An activist sharing the Giving Guide at a Giveaway.
Zak Rogoff's blog
Ten years ago today, Sony was caught red-handed in a flashpoint that galvanized popular resistance to Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). A security researcher named Mark Russinovich published a description of surveillance malware (in this case a technically sophisticated rootkit) that was secretly installed on users' computers by the DRM on Sony music CDs.
Last week's International Day Against DRM was the biggest ever, with fifteen actions from Guatemala to Bangladesh, endorsement from major ebook publishers, and a chorus of support on social media. Community members shared diverse perspectives on DRM in community blog posts and helped bring new people in to our movement. Together we sent a strong message to the DRM and publishing industries: we will not tolerate digital restrictions.
Protestors at the New York City Apple store were evicted by uncomfortable security guards. Principled cooks in Italy created painfully spicy -- but tasty-looking -- DRM-themed snacks to illustrate the bait-and-switch deception of DRM-encumbered media. And a solitary activist took on the entire University of Illinois at Chicago campus with nothing but a few hundred flyers and an unflappable attitude. As of the time of this writing, we've heard about three times as many organized events as last year, a total of fifteen. Great job, anti-DRM community!
This post is by Kat Walsh, a lawyer with extensive background in the free culture movement, who recently joined the Free Software Foundation's board of directors. The post was written for the 2015 International Day Against DRM.
Everyone knows how to recognize cartoon villains. They twirl their mustaches as they kick puppies, delivering speeches about world domination for personal gain, and often let their arrogance lead to their undoing. People recognize this kind of evil immediately and rise up in protest, banding together to resist. In the real world, most evils are much harder to see coming: they look reasonable at first, perhaps taking just a little bit from many people to get to some unexpected end. Once the effect is widespread enough that most people notice, you have a systemic problem that's hard to get rid of. The evil that's easy to identify is easy to fight. The one that initially looks like something good can betray you, and that's why when we recognize it, we need to speak out against it.
Digital restrictions affect almost everyone, but most people have never heard of them. Today is one of our best opportunities to change that.
People around the world are coming together to say that we will not tolerate the remote deletions, unethical surveillance, and invasive restrictions of DRM. In fact, with events in at least nine countries and huge online participation, it's the world's biggest anti-DRM protest.
It's two days before the International Day Against DRM and our community is kicking into gear. We'll come together as a strong movement and we'll make sure the world hears our message: Digital Restrictions Management is wrong, and we will not sit idly by while it is imposed on us.
The International Day Against DRM is in two weeks on May 6th. On the same day across many countries, we will be meeting together and raising our voices against the unjust restrictions, control and surveillance that DRM imposes, and pointing the way to a future of empowerment for computer users. Will you join us at an event?
In the last year, we've seen DRM spread into more types of products, with Mozilla giving in to DRM in its Firefox Web browser and the media fawning over Apple's DRM-laden "smart" watch. But more people are waking up to DRM's oppressive effect every day, and the movement to regain control of our technology is growing.
Santa's helpers (activists) about to distribute the Giving Guide to commuters
I'm writing this with chilly fingers, having just come in from handing out our DRM-Free Giving Guide on the sidewalks around Cambridge, MA's central shopping district with some other activists. A few of the passersby were savvy about the issues of digital freedom and privacy, but for most, it was the first time they'd heard of ethical technology. Interacting with both types of people was meaningful -- sometimes hilarious as in the case of the man that said "I'm already ethical enough" -- and it reminded me why the Defective by Design campaign is so important: though DRM touches the lives of almost everyone we know, a disappointing few even know what it is.
We've just released a printable version of our online Giving Guide, which helps gift-givers choose tech gifts that are DRM-free and respect recipients' rights as computer users. The Guide is hosted on the Web site of the Free Software Foundation, which runs Defective by Design. The printable version, which is available in color as well as black and white, makes sharing and translating easy so the Giving Guide can spread far and wide.
Are you giving your loved ones holiday gifts they can use freely, or gifts which put someone else in control?
In the flurry of holiday advertising that happens at the end of the
year, many people are swept into buying DRM-laden gifts that take more
than they give. Each holiday season the Free Software Foundation
-- which runs Defective By Design -- releases a Giving Guide to make
it easy for you to choose tech gifts that are DRM-free and respect
recipients' rights as computer users. We'll be launching 2014's guide
Opened a tech news site today? If so, you're probably up to your neck in buzz about today's Apple keynote. Front and center were Apple's new devices, the Apple Watch and iPhone 6. They're pretty and they're trendy, but, as we've been saying for years, those sleek metal finishes hold some of the most sophisticated and unjust restrictions around. On top of that, the company that sells them is a patent bully solely focused on control of the industry and its customers.
On May 6, 2015, the global anti-DRM community will hold our biggest display of unity so far - the 9th annual International Day Against DRM.
This year's International Day Against DRM featured a variety of events in Brazil, Bangladesh, Portugal, and the United States, and we're planning for 2015's Day to be even bigger.
Powerful entertainment and technology companies use Digital
Restrictions Management to restrict our use of digital media. We
organize and build tools to protect our access to it. Our opponents
are strong enough to have the government on their side in most
countries, but when we come together, we are strong too.
During the last year, we've seen Digital Restrictions Management creep farther into the world of technology (including coffee makers and cars), even as we build a stronger and stronger community to fight it. A growing number of people are living within a box constrained by DRM without even knowing it.
Last Friday, we made a powerful statement to the W3C by delivering the verified signatures of over 22,500 people against Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), Big Media's proposal to incorporate DRM support into HTML.
In celebration of International Day Against DRM today, we rolled out the red carpet at W3C to deliver your petition signatures. Internet freedom's most stylish gathered to present W3C with an award for "Best Supporting Role in 'The Hollyweb'," accompanied by over 22,500 verified signatures from members of the public who oppose a proposal that would weave Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into the fabric of the Web.
Today Defective by Design, through the Free Software Foundation, joined twenty-six other organizations in releasing a joint letter to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Web's standards-setting body, condemning Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).