Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribue ran a fantastic column this morning on the Amazon Unbox service, DRM and our Day of Action:
Amazon's Unbox program is going to run in the background on
your computer and send information back to the company about your
"operating system, software, amount of available disk space and Internet
connectivity" as well as what you're doing with those videos, all in
order to continue to "manage rights" associated with them, says the
DBD Member and Apple Protester Luke Gotszling recently wrote on his blog about an article at UIL about research being conducted there:
The article ultimately let me down as it details how Negar Kiyavash’s research is fundamentally designed to restrict the public and as a result is against the mission statement of the University of Illinois. The mission statement contains that a purpose of the University is “[To remain] a leader in the creation and synthesis of knowledge for the benefit of current and future generations.” Unfortunately, Kiyavash’s research does exactly the opposite; it is knowledge designed to restrict both current and future generations. More specifically, multimedia companies will be able to combine this research with the rights afforded them by the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to track and restrict users from making fair use copies, excerpts for class projects, and other rights entitled under Copyright Law.
A DBD member, Daniel, wrote me recently pointing my attention to to Sound on Sound magazine's August 2006 issue, specifically a Steve Hillage quote on page 95:
"many indie sites sell DRM-free MP3s, seeing DRM as an unnecessary inconvenience. Another option, adopted on System 7's site, is to give fans the choice; DRM versions of tracks, at 79p each, are cheaper than the 99p non-DRM MP3s, reflecting DRM's inherent inconvenience. However, Steve Hillage says they're now moving to MP3 only, because the MP3 files have been outselling the DRM ones by a ratio of 15 to one, despite the latter's cheaper price."
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Folks probably saw and heard last week that Yahoo has started offering at least one DRM free song for sale on Yahoo Music.
Read one of the many articles on this development.
Yahoo is clearly trying our something new by selling a song at a premium without DRM, just a high quality mp3 download. We'll see if music fans are willing to page the extra price.
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?"
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."
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? MusicCreators.ca 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.
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.
Tim over at Canadian Linux Nerd mentions the DefectiveByDesign Freedom Rings day of action in post that highlights some of the problems with DRM in music.
...he'd bought a new CD but it refused to play on his Mac. I asked him to read me all the labels on the CD and sure enough it had a "Plays for sure" label. I explained that this meant it would for sure not play on his Mac and advised him to return to HMV where he bought it. He was of course enraged by this, I pointed out that he had in the past told me I was being unreasonable for fighting DRM and that he thought that the Digital Restrictions Management on his iTunes music store music was reasonable even though such music can only be played in iTunes or on his iPod. Since then he has converted all his iTunes music to CD and signed up for Defectivebydesign.
by John Sullivan
FSF Program Administrator
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.
Gizmodo's Travis Hudson writes "Last time I checked you didn’t need biohazard suits and helmets to protect against DRM, but maybe these guys know something that we don’t."
CNN's Oliver Ryan writes that protestors in hazmat suits won't shed a tear for a Microsoft demise. Whilst the suggestion that a world without Microsoft would create "panic in the streets", is widely rejected by Digg readers.
ZDNet's David Berlind posted today about yesterday's action. While there is no new news here, Berlind does give us a little advice. "DRM" is not an acronym that is sexy.
DRM needs a special name. A name that you can sink your teeth into like "spam." A name like "CRAP."
He goes on to say that Richard Stallman has come up with the best words behind that acronym: "Cancellation, Restriction and Punishment"