Defective by Design

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Apple announces all music on iTunes to go DRM-free -- no word on movies, TV shows, games, audiobooks and applications

Submitted by mattl on Thu, 2009-01-08 15:11

As you've no doubt heard, Apple, the last major retailer of DRM-encumbered music announced, live at MacWorld, that all iTunes music will be going DRM-free. Today, some 8 million songs and music videos are already available DRM-free, via iTunes Plus.

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EU Comissioner Slams Apple's DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Mon, 2007-03-12 14:06

This from Gizmo Cafe: An EU Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Meglena Kuneva, slammed Apple for it's DRM. She said, "Do you find it reasonable that a CD will play in all players, but an iTunes song will only plan on an iPod? It doesn’t to me. Something must change.".

Topic:  drm apple ipod itms europe eu

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iRony event video

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-03-09 16:31

As part of last October's Day Against DRM, folks from FreeCulture Harvard, Free Culture Boston and the MIT Media Lab, held an event they dubbed iRony to help people install RockBox on iPods. This short video explains the problems with DRM and iPods, the benefits of RockBox, and talks a bit about the event.

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Open Letter to Steve Jobs

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Wed, 2007-03-07 13:17

Our Open Letter to Steve Jobs hit the top of Digg and Boing Boing on Wednesday morning causing some site load problems. We reached out initial target of 1000 signatures in just 5 hours. Read the letter and sign it today and lets see how many we can get by April 1.

Topic:  drm apple itunes ipod itms

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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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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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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 stopdrmnow.org and digitalfreedom.org 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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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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DRM not part of a viable business model (Billboard)

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Thu, 2006-10-19 12:36

Last week Billboard (the music industry publication) ran a great article about DRM and the digital music market. The article was picked up by Reuters and ran in many other publications. An article like this would have been almost unthinkable in a recording industry publication just a few months ago!

What's more, opponents insist that DRM, in fact, does nothing to protect music. Virtually every form of DRM has been hacked, including Apple's FairPlay and Microsoft's WMA encryption of tethered subscription files. Not all digital music consumers are aware of these workarounds, but tend to discover them the minute they find they can't play their music on their device of choice.

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Apple Got Cored in NYC

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Sat, 2006-09-30 17:33

[img_assist|nid=845|title=Apple Store 5th Ave|desc=photo credit http://diabloadvocati.deviantart.com/gallery/|link=none|align=right|width=265|height=400]Members of FreeCulture.org, New Yorkers for Fare Use and DefectiveByDesign all turned out for today's precursor to October 3rd.

WE talked to shoppers and passersbuy distributing stickers and leaflets about the dangers of DRM. Apple security didn't seem too happy with us, but the people we talked to were all interested and were pretty pissed to learn about the privacy violations and use restrictions of DRM schemes that Big Media are pushing.

Topic:  apple itunes ipod mac itms

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Taking another bite at the Apple

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Wed, 2006-09-27 17:53

With 100,000 DRM warning labels now distributed, it's time to start the action. Join one. Start one.

Join us in New York and London.

On Saturday, September 30th, hazmat suited DefectiveByDesign members will gather at the flagship Apple stores in New York and London, These high profile events will kick-off awareness for "Oct 3rd, Day Against DRM"

Topic:  apple itunes ipod

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Apple copy-protection bad for business

Submitted by lev on Wed, 2006-07-26 08:12

Cory Doctorow has written a spot-on new column over at Information Week on how Apple iTunes' DRM is bad for business (not just customers). It's a great overview of the problems associated with DRM, in language that is fairly accessible. What's interesting is his tone, though, which seems to target big record companies -- laying out for them how their insistence on DRM is shooting them in the foot, putting them at Apple's beck and call.

Read Cory's article...

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Richard Stallman meets with French presidential front runner Ségolène Royal

Submitted by PeterB on Wed, 2006-07-05 06:21

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."

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Bono Delegation?

Submitted by PeterB on Tue, 2006-07-04 20:08

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.

