Defective by Design

Microsoft

Microsoft defends DRM, badly

Submitted by JohnSullivan on Thu, 2009-01-22 12:22

While others are waking up to the problems with DRM and moving away from it, Microsoft is embracing and defending it.

Do they think we forgot about MSN Music already?

I buy these songs on your service - and they're locked to my phone - what happens when I upgrade my phone in six months' time?

Well, I think you know the answer to that.

Topic:  Microsoft drm music

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Refusing Digital Monitoring Policies

Submitted by JohnSullivan on Thu, 2008-06-26 10:28

Bruce Schneier has brought a new form of Digital Restrictions Management to our attention:

Microsoft is doing some of the most creative thinking along these lines, with something it's calling "Digital Manners Policies." According to its patent application, DMP-enabled devices would accept broadcast "orders" limiting capabilities. Cellphones could be remotely set to vibrate mode in restaurants and concert halls, and be turned off on airplanes and in hospitals. Cameras could be prohibited from taking pictures in locker rooms and museums, and recording equipment could be disabled in theaters. Professors finally could prevent students from texting one another during class.

It sounds innocent enough, until Schneier pulls back the curtain to show the real motivation behind these policies:

Don't be fooled by the scare stories of wireless devices on airplanes and in hospitals, or visions of a world where no one is yammering loudly on their cellphones in posh restaurants. This is really about media companies wanting to exert their control further over your electronics. They not only want to prevent you from surreptitiously recording movies and concerts, they want your new television to enforce good "manners" on your computer, and not allow it to record any programs. They want your iPod to politely refuse to copy music a computer other than your own. They want to enforce their legislated definition of manners: to control what you do and when you do it, and to charge you repeatedly for the privilege whenever possible.

Consumers are objecting en masse to the idea of their own computers and devices continuously and indiscriminately policing their activities via Digital Restrictions Management. So it's no surprise that Microsoft is hatching plans to soft-pedal these same restrictions under the term "manners." This is just old wine in new bottles -- Microsoft wants another way to control your activities.

Since they would be the patent holder, they can profit from selling this ability to monitor and control you to others. There's no doubt that their main customers would be the same media distribution companies who are struggling to cripple the technology that makes them irrelevant -- technology that enables many more artists and creators to share their works directly with the public.

Microsoft's patent abstract says:

Similar to some of the social manners honored among people, such as with "no smoking" or "employees only" zones, "no swimming" or "no flash photography" areas, and scenarios for "please wash your hands" or "no talking out loud", devices may recognize and comply with analogous "device manners" policy.

It's common for companies pedaling digital restrictions to try to find parallels in the analog world, to make the restrictions seem familiar and correct. But these are flawed comparisons -- no machine covers your mouth with duct tape when you enter a "no smoking" zone just to make sure that you don't smoke. Nobody breaks your fingers to make sure that you don't use the flash on your camera in a museum.

Digital restrictions require you to hand over your privacy and freedom in advance. They are inherently unsafe because people other than the intended parties can access these mechanisms for monitoring and restricting you. They are inherently untrustworthy because you aren't legally allowed to know what's going on behind the scenes on the device in your pocket, including the contents of its continuous conversation with whichever corporation it's reporting to. The purpose of the restrictions might sound benign but their mechanism is unacceptable -- and what these companies are actually after is acceptance of the mechanism, so that they can then put it to other uses.

Digital Restrictions Management and "Digital Manners Policies" both use the fear that some people might not do the right thing to justify treating everyone like a criminal and taking away our freedom. We shouldn't accept this justification to cripple what are otherwise incredibly useful and powerful tools for innovation and creativity. "Digital Manners Policies" are really "Digital Monitoring Policies," and we should refuse them.

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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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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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BBC Chooses DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Fri, 2007-05-11 16:37

Earlier this week Boing Boing covered the BBC Trusts poor decision to opt for proprietary formats and DRM in their online offerings. Ars Technica has a good article on the decision. If you are a UK resident, you should continue to make your displeasure with DRM known to BBC.

