RIAA

Friday DRM News (Monday edition)

Hi, I'm Sarah and I am working at the FSF this summer as part of a newly launched internship program. I will be posting new DRM news each Friday. If you'd like to know more about me read my letter of introduction. If you see stories we should mention here, please let me know.

Netflix, Why Do You Hate My Operating System?' Periodically, over the past couple of weeks my friend has been coming over to my apartment to watch movies with me. He has a membership to Netflix and I was delighted to learn that Netflix offers streaming of movies at no extra charge with many of its DVD rental plans. The convenience and wide selection of movies made me seriously consider signing up for my own Netflix account. I completely lost any such interest in signing up for an account when I found out Netflix doesn't support my GNU/Linux operating system and promotes proprietary software.

The DRM imposed on Netflix makes streaming unable to automatically work with GNU/Linux, unless I download proprietary software applications and even then, it's still not guaranteed to work. Basically, Netflix's DRM restrictions ask me to surrender my control over my laptop (by downloading these proprietary applications) in order to watch movies. Netflix should not even ask me to give up my freedoms in order to use their services.

More than six months ago Defective by Design asked users to “Send Netflix one of our holiday promise cards to say why you are boycotting their streaming service, and ask them to remove the DRM by June 2009... If Netflix fails to meet this ever-so-polite request, we'll be working on a mass cancellation of Netflix service in the new year.”

It is now the "new year", a whole seven months since Defective by Design and many Netflix users have politely asked Netflix to remove DRM from it streaming movies. Netflix has ignored its customers' requests to remove this DRM. It has refused to provide support to those who do not run Mac OS X or Windows. Their neglect of customers' requests show that Netflix clearly has no regard for their customers' rights. It's time to think about dropping subscriptions to Netflix.


Photo by Josh Bonnain, CC-BY

DRM News for this week:

Actually...DRM Isn't Dead By now you've probably seen the headlines “RIAA says DRM is Dead”. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one of DRM's biggest cheerleaders, the RIAA, retracted its support for this restrictive software? Unfortunately, it is too good to be true. Jonathan Lamy, representative of the RIAA, was misquoted by TorrentFreak saying "DRM is dead, isn't it?”, but what Lamy actually said was "There is virtually no DRM on music anymore, at least on download services, including iTunes." While is it true many music providers are now moving toward offering DRM free music downloads, certainly not all of them are. Not only that, but many other products besides music files continue to be restricted by DRM. In the end, whether or not Lamy actually said DRM is dead is irrelevant, we all know that the truth, regrettably, is otherwise.

Apple Withdraws Legal Threats from Bluwiki; EFF follows suit In November 2008 Apple legally threatened Bluwiki for a user created wiki page that discusses the possibility, which was unresolved, of how to use software other than Apple software on iPods and iPhones to sync media content. Bluwiki is a wiki that operates without censorship, pop-ups or banner ads. Apple sent a cease and desist e-mail to Bluwiki, claiming the pages violated the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions and infringed on copyrights they held. Bluwiki responded by taking down the pages and sought legal help. "The EFF and the San Francisco law firm of Keker & Van Nest sued Apple on behalf of OdioWorks, which runs Bluwiki, asking a court to reject Apple's claims and allow Bluwiki to restore the discussions." This month Apple withdrew its legal threats and the EFF withdrew its charges against Apple in response. Apples withdrawal of these allegations are encouraging, but Apple has still left a threatening permeate impression: Not only has Apple infected their devices with DRM, but users can't even discuss alternative bits of software to use without the fear of being sued.

Tesco Digital Removes DRM from its Tracks Not only does Tesco Digital offer DRM-free music on in its 15 million tracks, it will allow users to convert tracks they've previously purchased from Tesco Digital from WMA to MP3. This conversion will be offered for free until the end of the month.

Update: Palm Pre Will Now Sync With iTunes Last week I wrote about Apple's "bug fix-update" for iTunes on the Palm Pre. This "bug-fix" would essentially no longer allow the user to sync to iTunes from their Palm Pre. This week Palm responded with their own update, and the Pre now syncs with iTunes again. The war between these two proprietary companies continues. Be careful, don't get caught in the crossfire.

The Swindle Strikes Again! Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos, Apologizes Amazon deleted purchased copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm from customer's Kindles. Apparently, these electronic copies were not authorized properly by the publisher, so Amazon simply deleted the copies remotely. Amazon couldn't have chosen more symbolic books to remove could they? This is proof, once again, of the power DRM gives Amazon over your content. Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos apologized for the remote deletion of the ebooks after criticism began to pour in about the Kindle's use of proprietary software and Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). While we appreciate and welcome his apology, Amazon's ebooks continue to remain encrusted with DRM. As Peter Brown put it, "Unfortunately this matter requires more than just changing internal policy. The real issue here is Amazon's use of DRM and proprietary software. They have unacceptable power over users, and actual respect necessitates more than an apology -- it requires abandoning DRM and releasing the Kindle's software as free software." While this apology is appreciated very much, Amazon still has unacceptable control over the user. If Amazon wishes to take that step to remove DRM from its ebooks, we would be more than happy to help with this transition.