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"Apple are the friendly face of DRM"

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Wed, 2006-06-21 21:35

Yesterday, Ian Clarke, one of our LA Freedom Fighters wrote:

Attacking Apple effectively will have much more impact than making a smaller impact on a number of companies/organizations that include Apple. Apple has built a brand based on user and creator friendliness. They should not be permitted to bathe in the glow of helping creators and user-friendliness while propagating user-hostile technology like DRM. Apple needs a strong incentive to use their leverage with media companies to roll back DRM restrictions - right now, very little such incentive exists.

Our June 10th actions at Apple stores across the country continue to get press, even as much as a week after the fact. The chorus of activists dissatisfied with Apple's current position on DRM continues to grow.

Topic:  apple ipod itune

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Video of the SF Apple Action from Kent Bye

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Tue, 2006-06-20 17:15

Kent Bye of the Echo Chamber Project and Ebb and Flow posted this video of the SF Apple Action. It is very well produced, and does a good job of presenting our position WRT Apple/iTunes.

Topic:  apple itunes ipod video

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Reuters: iTunes at centre of digital rights protest

Submitted by lev on Mon, 2006-06-19 09:29

Over the weekend, Reuters foregrounded the DefectiveByDesign direct action in their DRM roundup. News about DRM keeps popping up everywhere, which is great news for the campaign. Keep spreading the word!

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TechNewsWorld: iTunes Protesters Crank Up the Volume

Submitted by lev on Mon, 2006-06-19 09:13

TechNewsWorld has a decent overview of DRM-related news in the last two weeks. Two paragraphs are devoted to the hard work of the DRM Elimination Crew - good work freedom fighters!

Read the whole story...

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Seattle: DRM Elimination Crew denied entry

Submitted by lev on Mon, 2006-06-12 14:04

Local Seattle website Seattlest published a story about Defective By Design volunteers facing resistance from University Village security guards on June 10th.

Read the full story...

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Macworld UK labels DBD "savvy"

Submitted by lev on Mon, 2006-06-12 13:13

Jonny Evans, reporting for Macworld UK, places the recent DefectiveByDesign flashmobs in an international context: "The group is perhaps a little more savvy than European regulators. The group contends that by restricting how software or files can be used, DRM-equipped products are 'defective by design'."

Read the rest of the article here...

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plasticboy: Apple Store Action

Submitted by lev on Mon, 2006-06-12 12:57

Over at Plasticboy.com, Ben weighs in with his impressions of the June 10th event: The event was a lot of fun, and with similar events going on in cities across the country hopefully it will raise awareness and get people talking about DRM.

Read the post...

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June 10th Flashmobs: news is spreading

Submitted by lev on Mon, 2006-06-12 12:35

David Chartier reports on the nation-wide, coordinated flashmobs over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog. People are starting to talk about Digital Restrictions Management. We can all add our voices to the comments and discussions taking place.

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BoingBoing: Local freedom fighters pull out all the stops

Submitted by lev on Mon, 2006-06-12 07:56

A hilarious picture from the San Francisco flashmob on June 10th is up at BoingBoing. Freedom Fighters dug out the following quote from Apple CEO Steve Jobs: "If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own." Local DBD volunteers printed the quote out as a large banner, and brought it with them to the June 10th event. Way to go, fellow technologists!

The quote in question, from a 2002 Wall Street Journal interview, can be found over at Macworld.

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NewsForge: June 10th flashmobs a success

Submitted by lev on Mon, 2006-06-12 07:43

Over at NewsForge, Bruce Byfield gives an in-depth examination of the June 10th flashmobs organized by volunteer members of Defective By Design around the country. The article notes that, "DRM...is a complex issue," and quotes FSF Executive Director Peter Brown, who points out that the topic "deserves time and space to [be discussed] rationally. When this discussion happens, we win."

Brown also stressed that Defective By Design is a coalition. "We don't ask that everyone who turns up for these events should be aligned with what we stand for," Brown stresses. "A lot of people turn out to these demonstrations just because they don't like a particular use of DRM. Or they may have their own ideas about DRM. Defective By Design is there to be an action center for anyone who has a reason for disliking DRM. [All] we stand for is a very clear message: DRM needs to be stopped."

