Defective by Design

ArsTechnica on apples "Uniform UX" Defense

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-02-23 20:43

ArsTechnica has an article about Apple and the DRM conundrum. The suggestion is that Apple would never sell both DRMd and DRM free music side by side on the iTMS because of their commitment to a simple and uniform user experience.

Topic:  drm apple itms

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Gizmodo calls for RIAA artist boycott in March

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-02-23 20:16

Gizmodo is calling for a boycott of the RIAA in March by avoiding purchasing music from record labels/artists that are members of the RIAA.

How do you know what labels are part of the RIAA? Gizmodo points to RIAA Radar for a directory.

Topic:  drm RIAA

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Doctorow on Jobs DRM Dance

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-02-23 15:42

Cory Doctorow had a great article in Salon today about Steve jobs tortured DRM position.

We couldn't have said any of this better ourselves. Here are some excerpts from Cory's piece.

I doubt Jobs' sincerity. I suspect he likes DRM because it creates an anti-competitive lock-in to Apple. I think he's trying to shift blame for the much-criticized DRM to the music industry, whose executives are twirling their mustaches and declaring DRM to be the only way forward for their industry.

Topic:  drm apple ipod itms

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BBC holding public consultation on adding DRM to it's content

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Wed, 2007-02-21 12:37

The BBC is holding a Public Consultation as to whether and how to implement DRM on BBC content. They have a form up on their website that allows constituents to air their opinions on a number of questions.

Advogato has a good post about the issues at hand with some recommended answers.

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98% of Financial Times Readers Agree: Ditch DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Tue, 2007-02-20 18:04

The Financial Times is running a poll on their website in which they ask: Should music companies drop DRM? Answer the Poll you can also post a comment.

Topic:  drm poll

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UK Government Responds to Petition to Ban DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Tue, 2007-02-20 17:57

A few months ago blogger and Member Neil Holmes set up a petition on a beta site run by the UK Government.

This week the government posted a response, and unfortunately, they are drinking the Big Media coolaid.

Continue reading 'UK Government Responds to Petition to Ban DRM'.

Framing the DRM Debate

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Tue, 2007-02-20 17:44

Linux World has a great post on "framing" and offers a good alternative example of why stopping DRM is important.

Topic:  drm language fair use

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Microsoft Execs come out in support of DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-02-09 06:05

Forbes is carrying an interview with an MS Exec who says Microsoft loves DRM and is sticking with it, even as Apple's Steve Jobs rails against it.

Topic:  Microsoft drm

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EMI moving closer to offering music without DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-02-09 06:00

I just read on Gizmodo that the NYT reports this morning that EMI is considering opening up "broad swaths" of its catalog for digital download through online retailers without DRM.

The EMI Group, the British music giant, has been considering a plan to offer a broad swath of its recordings for sale online without anti-copying software, executives involved in discussions with the company said.

Topic:  drm music mp3 EMI

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Jobs (and Gates) should "Put their money where the mouths are"

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Thu, 2007-02-08 20:41

In the days since Steve Jobs' open letter basically denouncing DRM and calling for its abolition, we have heard from many of you that Jobs unfairly distances himself from the DRM problem and solution, laying the blame at the feet of the big four music companies.

We wonder if he has forgotten that he is CEO of Pixar, part of the Disney Family. DRM is not just about music, increasingly it is movies and video that are protected by DRM, especially those selections purchased from iTMS.

Instead of laying the responsibility for DRM with the music companies and calling on their customers to influence them, Jobs should ask music fans to join him in directly lobbying the Big Four to drop DRM. He should be joining with Bill Gates and hosting a summit on the issue with Big Media.

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We're winning! Jobs joins Gates in opposition to DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Wed, 2007-02-07 09:59

A year ago I don't think that anyone could have imagined these two stunning announcements from the founders and titular heads of the worlds leading technology and digital music device companies. both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have publicly derided DRM as an impossible mission to secure digital music files with "crippling" DRM.

From Jobs open letter:

The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. 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. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

Topic:  drm apple ipod music itms

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UK Greens Denounce VISTA

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Wed, 2007-01-31 12:58

ZD Net ran a story on the UK Green Party position in opposition to Windows Vista.

Vista requires more expensive and energy-hungry hardware, passing the cost on to consumers and the environment," Wall said. "This will also further exclude the poor from the latest technology, and impose burdensome costs on small and medium businesses who will be forced to enter another expensive upgrade cycle."

