Defective by Design

Fight the Canadian DMCA!

Submitted by mattl on Tue, 2008-06-17 11:22

On Wednesday, Industry Minister Jim Prentice introduced a bill that BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow described as making it "flatly illegal to break any kind of digital lock, or to violate terms in one of those absurd end-user license agreements that make you promise to agree to let the record industry kick your teeth in and drink all your beer, just for the dubious privilege of paying for a song at iTunes or watching a video on Viacom's website.".

Doctorow also points out that "[t]his amounts to private law: under Prentice's plan, Parliament would get out of the business of making copyright law, simply enforcing whatever copyright law the entertainment industry itself dreamed up". Michael Geist, law professor at the University of Ottawa states, the education provisions "[t]urn librarians into locksmiths" by requiring that they expire their digital materials after no more than five days.

This is an extremely troubling case, as all signs point to this being far worse than the US's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Let's not forget that Adobe under the DMCA had a Russian programmer, Dmitry Sklyarov, arrested and imprisoned. His "crime"? Distributing a product designed to remove locks from ebooks so that they could be fully used like regular books.

Especially given that consumers are rejecting DRMed media and moving toward services like eMusic, Amazon MP3, Magnatune and Jamendo, this would be a terrible law to pass. Geist notes that "the DMCA provisions are worse than the U.S. and the consumer exceptions riddled with limitations" -- the provisions include a potential $20,000 per infringement damage award that could see Canadian citizens threatened with legal troubles for uploading a snippet of a song to any video-sharing site.

Canada's excuse is that it needs the DMCA in order to comply with the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty. But this is no reason at all -- We need to make it clear that an unjust treaty cannot justify a further unjust law!

What can be done? Take action!

We simply cannot let this pass.

  • No matter where you live in the world, if you are a copyright holder on any kind of work -- song, film, article, computer program -- please email the officials below to let them know that you do not want this law and that the people who have been demanding it do not speak for you.
  • If you are Canadian, please write to your MP to protest the fast-tracking of this bill.

The Canadian government needs to hear that this law is Defective by Design!

UPDATE: Canadian Colalition for Electronic Rights have a simple form for Canadian citizens to easily email Prentice and others

Please Digg this story

Photo credit: Heidi Wholeness at Flickr

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Zuneral commemorates the death of DRM

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Fri, 2008-05-23 14:34

Take action: Digg the invitation, attend the Zuneral.

Harvard Free Culture has entombed an iPod and a Zune in cement in preparation for a Zuneral, to commemorate the death of Digital Restrictions Management.

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Boycott Windows Media Center

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Tue, 2008-05-20 14:41

    Take action:
  • Digg the blog post.
  • Boycott Windows Media Center!

Microsoft is using DRM to prevent users from saving certain television shows to their hard drive. Saving such streams is a normal feature that comes with Windows Media Center, but they have locked you out of

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Welcoming Boston's new Apple Store

Submitted by JohnSullivan on Fri, 2008-05-16 12:51

Last night the DRM Elimination Crew attended the grand opening of Apple's new store in Boston -- now its largest US store.

The clear glass front of the store stands in stark contrast to Apple's unethical business practices, including using opaque Digital Restrictions Management software to take rights away from its customers.

Topic:  drm apple action boston

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Libraries: Eliminate DRM!

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Thu, 2008-05-08 15:05

MSN Music to shut down, leaving DRM customers in the lurch

Submitted by JohnSullivan on Wed, 2008-04-23 13:05

Microsoft is ceasing support for its MSN Music service. After August 31, 2008, people who have bought music from the service will no longer be able to move that music to different computers, or even change the operating system on their current computers.

Topic:  Microsoft drm music

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Help improve our Guide to DRM-free living

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Tue, 2008-04-08 14:14

    Take action:
  • Submit new sites for our Guide to DRM-free living.

Over the past eighteen months, the music industry has almost universally turned its back on Digital Restrictions Management. Major distributors like are marketing their music as "DRM-free MP3 music downloads." and companies like are continuing to

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CBC to offer popular TV program as a DRM-free download

Submitted by JohnSullivan on Thu, 2008-03-20 10:05

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has some excellent news for DRM-free living.

The CBC will be the first major North American broadcaster to release one of its programs without Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). On top of that, they will be using BitTorrent to distribute the program, which is "Canada's Next Great Prime Minister".

Topic:  drm tv

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U.S. Patent law is defective by design

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Thu, 2008-02-28 10:41

Take action:

  • Digg the Arstechnica story.
  • Visit the ESP site

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Library Action: Good news on a cold day

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Tue, 2008-02-12 09:28

Libraries: Kick DRM out!

