Defective by Design

Weekly DRM News

Submitted by sarahmac on Fri, 2009-08-21 14:38

Hi, I'm Sarah Adelaida and I am working at the FSF this summer as part of a newly launched internship program. I will be posting new DRM news each week. If you'd like to know more about me read my letter of introduction. If you see stories we should mention here, please let me know.

Sony Shredder Still Has DRM

One recent piece of news was on Sony's decision to switch the DRM format they use on their eBook reader: "Sony to dump proprietary DRM in eBooks". Many observers saw this as a bigger deal than it actually is: Sony has not removed DRM from their eBooks, and the DRM they use still keeps readers from controlling their book collection. The only difference is that Sony will be using the same DRM scheme as a few other manufacturers (as opposed to the Amazon "Swindle", which uses its own DRM scheme). There's nothing new about this: for many years there were music players and services that used Microsoft DRM while the dominant player, Apple, used their own scheme. It crumbled: music fans rejected the annoyance and limitations of DRM, and music publishers became wary of Apple's dominance. Efforts to coordinate DRM schemes across vendors won't save it: DRM is doomed.

NaturalNews Starts a Boycott in Response to Amazon DRM Kindle Deletion

NaturalNews, a non-profit that promotes individuals making informed positive decisions, has asked people to Boycott Amazon and other DRM friendly companies after they remotely deleted books from customers Kindles. Here is what the NaturalNews boycott asks:

  • Avoid all DRM purchases, period! Stop buying DRM-locked content from Apple, Amazon.com or other "Big Brother" content publishers.
  • Stop renting DRM-protected movies through services such as Amazon's "Video on Demand" service. These movies are restricted in the way you are allowed to view them, and on some services, they expire if you don't watch them quickly enough.
  • Don't buy DRM-protected music. Stick with DRM-free "clean" MP3 files that you can keep for life.
  • Avoid MP3 music subscription services that require your MP3 player to sync with the server from time to time (such as Napster To Go, etc).
  • Don't buy DRM-protected audio books from sellers like Audible.com, whose strict DRM technology complicates your book listening experience and makes it impossible for you to move files from one device to another without re-syncing with their servers.

NaturalNews is right, if companies will refuse to respect our freedoms, we have to show we will not tolerate it. One way of show our aversion to DRM as a practice by is refusing to purchase the products of companies that support it. If you haven't already, please check out our petition against Amazon's DRM.

What's the Deal With CMX

Cnet has an interesting article on a new music-distribution called CMX. CMX is a single download, which will contain all tracks to the album, artwork, liner notes, music videos and whatever else is decided to be included. This appears to be the music industry's attempt to try out a new business model. Or rather, they're updating to digital. As a spokesperson from the Entertainment Retailers Association said, "Online [CD are] stripped down to the bare music, and there's a lot more to an album than that." They're trying to make the online version have just as much fluff and stuff as a physical CD does. As Nate Lanxon points out "So let's put it in black and white right now: if you don't get standalone, DRM-free MP3s as part of your CMX download, it is absolutely, entirely and completely doomed..." Nate's right, DRM free MP3s are pretty much the standard. It took awhile for companies to recognize that limiting our freedoms on our music files just isn't okay. Let's hope that they remember this when releasing CMX file formats.

RealNetworks + Mobilkon Austria= DRM-Free Music

RealNetworks and Mobilkon signed a deal which will result in over 2 million DRM-free music-on-demand tracks. RealNetworks delivers digital entertainment services and Mobilkom Austria is a mobile operator company with 4.6 million customers. With this new deal, "Subscribers can: purchase single DRM-free tracks, pre-pay for a package of DRM-free tracks, or opt for a flat-rate, all-you-can-eat subscription" says RealNetworks Inc. Hooray for DRM-Free tacks!

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