Rather than opting for another proprietary OS, the Green Party argues that businesses should look into free software alternatives — such as Linux — as they don't require high-specification hardware. "Free software can run on existing hardware, reduces licensing costs for small businesses and affords important freedoms to consumers. The UK government should capitalise on this opportunity to promote the use of free software in public bodies," added Wall.

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More pictures from the Vista Launch action and BoingBoing Coverage

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Mon, 2007-01-29 21:12

Pictures are starting to surface on Flickr

And BoingBoing picked it up too. Check out Technorati for some other blog hits.

Gates will be on the Daily Show tonight. Look for clips on video sharing sites and be sure to comment on them with links to and

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Vista Launch Coverage: Engadget and others

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Mon, 2007-01-29 14:27

DefectiveByDesign members turned out today in New York City (despite the bitter cold!) to spread the message that Vista's DRM is a danger to computer users. We were joined by folks from the campaign who distributed free software to the guests lining up to attend the launch event.

Engadget got their pictures up before we did.

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Join DefectiveByDesign at the Vista Launch Events in NYC

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-01-26 11:22

The Dawn of Vista DRM - On Monday we'll be turning out to share our "Wow Moments" with Bill Gates and his invited guests in NYC. We tried to get an invite to the events, but, alas, were denied access, so we'll be outside greeting guests as they arrive to the two swank events Microsoft has planned to pitch the Vista Upsell.

First, we'll be at the star studded luncheon at Cipriani's on 42nd Street from noon. Sign up now to join us.

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"Wow starts now"? Software Freedom Activists Stand Up To VISTA Launch

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-01-26 11:02

"Wow starts now"? It's more like "Ow starts now", as consumers start to learn what they will lose by choosing Vista.

DefectiveByDesign has been campaigning against DRM since last May. In that time, consumer and media awareness of the restitrictive technology has increased and consumers have largely turned against it. Even the music industry is contemplating dropping it. Yet even against the growing anti-drm chorus, Microsoft is launching the Vista Operating System which, aside from some new bells and whistles, and an increase in base hardware requirements, is largely a platform for DRM, designed to serve Big Media companies more than individual computer users. Vista represents a step backwards in users' freedom, it is an "upsell" not an "upgrade". While user's rights will be trammeled by the DRM and Treacherous Computing features of Vista, the collatoral damage will be environment as users are forced to abandon perfectly good hardware to meet the new requirements of Vista, generating tons of e-waste.

Topic:  Microsoft drm vista

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Hollywood admits piracy not the problem

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Thu, 2007-01-25 20:19

Ars Technica reported last week on a Hollywood Exec's admission that DRM, for them, is not about piracy, rather about control over the way people interact with copyrighted works.

If we believe Ronald Grover's sources in his BusinessWeek article of last week, the problem is liberal DRM and not piracy, and this is a startling admission. According to him, an unnamed studio executive said that a major reason why studios weren't jumping on board with the iTunes store and other similar services is that their DRM is too lax. "[Apple's] user rules just scare the heck out of us." It's not piracy that's the concern, it's their ability to control how you use the content you purchase.

Topic:  drm itunes movies itms

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BadVista: Tag Vista "DefectiveByDesign" on Amazon

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Tue, 2007-01-23 14:37 has just announced an Amazon tagging campaign like the one we launched against DRMd products. Read the full post on, or got to go to Amazon and start tagging!

You can also help call attention to this story by

Topic:  Microsoft drm tc vista

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DRM is dying and MP3 will be the dominant format

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-01-12 18:03

Eliot Van Buskirk wrote earlier this week the seven reasons why MP3 will be the dominant digital music format. Among them, the record labels don't have a choice if they want to regain control of digital distribution from Apple's iTMS.

Topic:  drm music mp3

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Microsoft Getting Hammered: Vista secured by NSA Spies?

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Thu, 2007-01-11 14:57

Microsoft can't catch a break! A few weeks after the "launch" of the Zune, the Vista operating system caught some serious flack. Now, in a 1-2 punch, it has come to light that spies from the NSA helped to "secure" Vista and Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone which could be described as the iPod Killer's Killer if the iPod Killer (The Zune) were not so pathetic.

"Welcome to the Social" Microsoft!