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Tue, 2008-02-05 13:10

Apple says you can't read data on your own computer

Submitted by mattl on Fri, 2008-01-25 08:15

It's yet another example of what we just talked about -- DRM doesn't just restrict copying of music files, it infects your entire system and turns it against you. Apple is explicitly preventing DTrace from examining or recording data for processes which don't "permit" tracing -- processes like, say iTunes.

Topic:  drm apple dtrace

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Apple DRM obstructs legal creativity

Submitted by mattl on Thu, 2008-01-24 16:02

People are seeing Digital Restrictions Management for what it is this week, thanks to Apple's "Fairplay" DRM scheme.

Topic:  drm apple

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Don't let the EU sanction DRM

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Fri, 2008-01-04 15:12

Action alert: Don't let the EU sanction DRM

Another nasty DRM surprise from Netflix

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Thu, 2008-01-03 14:56

Netflix DRM won't stream to HDD

When you buy into DRM technology, you put control over your computer in someone else's hands. This guarantees that unpredictable and unpleasant things will happen. Those with the DRM keys can decide that you no longer have the right to access the media you bought unless you agree to some new terms or buy some new tech, like Major League Baseball and Google Video have both done recently.

Topic:  drm netflix hdd

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Don't let DRM get between you and a good book

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Thu, 2007-12-20 07:57

DRM locks ebooks

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Together we are Fighting DRM

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Fri, 2007-12-14 08:36

Defective By Design Takes Action

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The Kindle Swindle

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Wed, 2007-12-12 07:36

Jeff Bezos, CEO of - Photo by O'Reilly at Flickr

. Tag the Kindle and Kindle ebooks on Amazon.

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Taking the battle to the RIAA

Submitted by PeterB on Thu, 2007-11-22 21:43

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.

Topic:  RIAA beckerman

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Tell Netflix: No DRM

Submitted by JoshuaGay on Tue, 2007-10-16 08:52

If you subscribe to Netflix, here's an easy way to let them know that you will not be using their DRM download service. All you need to do is...

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Warner Waking Up?

Submitted by JohnSullivan on Fri, 2007-09-21 13:28

It's taking a while, but maybe Warner Music is finally starting to get the hint. They didn't get it after Steve Jobs showed initial signs of comprehension, so we decided back in April that someone needed to initiate a

Topic:  drm music warner

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DRM - Trash Vista, Not Your Computer

Submitted by PeterB on Wed, 2007-08-29 07:48

Here at DefectiveByDesign we have been working towards the goal of making Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) a socially unacceptable technology practice. That message is spreading.

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News reports and response from the BBC's Ashley Highfield

Submitted by PeterB on Wed, 2007-08-15 03:40

Read the protest report

Topic:  drm bbc iPlayer

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BBC iPlayer protest report

Submitted by PeterB on Wed, 2007-08-15 01:08

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.

Topic:  drm bbc iPlayer

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BBC Corrupted

Submitted by PeterB on Fri, 2007-07-27 09:33

The harm being caused by DRM, and those with their heads In the sand

Zune DRM Cracked

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Wed, 2007-07-18 23:43

Wired and others are carrying the story that Microsoft's ZUNE DRM has been cracked. Proving again, that just about any DRM scheme will be cracked sooner or later.

Topic:  Microsoft drm zune

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Awesome Anti-DRM T-shirts

Submitted by JohnSullivan on Fri, 2007-07-13 13:41

TorrentFreak has announced the winners of their anti-DRM t-shirt contest. You can order shirts printed with the designs, or you can download the source files and print your own. The winners are strikingly effective designs and are a great way to get people thinking about DRM—I just ordered #3 for myself. Kudos to all 50 of the entering artists for taking the time to apply their skills to help communicate this important message, and congratulations to the winners!

Topic:  drm t-shirts

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Behind-The-Scenes Look at How DRM Becomes Law from Cory Doctorow

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Wed, 2007-07-11 22:12

This afternoon Information Week published a great article by Cory Doctorow about how big corporations and shadowy associations and working groups collude to develop DRM schemes and the laws that mandate them.

The piece is very long, and very good. Everyone who is interested in this sort of thing should give it a read and then tell your friends and family about it.

Here is a choice excerpt from the beginning:

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HMV joining online DRM Free MP3 Sellers

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Tue, 2007-07-03 12:48

HMV seems like the latest big name to join the DRM Free MP3 sales market. Looks like they plan to undercut iTMS in an attempt to increase sales.

HMV and other bricks and mortar music stores haven't been doing so well of late as sales of physical CDs have been dropping.

Topic:  drm music mp3

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