The War on Sharing: Why the FSF cares about RIAA lawsuits

The Free Software Foundation and DefectiveByDesign have been working with attorney Ray Beckerman to help fight for victims of the RIAA's baseless intimidation campaign. The RIAA recently took notice, calling our position -- and by extension the position of many other anti-DRM activists -- "virulent" and "baseless."

Day 32 -- RIAA

The RIAA has changed its tactic. No longer will they sue random people for file sharing. Now they're going after the ISPs. While many of the large media company ISPs such as AOL, Comcast, etc., will almost certainly comply, what will the smaller, independent ISPs do? How will large telcos like Verizon react?

Internet News reports:

Topic: 

Stop the RIAA from using the Department of Justice to do its dirty work

The RIAA is continuing to try coercion to prop up its illegitimate and unethical business model.

Topic: 

Taking the battle to the RIAA

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.

RIAA Loses Big in Captiol v. Foster, Forced to Pay Attorney Fees

It's been a while since we have talked about RIAA's legal strategy of suing folks for alleged infringement, but this week brough some good news. Ray Beckerman reports on his block hat the Judge in Capitol v. Foster has awarded the defendant legal fees to the tune of $68 thousand dollars after tossing out the RIAA's case with prejudice, and subsequent appeal.

Alberto Gonzales Not Satsified with destroying Department of Justice...

On Monday the disgraced Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who has done a pretty good job of destroying the reputation of the Justice Department announced that he wants to destroy computer users rights by proposing laws to protect "intellectual property".

Help Save Internet Radio

Only tangentially related to DRM in that the perpetrator of the crime against the public is the same, internet radio is under attack!

The RIAA and record companies have been pushing for an increase in royalties for internet radio play. The increase is absurdly high compared to the royalties other formats (terrestrial and satellite) pay.

The Copyright Royalty Board rejected a request for appeal filed by NPR and other webcasters.

Topic: 

RIAA Announces Plans to Sue More College Students

The RIAA has announced that they plan to sue more students by sending letters to 13 colleges and universities. They plan to send the schools lists of IP addresses and want the schools to turn over the names of the students and pass the notice of intent to sue on to the students. All this before a suit or subpoena has been filed.

October 3rd Declared "Day Against DRM"

Oct3rdBostonTAKE ACTION

"If consumers even know there's a DRM, what it is, and how it works, we've already failed" - Disney Executive.

Defeating DRM is all about awareness. The direct actions that we have taken are all about this. Whether it means protesting outside Apple Stores in Hazmat suits or getting HUGE press coverage for announcing the Bono petition (sign it now). Action gets attention, and creates space for debate. And as our friends at Disney recognize, if there is a debate, we will have won.

Transcript of Ray Beckerman talking about the RIAA law suits

If you couldn't make it to the conference call with Ray Beckerman, a lawyer representing clients in cases against the RIAA, you can listen or download the audio from Archive.org

Transcript:

Gregory Heller DefectiveByDesign Campaign Manager:
So without further ado I turn it over to Peter Brown the Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation

Peter Brown:

Thanks, Gregory. And welcome, everybody.

Audio from today's RIAA Lawsuit Conference Call with Ray Beckerman

Newsforge: Canadian Privacy Advocates proclaim 'DRM Spyware'

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.

CEO of BPI "sounded tired"

One Freedom Fighter called up Peter Jamieson, the CEO of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). Apparently, Mr. Jamieson had been getting quite a few calls that morning:

"He said that I was the 17th call he had received :) he sounded tired. I asked what he thought about DRM. He said, "I only found out what it meant a few days ago". I told him that I didn't want DRM in my music or technology. He said "DRM was allowing music to be made available online". I said I don't want locks on my culture. He said "DRM allows you buy your culture", and said I should "go and educate myself."

"It's been hellacious"

I think this is one of my favorite stories. Earlier this morning, a kind-hearted and intrepid Freedom Fighter tried to call Cary Sherman, the President of the RIAA, to let Mr. Sherman know about the dangers posed by DRM. This is his story:

"Spoke to secretary. The poor lady complained that she hadn't even had coffe yet and that it was too early for all of this. I asked her about DRM and gave my case concerning it to her. She said its been hellacious so far with the calls but that everyone have been nice and respectful. The suits are throwing their secretaries under the bus today."

Canadian Exec Gets The Message!

One successful caller stayed on message with Graham Henderson, CEO of the Canadian Recording Industry Association. "I basically explained that I am a music lover who owns about 300 CDs and that I would like to be able to buy music online. However I was not willing to do that unless it enabled me to do the same lawful uses that CDs do. I asked him to reconsider his position on DRM and to ask Apple to sell DRM free music."

Way to go, Freedom Fighters! If you'd like to get involved, visit http://defectivebydesign.or

Next Action: Freedom Rings at the RIAA

Freedom Rings at the RIAA Update: June 23rd, 9:30am Eastern -As of last night, over 3,600 people have joined this campaign to stand up for freedom and against DRM. Join today and give a piece of mind to executives at the IFPI (Germany), BPI (UK), SNEP (France), CRIA (Canada) and the RIAA (US). The action has begun and will continue until late tonight. When you sign up below, you will be given a page that provides information on executives at the these orgs, their phone numbers, and results from our calls! Join NOW to participate in this action:
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