Meanwhile, over on, the FSF is highl

Continue reading 'Microsoft Getting Hammered: Vista secured by NSA Spies?'.

Major Labels start Ditching DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Thu, 2007-01-11 14:46

Alot is happening in the digital music realm these last few week.s We've heard news that Microsoft is abandoning PlaysForSure DRM to focus exclusively on their Zune DRM. EMI, meanwhile, has abandoned DRM in all new CDs which is great news, and they are also starting to offer mp3s with no drm. Including music by Norah Jones on Yahoo and eMusic.

Topic:  drm music mp3 EMI

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The FSF "Bad Vista" campaign

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-01-05 07:42

In December, the FSF launched the BadVista Campaign to raise awareness about the problems with Microsoft Vista and promote Free software alternatives for computer users.

You can help the Bad Vista Campaign, one way is to create web banners, logos or badges, see the site for details.

Continue reading 'The FSF "Bad Vista" campaign'.

Major labels looking to ditch DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Mon, 2006-12-11 18:38

Last week some record labels started offering MP3s free of DRM (as reported by ArsTechnica, < ahref="" target="new">MSNBS (from the AP) and also engadget and others.

EMI is selling some music on Yahoo Music for 99 cents without DRM. The release is limited in scope and is being billed as an experiment to test the waters of demand.

But we believe that the record lab

Topic:  music mp3

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Britons Petition UK Government to Ban DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Tue, 2006-12-05 08:49

A DBD member in England (Neil Holmes) started a petition on the UK Government's website:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Ban the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies for digital content...

Neil has been joined by hundred of other so far. If you live in the UK or know folks who do, please sign the petition or spread the word!

Continue reading 'Britons Petition UK Government to Ban DRM'.

Newsweek on DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Mon, 2006-11-20 20:06

Newseek ran an article this week on DRM and the growing anti DRM movement that our efforts have been instrumental in over the last few months.

Now, an increasingly vocal grassroots resistance to DRM is cropping up. An anti-DRM campaign called “Defective by Design,” which is organized by the Free Software Foundation, has 15,000 registered members; the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that DRM places limits on “your ability to make lawful use of the music you purchase.” Web sites like and have been launched “to protect individuals’ right to use new digital technologies” and urge boycotts on DRM-tagged content. David Berlind, executive editor of tech trade journal ZDNet, coined his own term for DRM: “Content Restriction, Annulment and Protection.” (Figure out the acronym).

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Violence Erupts over Sony Playstation 3

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Sun, 2006-11-19 11:29

This week as the Sony Playstation 3 went on sale in the US, people have been beaten, stabbed and shot over the new DRM laden gaming console! While we can understand how people might get mad when they find out about all the Digital Restrictions technology built into the PS3 (which features a Blu-Ray player) the idea that people are assaulting others to get their hands on these machines is pretty crazy!

Topic:  sony blu-ray gaming

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Crashing the Zune Party

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Tue, 2006-11-14 08:45

Last night, I and three other DefectiveByDesign members from Seattle met up for a dinner and a beer and then headed over to the launch of the Zune at the War Room on Capital Hill. This being a Microsoft town, I expected a huge crowd, even if it was just Microsofties. We were surprised by the turnout, maybe 150 people waiting in a line snaking around the corner for the doors to open. Almost all were MS people, but we talked to them none the less. The responses were interesting ranging from disgust with out message, to bemusement to outright support.

Topic:  Microsoft zune

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An iPod that tells the truth

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Tue, 2006-11-07 17:04

DBD Member Jeremy Clark recently got a new iPod, (from his blog):

When it came time to choose a free engraving for the free Nano that came with my new laptop (I would never pay dollars for something so obviously broken on purpose) nothing else seemed appropriate. My favorite part is how natural the slogan looks printed on the back and how, if you stretch your imagination a bit, “Defective by Design” almost sounds like a legit Apple slogan (I mean, it’s at least as good as “Life is Random” right?)

Topic:  ipod

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Zune Shirts and Others Available Now

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Thu, 2006-11-02 10:31

The Zune is about to find its way onto store shelves. You can support DefectiveByDesign and show others that the Zune is Defective By Design by buying a shirt.

There are other shirts available for sale.

Topic:  zune shirt

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Messages to Bono

Submitted by PeterB on Mon, 2006-10-30 16:21

[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."

Continue reading 'Messages to Bono'.