GNU/Linux operating systems.
Here are some highlights:
Most people think it ludicrous that they can’t do the same with the DVDs they own. Now it seems, despite squeals from the movie industry, the law is finally moving in the video fan’s favour.
Congratulations to the Digg users who revolted against the censorship of a number today. Digg took down stories that featured the DRM encryption key for HD DVD encryption. Digg users then started reposting it until the entire front page of Digg was covered with the story and each one had thousands of Diggs.
After tens of thousands of diggs on multiple stories, Digg has decided to stop fighting it.
Wired has a good blog post up about ebooks and how DRM has stymied adoption, "The why of that has many faces, but DRM plays its part. Taking a historically commonplace form of expression, freely portable in its traditional format, and turning it into an ephemeral, hardware-specific, proprietary service?"
There has been some recent chatter on the internet about the possibility of Apple introducing a subscription based service. Steve Jobs may have just put that speculation to rest:
"Never say never, but customers don't seem to be interested in it," Jobs told Reuters in an interview after Apple reported blow-out quarterly results. "The subscription model has failed so far."
This was reported on CNN.