Defective by Design

Apple announces all music on iTunes to go DRM-free -- no word on movies, TV shows, games, audiobooks and applications

Submitted by mattl on Thu, 2009-01-08 15:11

As you've no doubt heard, Apple, the last major retailer of DRM-encumbered music announced, live at MacWorld, that all iTunes music will be going DRM-free. Today, some 8 million songs and music videos are already available DRM-free, via iTunes Plus.

Of course, what this really makes clear is that this was never about the record companies withholding DRM-free music from Apple, but rather that Apple was unwilling to concede a tiered pricing structure to the recording companies. So to all those who kept sending us messages about how Apple were the wrong target, I hope now you will see that Apple really were forced into this concession. In the end, anti-DRM activists -- including well over 10,000 from Defective by Design -- were able to educate the public enough to pressure the major labels to go DRM free and force Apple to give in.

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We received this note from one reader today "Help -- Apple is holding me ransom for $0.30 per song" -- yes, it's a sad situation that Apple's concession comes at a steep price for their most loyal customers. You would think that if Apple really hated DRM so much they would do this without charge wouldn't you? You do know the reason why they don't? They hope, just like all DRM vendors, to keep you locked to their platform. $0.30 per song is the ransom you must pay to break your bonds. -- our condolences to all those who cannot escape.

Yet, this announcement is a major win for the campaign against DRM and our efforts to get Apple to drop DRM. We have been putting pressure on Apple since the first days of our campaign, including putting pressure on Jobs, and holding physical protests at Apple Stores all over the world.

But there is a bigger message in this for all of us. Put simply, anti-DRM activism is working. Join us now in the next phase to rid video, electronic games and ebooks of DRM. Sign-up now to get the next action alert in the ongoing fight against DRM.

Don't buy DRM and speak out against it -- it really is that easy. Remember to use services that are DRM free. And one more time -- let's remind everyone why activism against DRM works:

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By continuing to boycott all DRM-content on iTunes, including the iPhone and the App Store. We can encourage Apple to continue to remove DRM from iTunes content, including all movies, TV shows, games, audiobooks and applications, as well as support for free formats, such as Vorbis and Theora.

Apple's uses of DRM as of January 8 2009

We're keeping track of Apple's movements with our new Apple DRM widget...

  • DRM is used to lock iPhones to AT&T, and other networks around the world.
  • DRM is used to lock downloads from the App Store, even downloads at no-charge.
  • DRM is used to prevent iPod/iPhone being used with software other than iTunes.
  • DRM is used to prevent OS X from loading on generic PCs.
  • DRM is used to prevent the latest MacBook computers from working on certain types of monitor and HDTV.
  • DRM is used to keep accessory vendors for the iPod and iPhone limited to a subset of the devices features via an "authentication chip"
  • DRM is used to lock up movies, TV shows, ringtones and audiobooks purchased through the iTunes Store.

EFF has more on these items

Take action!

  • Email Tim Cook (tcook@apple.com) and Phil Schiller (schiller@apple.com) and thank them for removing DRM from music, and ask them to remove DRM from the rest of iTunes.
  • Sign-up for our Action Alert

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