PeterB's blog

Kettling Wikileaks

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 hours.)

Day Against DRM: Sign-up Now to Help the Effort!

Tuesday May 4, 2010 will be the international Day Against DRM.

The FSF will be working with other anti-DRM groups and anti-DRM activists from all over the world to raise awareness and mobilize the public. So spread the word by sharing this announcement, and putting the buttons below on your site.

Get ready for the action by signing up here.

These banners link to our article Decade in DRM, that tells the story of the fight against digital restrictions:

Taking the battle to the RIAA

The Free Software Foundation's DefectiveByDesign campaign has set-up a fund to pay for expert witnesses in key RIAA lawsuits brought against US citizens.

BBC iPlayer protest report

Read the Press Reports and Response from the BBC

We have had beautiful weather in London since I arrived in the UK on August 4. But today with the protest about to kick off it's tipping down. I'm in my hired car and "luckily" I get a puncture right outside BBC television center on Wood Lane. With no parking in the area, this gives me 90 minutes for the road side rescue to come and change my tire without getting towed. With hazmat suits, large signs and flyers to drop off, this makes life much easier.

Messages to Bono

[img_assist|nid=849|title=DRM make me sad|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=222|height=240]With more than 5000 names added to the Bono petition, we decided it was time to take a look at some of the 1700+ messages that signers have left for the U2 front man.

What is interesting is how many signers made the connection that digital restrictions on published works and technology will effect development and cultural equality. A selection of messages are posted below.

"Bono, in the same way that the pharmaceutical companies use patents to restrict the poor from getting access to important medicines, so DRM will be used to restrict access to knowledge. At the moment DRM appears to be about music and movies, but within a few years we will see that this was just the beginning. You have the opportunity to help us stop this now."

Stay the Course? The Final Media Revolution...

We are starting to hear more and more doubts expressed that DRM can be a viable business model for the media and technology companies. The "stay the course" voices sound shaky. The problem? It seems that we - their users and customers - don't like DRM, and we won't accept it. We refuse to purchase from them, some circumvent the restrictions and most just go elsewhere. Eric Pickard is the director of advertising strategy and emerging media planning at Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, and his message to the Big Media companies is simple: The people are in control...

London anti-DRM Rally and Police Constable 315 CD

[img_assist|nid=849|title=DRM make me sad|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=370|height=400]
Read Gareth Bowker's full blog from the anti-DRM rally in London on Saturday.

"Yesterday’s Defective by Design awareness campaign in London went very well – far better than I could have hoped. In the end, we had over 20 people helping to hand out over 3,200 leaflets in about 2h30.

...we decided to send a couple of people into the store to leaflet as many people as they could manage before getting thrown out. Kudos has to go to MJ for the ballsy “replace the leaflets in Apple’s leaflet holders with DbD leaflets” which was pretty successful. After they got ejected, we set off, and almost immediately got stopped by a Policeman. The conversation went something like this:


We are totally out of stickers for October 3rd and will let you know when we can fullful additional requests

Announce a meet-up and get your friends together with others in your area, We've distributed stickers to over 300 locations around globe and we will try to connect folks via event on the website in the coming days, so keep checking back. You can also download a PDF template to print your own stickers

October 3rd Declared "Day Against DRM"


"If consumers even know there's a DRM, what it is, and how it works, we've already failed" - Disney Executive.

Defeating DRM is all about awareness. The direct actions that we have taken are all about this. Whether it means protesting outside Apple Stores in Hazmat suits or getting HUGE press coverage for announcing the Bono petition (sign it now). Action gets attention, and creates space for debate. And as our friends at Disney recognize, if there is a debate, we will have won.

Free Software Magazine: "Many people were walking around with DefectiveByDesign stickers"

[img_assist|nid=537|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=240|height=228]More than one thousand technologists in San Francisco wore DefectiveByDesign stickers proclaming their stance against DRM - that for free software developers DRM represents an attack on Freedom #1, the freedom to modify the code.

David Sugar reports from the conference: "Many people were walking around with DefectiveByDesign stickers.... I love this particular campaign. In fact, I believe it is one of the best grass-roots activist efforts the FSF has undertaken in recent years."

Linux Journal: "the [DefectiveByDesign] campaign introduces a degree of activism previously unkown in the FOSS communities"

Bruce Byfield at Linux Journal writes "Starting from scratch, in less than three months, the [DefectiveByDesign] campaign has grown to 7000 members. This number is impressive, especially since the campaign introduces a degree of activism previously unknown in the free and open source software communities."

Bruce gives us his Five minute guide to opposing DRM.

Transcript of Ray Beckerman talking about the RIAA law suits

If you couldn't make it to the conference call with Ray Beckerman, a lawyer representing clients in cases against the RIAA, you can listen or download the audio from


Gregory Heller DefectiveByDesign Campaign Manager:
So without further ado I turn it over to Peter Brown the Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation

Peter Brown:

Thanks, Gregory. And welcome, everybody.

International Herald Tribune: For Apple, Europe becoming a tougher customer

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."

Awkward questions for the RIAA and MPAA

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?"

The RIAA, and the actions of a cartel

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.

Richard Stallman meets with French presidential front runner Ségolène Royal

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."

Bono Delegation?

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? 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.

Newsforge: Canadian Privacy Advocates proclaim 'DRM Spyware'

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.

Next Action: Freedom Rings at the RIAA

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:
Postal Code**
First Name Last Name Mobile (SMS)***

Apple - get ready to be tied in knots

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

Join Us

Postal Code**
First Name Last Name Mobile (SMS)***

When technology journalists get that sour taste

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.

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