Defective by Design

iPad letter to Steve Jobs

Dear Mr. Jobs:

I'm sure you saw our signs, flyers, and supporters outside your iPad launch event, warning media attendees and the public about your expanding use of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM).

In a single day, over 5,000 people signed our accompanying online petition, and far more than that voted the story toward the top of all major social news sites.

In 2007, in response to our criticism, you said, "Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat." You bragged about how 97% of the music on an average iPod came from somewhere other than iTunes.

Yet with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and now the iPad, you are using DRM that forces users to receive 100% of their software from Apple. You still force movies and other media distributed through the iTunes store to have DRM. From the looks of things, you will be restricting ebooks with DRM as well.

You talk a lot about creativity and freedom, and you market your products that way, but your actions speak otherwise.

5,000 people in 24 hours took time out of their day to call you out on this, and demand change. There is still time for you to do the right thing in the next 60 days, before the iPad actually goes on sale. You can drop the DRM from the device and the App Store, and actually embrace the ideals you claim to stand for -- creativity, freedom, and individuality.

We hope you will do the right thing, and proudly display this tablet at Apple HQ as a reminder of why you made that decision.

Best,
John, Holmes, Peter, and Matt
The DRM Elimination Crew
DefectiveByDesign.org
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