This article provides an important back story to our DRM campaign. Here at DefectiveByDesign we try to give our readers the bigger picture of how DRM is a threat to society's freedom: it's more than just about access to music and movies.
("Kettling" refers to the police tactic of surrounding a large group of
protestors in the middle of a protest and keeping them under siege for
Thomas Crampton of the International Herald Tribune reports on moves in Europe to counter Apple's imposition of digital restrictions:
Those in the United States who are battling against controls placed on digital music have been following moves in Europe with envy.
"Europe has managed to shift the debate into a conflict between citizens and digital controls," said Peter Brown, executive director of the Free Software Foundation, a group that opposes proprietary software. "This is great because the discussion has been limited to technology circles for too long."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an excellent list of "Frequently Awkward Questions for the Entertainment Industry".
An example for the RIAA is:
"DRM has clearly failed to stop songs from getting on file sharing
networks, but it does prevent me from moving lawfully purchased music onto my iPod and other portable devices. Unlike the major record labels, many popular indie labels offer mp3 downloads through sites like eMusic. Why won't you let fans purchase mp3s as well?"
An example for the MPAA is:
"Why are there region-code restrictions on DVDs? How does this prevent copyright infringement? Is it illegal for me to buy or and use a region-free DVD player, or to modify a DVD player to be region-free?"
In our fight against DRM we are faced with the collusion of what would normally be competitors. All the Big Media companies act as one in their insistence that these restrictions must be put in place. And they all act as one in their RIAA fronted law suits.
You would normally expect to see competitors seek out a competitive advantage over each other. You would normally expect to see one release their music and video in formats more agreeable to their customers. What's up?
These are the actions of a cartel.
Next Wednesday July 19, at 3pm EDT (noon PDT), we have arranged a conference call you can join, and listen to attorney Ray Beckerman describe what this cartel is up to with the RIAA fronted law suits and the vital action that needs to occur in the next few months.
Free Software Foundation (FSF) President Richard Stallman, met with French presidential candidate Ségolène Royal, and they agreed a joint statement. On DRM and the recent French copyright bill they say, "By giving a privileged legal status to digital restrictions (DRM), the bill "copyrights and related rights in the information society" (DADVSI) is going in the wrong direction. It will thus be necessary to examine from scratch the legal framework created by the DADVSI law at the French level and to contribute to the development of a European and international legal framework more favorable to the sharing of works and knowledge."
It's time for technologists and artists to form a coalition against DRM
With the launch of the Bono 10,000 signature petition
, we achieved one of our main goals, discussion of DRM in the mainstream press. In the first 24 hours we had over 1,000 signatures added to the petition, and now we are looking to arrange an appointment with Bono.
One question that has come up is who would we send to represent us all? Should we send artists who have already taken a stand against DRM? MusicCreators.ca lists the artists Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan. Or how about artists who have been leaders in digital activism, like Grateful Dead lyricist and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) co-founder, John Perry Barlow.
Bruce Byfield writes A coalition of public interest groups and academic privacy experts has released a public letter and background paper to the Canadian government stating their concerns about digital rights management (DRM) technologies and their legal status."
They write,"DRM is used by some copyright holders ostensibly to control access to and use of copyright works. In fact, DRM technology can be used to override fundamental privacy protections. DRM typically uses surveillance to monitor and collect detailed information about people’s access to and use of creative works.
Freedom Rings at the RIAA
Update: June 23rd, 9:30am Eastern
-As of last night, over 3,600 people have joined this campaign to stand up for freedom and against DRM. Join today and give a piece of mind to executives at the IFPI (Germany), BPI (UK), SNEP (France), CRIA (Canada) and the RIAA (US). The action has begun and will continue until late tonight. When you sign up below, you will be given a page that provides information on executives at the these orgs, their phone numbers, and results from our calls!
Join NOW to participate in this action:
Let the fun begin! We will be on-site tomorrow from 10am (local time) getting suited-up and you can expect the action to start at 10:30am - remember to bring those cameras!
Apple Store - 1 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Apple Store - 679 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Apple Store - 4702 NE University Village Pl, Seattle, WA 98105
Apple Store - 100 Cambridge Side Place, Cambridge, MA 02141
Apple Store - 767 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10153
Apple Store - 160 Walt Whitman Rd. Huntington Station, NY 11746h
Apple Store - 6121 West Park Blvd. Plano, TX 75093
Apple Store - 189 The Grove Drive Los Angeles, CA 90036
Neil McAllister Senior Editor at InfoWorld is disappointed by our activism, and if his language is anything to judge by, we may have set him on course for some serious heart burn. In a piece entitled Free Software Foundation: Free as in do what I say, McAllister suggests FSF members and activists who turned out to protest DRM at last weeks WinHEC2006 are "cut from the PETA mold", and that the campaign is telling you that "God is on its side"(?). He suggests our description of DRM as Digital Restrictions Management warrants the renaming of the FSF to the "Fundamentalist Software Foundation", and gives us imagery of "a bridge from North Korea to the Sudan"! Who says there is no passion in technology writing - pass the antacids.
Gizmodo's Travis Hudson writes "Last time I checked you didn’t need biohazard suits and helmets to protect against DRM, but maybe these guys know something that we don’t."
CNN's Oliver Ryan writes that protestors in hazmat suits won't shed a tear for a Microsoft demise. Whilst the suggestion that a world without Microsoft would create "panic in the streets", is widely rejected by Digg readers.