Over the last year the Free Software Foundation, through the DefectiveByDesign campaign and the BadVista.org campaign, has taken actions around the country (and the world) in defense of computer users' freedoms. In that time we have gotten major press, brought people together for real world actions, educated computer users and music lovers about the dangers of DRM and the problems with Microsoft Vista, and we are making gains in the securing greater freedoms for users.
The WSJ's "Real Time" column this week is about last week's Apple/EMI announcement (you know, the one about dropping DRM).
Jason Fry observes, "First and most obviously, a major label is finally treating its customers like customers, instead of regarding them as likely shoplifters who should be given as few rights as possible."
Boing Boing reports that Microsoft is talking about dropping DRM from some songs sold in the Zune Market Place. The interesting part of the story (we all new MS would follow the leader WRT EMI tracks) is that a Zune spokesperson seems to suggest that MS might drop DRM from more than just the EMI catalog. We'll wait and see what happens.
Buried in the press coverage from Monday's announcement about EMI and Apple dropping DRM from EMI tracks in the iTMS was this quote from Steve Jobs:
"Video is pretty different from music right now because the video industry does not distribute 90 percent of their content DRM free. Never has. So I think they are in a pretty different situation and I wouldn't hold it to a parallel at all."
About 3 weeks ago, we launched the Open Letter to Steve Jobs. Since then over six thousand people have signed on. Steve Jobs hasn't taken any action since his February 7 rant on DRM. As promised, we'll be sending him the open letter with our signatures and jesters hat on Monday.
Hold that hat....
EMarketer.com has a post that says Insight Research expects spending on DRM this year to be $1 Billion and increase to $9 Billion in 2012.
From the Insight Research report:
"DRM evolved to serve corporations to deal with information piracy, peer-to-peer file sharing, and various regulatory requirements," noted Robert Rosenberg of Insight. "DRM did not arise to meet the needs of end users, and in fact, it may be said to have evolved to spite the end user.
I just read about this new independent online music store, AmieStreet.com. Other than the fact that it is DRM free, the reason it is noteworthy is because Amie Street exhibits just the kind of innovation that will explode in a world without DRM. At Amie Street, songs change price (from free to 98 cents) based on how many times they have been downloaded. Artists get 70% of the revenues from their work after a flat fee for hosting and bandwidth.
This from Gizmo Cafe: An EU Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Meglena Kuneva, slammed Apple for it's DRM. She said, "Do you find it reasonable that a CD will play in all players, but an iTunes song will only plan on an iPod? It doesn’t to me. Something must change.".
Universal France is testing DRM free music sales: Universal has begun testing the viability of DRM-free downloads, albeit in a very limited release of an album by French singer-songwriter Emilie Simon.
While the test is limited, it is hopeful to see another of the big for looking at DRM free digital downloads.
As part of last October's Day Against DRM, folks from FreeCulture Harvard, Free Culture Boston and the MIT Media Lab, held an event they dubbed iRony to help people install RockBox on iPods. This short video explains the problems with DRM and iPods, the benefits of RockBox, and talks a bit about the event.
Figured with so many people dropping by the site, I would highlight that we have T-Shirts for sale all proceeds go to support the campaign. You can also download printable signs and stickers or get buttons, badges and banners for your site! If you want to design a T-Shirt or website button/badge, send us a link to your artwork.
Also, now is a great time to join the Free Software Foundation!
The RIAA has announced that they plan to sue more students by sending letters to 13 colleges and universities. They plan to send the schools lists of IP addresses and want the schools to turn over the names of the students and pass the notice of intent to sue on to the students. All this before a suit or subpoena has been filed.
Just read this over on the Washington Post Blogs
Reps. Rich Boucher (D-Va.) and John Dolittle (R-Calif.) introduced what they call the "Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship" (or FAIR USE) Act they say will make it easier for digital media consumers to use the content they buy.
ArsTechnica has an article about Apple and the DRM conundrum. The suggestion is that Apple would never sell both DRMd and DRM free music side by side on the iTMS because of their commitment to a simple and uniform user experience.
Cory Doctorow had a great article in Salon today about Steve jobs tortured DRM position.
We couldn't have said any of this better ourselves. Here are some excerpts from Cory's piece.
I doubt Jobs' sincerity. I suspect he likes DRM because it creates an anti-competitive lock-in to Apple. I think he's trying to shift blame for the much-criticized DRM to the music industry, whose executives are twirling their mustaches and declaring DRM to be the only way forward for their industry.