The fight against DRM often pits us against some of the biggest companies and the most dominant ways of thinking in the technology business. What gives us the independence to speak out -- and the power to make your voice heard --is the support of our members. Now, we need your help to keep Defective by Design strong in 2013.
by Libby Reinish and Kÿra
Holiday season is upon us, which means a bombardment of advertising for the latest and greatest tech toys, and the onslaught of enticing deals is extremely effective. On Cyber Monday, hordes of virtual shoppers took to the Web in search of the newest gadgets to bestow upon their loved ones.
Imagine if you came home and discovered all of your bookshelves ransacked, their contents nowhere to be found. That's what happened to Amazon customer Linn, but the bookshelves were digital. Three years ago, Amazon showed the world that they have the power to delete copies of books from readers' Kindles en masse, and now they are finally taking heat for exerting this power over readers' entire libraries.
Awareness has been spreading among individuals, businesses and other organizations that DRM is a completely unnecessary restriction of freedom, and it drives people away. As that awareness spreads, going "DRM-Free" becomes more and more valuable for patrons. To really build upon that image and to provide a resource for people to learn about why being DRM-Free matters, we've created this logo for suppliers to to proudly advertise that their files all come unencumbered by restrictive technologies.
The success of DRM-free bundles has been a powerful counterargument to the claim that Digital Restrictions Management is necessary for sustainable digital publishing. These bundles are forming around music and literature, and really showcase being DRM-free as a major selling point. Now, the Big Bang Bundle by StoryBundle has just launched, and the Humble Music Bundle has just a couple hours to go!
We've just finished a major update of the Guide to DRM-free Living with dozens of new places to get ebooks, movies, and music without DRM and a page of worst-offenders. There have been some exciting developments in the realm of DRM opposition on ebooks, like Tor/Forge dropping DRM on ebooks, and we wanted to spruce up the guide to reflect all the progress that's been made.
Blizzard has released the long-awaited game Diablo 3 to much fanfare, and yet to many gamers, much disappointment and frustration because of the game's DRM system. It requires a permanent internet connection to play -- moving much of the in-game interaction and logic to the network. Blizzard is using Diablo 3 to operate an online auction house, using real-world currency or in-game gold, which in turn can be exchanged between players to purchase weapons, materials and upgrades for your in-game character.
Friday, May 4th was the fourth International Day Against DRM, and wow — what a day!
We were supported by our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, the Accessible Computing Foundation, Fight for the Future, APRIL, and our sister organizations, FSF France, FSF India and FSF Europe.
On May 4th, members of the Defective by Design DRM Elimination Crew all over the world will join together at local events to protest Digital Restrictions Management.
Events in Boston, Madrid, London and Toronto are already coming together, and more are on the way. See http://dayagainstdrm.org/ for the latest events.
Let us know where you are located, so we can contact you about events in your area!
Speaking at the Digital Book World Conference in New York last week, Matteo Berlucchi, CEO of Anobii, urged major book publishers to abandon their use of DRM on ebooks. HarperCollins, Penguin, and Random House each have a stake in the ebook retail and social networking company based in the UK.
Boston's Louis CK has a new show on his website, but he's doing things a little differently with this one. To quote his site: "No DRM, no regional restrictions, no crap. You can download this file, play it as much as you like, burn it to a DVD, whatever."
This is an adult show with adult themes. Not for children. 18+
https://buy.louisck.net/purchase -- $5 for the show. 1.2Gb download with accompanying Ogg Theora stream available.
Thinking of doing some holiday shopping? We hope that when purchasing for loved ones and friends that you'll consider avoiding companies and products designed to restrict freedom and consider supporting companies and organizations that defend freedom.
To help you make informed shopping decision and to avoid products that are defective by design, we've put together a short 2011 Holiday Buying Guide. We will be updating the guide throughout the holiday season, so please keep coming back for new tips and suggestions.
Amazon came out with their newest line of Kindle ebook readers today, including the appropriately named "Kindle Fire".
To quote their TV commercial: "The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all."
This device does not kindle that fire -- it extinguishes it, with more of the same digital restrictions.
Let's look at the facts:
If you haven't seen Sharing by xkcd, it's worth a look.
In the strip, some friends discover a tree with a USB port sticking out of it. Upon connecting a computer to it, they discover an ebook -- Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, as a DRM'd Amazon Kindle file.
The book cannot be opened and sharing is not allowed.
A few weeks ago, we asked you to reach out to Barnes & Noble about their Nook eBook reader. Many of you did, and while Barnes & Noble have yet to formally respond, we can continue to put pressure on them.
The current news is that Amazon plans to launch a color Android device, much like the Nook color. If we continue to put pressure on B&N, we can use this increased pressure from Amazon as a reason to make the Nook a device for everyone, not just large book publishers.
American book retailer Barnes & Noble have launched the third model of their Nook ebook reader. We've previously written about the Nook, but until recently the Nook did not get much attention due to the limited options available.
Things have changed and now the Nook represents a real threat to users because of its invasive DRM, close relationship with DRM champions Adobe, and because of its use of the Android operating system -- which might lead many to think the Nook is not defective by design.
The music streaming service Spotify uses Digital Restrictions Management (DRM); push back by saying NO to Spotify's invitations.
After being available in Europe for some time, Spotify has launched in the United States with a publicity campaign inviting people to use the service.
Our conclusion: Spotify is using DRM to prevent things legally permitted even by overly strict US copyright law, making Spotify defective by design.
If you've logged into YouTube recently, you've probably noticed that they're pushing their Rental service pretty hard. YouTube Rentals brings full-length independent movies to YouTube, at a price -- they use Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) to severely limit how the videos can be used. Many devices, including certain Android phones, are unable to access them at all.
This about-face goes against exactly what made YouTube useful in the first place -- the unencumbered sharing of video.
Over a period of 10 days, 138 people from twenty different countries made donations of $10 or more in order to send Nintendo's President and COO, Reggie Fils-Aime, a total of 220 bricks.
This year's Day Against DRM on May 4th was an overall success. Thanks to all of you who participated! Some of the highlights include:
14 blog posts in 4 languages — it was especially nice to see our friends over at Creative Commons joining us in the celebration.
In a little over a week, we surpassed our goal of taking 200 brick orders for Nintendo, to protest their claim that they have the right to "brick" (disable) users' devices when used outside of Nintendo's outrageous Terms of Service.
UPDATE: We surpassed our goal of 200 bricks! But, if you would still like to place an order, it is not too late. So, order your brick now.
Here are some quick and easy ways you can help!
In mid-April, Sony's PlayStation Network servers were compromised and over 77 million customers had their personal data exposed. Two weeks after Sony learned of the breach, they issued a public apology. As part of this, they also are offering a bribe they are calling the "welcome back" program.
Clear your schedule for a worldwide day of action against DRM. On Wednesday, May 4th, we will be taking action to raise the stakes and increase awareness about the threats of Digital Restrictions Management -- in a very significant way!
We asked you to email Sony CEO Howard Stringer during our last call to action and Sony responded by shutting off his email address. Many of you then sent emails to the next email address we posted, Nicole Seligman, Sony Executive VP and General Counsel. Your action was effective — it was an important part of the overall public pressure put on Sony to back off.