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Flash Mobs Covered in Business Week

Submitted by lev on Mon, 2006-06-12 07:15

Once again, Freedom Fighters make the frontpage of BusinessWeek.com. In an article analysing the growing response against Digital Restrictions Management across Europe, Arik Hesseldahl draws attention to the successful, nation-wide demonstrations held on June 10th, 2006.

STATESIDE PROTESTS. As the outcry in Europe is spreading, there is some opposition to Apple's business practices in the U.S. A group called the Free Software Foundation carried out protests on June 10 at seven Apple retail stores in cities that included New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle.

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San Francisco: Video of the Action

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Sun, 2006-06-11 13:03

Just saw this video of the action in San Francisco up on Google Video.

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Business Week: A Growing Racket Over iTunes

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2006-06-09 21:18

Business Week just published this story on their front page in advance of our coordinated DRM Action at Apple Stores on Saturday.

The "Defective by Design" protests are not aimed at Apple (AAPL) in particular, but at what the Free Software Foundation sees as a growing trend toward legal restrictions that bind digital content to particular playing devices.


"This isn't intended to attack Apple and its innovations, but really to draw attention to the existence of DRM technologies, and how they restrict what consumers can do with their music," says Ted Teah, who maintains a directory of free software for the Free Software Foundation.

Topic:  apple itunes ipod press

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Apple - get ready to be tied in knots

Submitted by PeterB on Fri, 2006-06-09 09:24

Let the fun begin! We will be on-site tomorrow from 10am (local time) getting suited-up and you can expect the action to start at 10:30am - remember to bring those cameras!
Apple Store - 1 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Apple Store - 679 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Apple Store - 4702 NE University Village Pl, Seattle, WA 98105
Apple Store - 100 Cambridge Side Place, Cambridge, MA 02141
Apple Store - 767 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10153
Apple Store - 160 Walt Whitman Rd. Huntington Station, NY 11746h
Apple Store - 6121 West Park Blvd. Plano, TX 75093
Apple Store - 189 The Grove Drive Los Angeles, CA 90036

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Flash Mobbing Apple on Saturday, Why Apple?

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Wed, 2006-06-07 11:25

Two weeks ago we launched DefectiveByDesign.org - the Campaign to Eliminate DRM - since then, more than 2000 technologists have joined us and taken the pledge to stop DRM through direct action.

Now we are taking the campaign to a national stage in an effort to increase discussion of DRM. This Saturday, June 10 at 10:30am (local time) Flash Mobs will gather in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Long Island and New York converging on Apple stores to warn customers of the dangers of DRM in the iPod and iTunes.

Join us at the Flash Mob

What is DRM?
DRM is an attempt by hardware, software and media companies like Apple to accomplish through technology what they have been unable to fully accomplish by political and legal lobbying -- the authority to regulate what you do in the privacy of your home with media you have legally purchased.

They call this "Digital Rights Management". They make it sound like they are giving you something new. But, you have always had the right to make copies of your media. DRM takes away these rights by using proprietary formats and technology.

Think of it as "Digital Restrictions Management". Technology that restricts what you can do with your computer, the electronic devices you own and the media you buy. DRM can be deployed in software, hardware and in music or movies.

What is wrong with Apple and iTunes?
Apple claims that people would steal from them if they didn't use DRM, and that they have to protect themselves. This is how they would like to portray it, but it's not how it is. Inclusion of DRM in products sold by Apple and other companies is inspired by their greed and desire to control us. To accomplish their goals, they want to monitor, report, and regulate your every interaction with your computer and electronics.

All music purchased from the iTunes music store has DRM in it. That means, at the moment, you can only have a certain number of copies. It used to be you could have 10, then Apple changed it to 7. Nothing stops them from changing it again, to 5, or 3 or 1. With DRM Apple can change the rules AGAIN, and at any time. DRM gives them that power over you. Your devices will have to do their bidding. That is what DRM is about, taking the control away from you, and giving it to Big Media and companies like Apple. The hardware and software they sell you will enforce their rules, by removing your rights. As the largest distributor of DRM infected technology, Apple has set a new low in the mistreatment of our freedoms.

Take back your technology. Say no to DRM in your computer, in your home, and in your pocket.
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