Defective by Design


Guide to DRM-free Living gets a big update!

Submitted by dpic on Thu, 2012-07-26 15:56

We've just finished a major update of the Guide to DRM-free Living with dozens of new places to get ebooks, movies, and music without DRM and a page of worst-offenders. There have been some exciting developments in the realm of DRM opposition on ebooks, like Tor/Forge dropping DRM on ebooks, and we wanted to spruce up the guide to reflect all the progress that's been made.

Topic:  drmfree guide

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CD baby

Sells CDs and DRM-free downloads of independent musicians.

Taxonomy upgrade extras:  Audio guide Music

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A variety of contemporary and classical audio books, without DRM and in the MP3 format.

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Experience DRM-Freedom: Rhapsody MP3s aren't restricted; that means; when you buy a song or album from Rhapsody you can do whatever you want with it. Put it on your iPod or any other MP3 player, play it on as many computers as you want, or burn it to a CD as many times as you want.

Taxonomy upgrade extras:  music guide Music

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Skreemr is a search engine that indexes links to DRM-free downloads and audio streams on the web. Search results are a mix of both gratis downloads and streams and for-sale downloads through various online music vendors. They have a scoring system called AudioRank that attempts to put the best quality, most reliable files at the top of the list of search results.
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Jonathan Coulton

Folk rock singer and songwriter, Jonathan Coulton, is selling his music (by album and by individual song) in lossless FLAC format, 192kbps MP3 format, as well as the MP3+G Karaoke format. All of the songs he has written are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC license.
Taxonomy upgrade extras:  guide Music band creative commons

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Jamendo is a DRM-free, community-driven site where artists can share music under Creative Commons licenses. As of April, 2008, there are over 8200 albums available from over 4800 artists.

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The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!

Saul William's album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!, can be purchased as a collection of MP3 files (encoded at either 192kbs or 320kbs), or in the lossless and free FLAC audio format. They state: "All files are 100% DRM Free."
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Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I-V

Trent Reznor and his band Nine Inch Nail have released a 36 track instrumental collection entitled Ghosts I-V under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. The first 9 tracks are available at no-cost as "high-quality, DRM-free MP3s, including the complete PDF." They note that MP3s were encoded using the free software program, LAME, at 320kbps.
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Ryan Adams

The alternative country/rock-and-roll singer and songwriter, Ryan Adams is selling 10 of his albums as DRM-free, 256k MP3 downloads. Users have the option of purchasing individual tracks or "bundles" of an entire album.

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Baen sells DRM-free ebooks from an assortment of science fiction and fantasy publishers, including Baen Books, Del Rey, and Tor. They also offer a number of no-cost downloads in their "Free Library", and offer a weekly subscriptions service called "Webscriptions."
Taxonomy upgrade extras:  guide eBooks

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Amazon's DRM-free MP3 music downloads

This is a large collection of DRM-free music downloads in MP3 format. Although Amazon recommends to "Install the Amazon MP3 Downloader," we recommend against this, because it is proprietary software. You are able to purchase and download individual MP3 files of an entire album without the software, but you can not download an entire album in a single step.

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VideoLAN is a DRM-free video player for Windows, Mac and Linux OSs, capable of DVD playback and streaming video. It even lets you skip over those annoying ads at the beginning of DVDs.

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Miro is a DRM-free platform for watching streaming internet video. They write: "We're developing the Miro internet TV platform so that watching internet video channels will be as easy as watching TV and broadcasting a channel will be open to everyone. Unlike traditional TV, everyone will have a voice." This project was formerly known as Democracy TV.

Continue reading 'Miro'. offers an online video store. For just $1.99 you can download classic films featuring John Wayne, Frank Sinatra and many more. These films are free of DRM and therefore will play on any video device, including the new Apple iPods.

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Learn Out Loud is an audio eBook store where users can purchase CDs or MP3 downloads of books, ranging from educational non-fiction to classic fiction like Herman Hesse's Siddhartha.

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LibriVox is a wonderful archive of audio eBooks, completely free from DRM. Highlights include recordings of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, and Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland.

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TellTaleWeekly is a one-stop source for audio eBooks, including the work of Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells and Edgar Allen Poe. Starting from $1, enjoy these beautiful readings of classic stories. What's more, every file is free of DRM and guaranteed to play on any music player you own. Accepts payments in PayPal or BitPass.

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Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is the original purveyor of DRM-free eBooks. The project aims to encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks that will be readable on any device you choose. When you obtain an eBook, you should not be locked into using one particular eBook reader. Instead, you should have the freedom to read that book on any device. All of the material available through Project Gutenberg is free of charge, including the complete works of William Shakespeare, Peter Pan, and the United States Declaration of Independence.

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Creative Commons

CreativeCommons provides a great alternative to DRM'd music. Also, it's a great resource for learning more about music licensing. They regularly publish interviews with everyone from DJ Spooky, to Ottmar Leibert, to John Buckman, CEO of

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Nettwerk Records

Nettwerk, the influential Canadian record label home to such pop giants as Sarah McLachlan, Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies and Dido, offers individual tracks and albums absolutely DRM-free. It's a great way to purchase directly from great artists who believe that DRM is bad for business and bad for fans.

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Zunior, "the little digital music store" offers full album downloads of a number of indie and alt-country darlings, including Neko Case and The Be Good Tanyas. Zunior takes a strong stand against DRM, believing that you should be able to play your music wherever you want. All songs available in DRM-free MP3 or CD-quality FLAC formats. Miss your album art? Album packages include PDF files of artwork and liner notes, so you go home happy. And at $8.88 per album, Zunior blows iTunes Music Store out of the water.

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Continue reading ''. is the highly successful online music store for UK darling Warp Records. If you're looking for electronic, dance and hip hop without all the DRM strings attached, visit Participating record labels include underground hip hop legends like Ninja Tune and Stones Throw records. All songs available as MP3s.

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Continue reading ''. is the 2nd most popular online music store (just behind iTunes) and the most popular DRM-free store, with all tracks available in MP3 format. That means you never have to worry about whether tracks downloaded from eMusic will play on your iPod, your Rio, or your Zen music player. They're guaranteed to play on any music player you own. With over 1,000,000 songs from over 3,800 record labels, and no DRM... eMusic looks pretty nice.

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Magnatune founder and CEO John Buckman likes to say that his company provides "Internet music without the guilt," according to a recent interview at Creative Commons. We'd like to say, "Thank you, John," for selling music without the locks imposed by DRM.

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