Topic:  Microsoft drm bbc

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Dell to Offer Computers without Microsoft OS

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Wed, 2007-05-02 12:53

A while back I pointed folks to Dell's IdeaStorm website where they were soliciting feedback from customers about what products they offered. Overwhelmingly people wanted Dell machines with GNU/Linux operating systems.

Dell has announced that they will now offer systems with GNU/Linux operating systems preloaded.

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Vista Badge Means DRM

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Mon, 2007-04-16 11:06

The Inquirer has an article up about Vista and DRM. The piece drives pretty hard on this single point : Vista is all about DRM and DRM is bad for the user.

As we have been saying for years now, DRM infections have no positives for the user, there is literally no good that you get from them. Everything they do is negative under each and every scenario. While the content mafiaa gets positively orgasmic over the money they will rake in while you twist, the whole industry tanks.

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Microsoft to Drop DRM From Some Songs in Zune Marketplace

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Sun, 2007-04-08 17:20

Boing Boing reports that Microsoft is talking about dropping DRM from some songs sold in the Zune Market Place. The interesting part of the story (we all new MS would follow the leader WRT EMI tracks) is that a Zune spokesperson seems to suggest that MS might drop DRM from more than just the EMI catalog. We'll wait and see what happens.

Topic:  Microsoft drm

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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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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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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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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 BadVista.org and DefectiveByDesign.org.

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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 BadVista.org 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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BadVista: Tag Vista "DefectiveByDesign" on Amazon

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Tue, 2007-01-23 14:37

BadVista.org has just announced an Amazon tagging campaign like the one we launched against DRMd products. Read the full post on BadVista.org, 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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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 BadVista.org, the FSF is highl

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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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Stay the Course? The Final Media Revolution...

Submitted by PeterB on Tue, 2006-10-24 07:09

We are starting to hear more and more doubts expressed that DRM can be a viable business model for the media and technology companies. The "stay the course" voices sound shaky. The problem? It seems that we - their users and customers - don't like DRM, and we won't accept it. We refuse to purchase from them, some circumvent the restrictions and most just go elsewhere. Eric Pickard is the director of advertising strategy and emerging media planning at Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, and his message to the Big Media companies is simple: The people are in control...

Topic:  Microsoft drm zune

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Flash Protest News: "maybe these guys know something that we don't" (Gizmodo)

Submitted by PeterB on Thu, 2006-05-25 10:01

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."

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Flash Protest News: We won't shed a tear for Microsoft (money.cnn.com)

Submitted by PeterB on Thu, 2006-05-25 06:37

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.

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Flash Protest News: FSF-backed DRM protesters don hazmat suits at WinHEC (ZDNet)

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Thu, 2006-05-25 00:20

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"

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Flash Protest News: Wacky Protests In Washington Stir The Masses

Submitted by Gregory Heller on Thu, 2006-05-25 00:14

John Dvorak makes a mention of the WinHEC DRM Elimination Crew event and while he is not really on our side, he does give us props:

Whatever the case you have to admire the fact that they all went out and bought hazmat suits for their protest march.

Thanks to DRM Elimination Crew's Andrew Becherer for "foisting" the story on Dvorak!

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Seattle anti-DRM flashmob

Submitted by Henri Poole on Tue, 2006-05-23 13:41

There is no more important cause for electronic freedoms and privacy than the call for action to stop DRM from crippling our digital future. The time is now. Join us.

By joining the DEFECTIVE BY DESIGN community, we commit to each other that together, as our numbers grow, we will use our collective voices to demand that governments, corporations, and politicians take the steps necessary to protect our rights. Today I join this community and I request to be immediately notified of direct actions that I can join in my local community.
Postal Code** (required)
First Name Last Name Mobile Phone (SMS)***


* A password and instructions will be sent to this e-mail address, so make sure it is accurate.
** We'll SMS you with urgent actions in your area
*** International Codes OK

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