Day 35 -- DRM in 2008

With our 35 Days Against DRM campaign ending, how about a 2008 recap to end things off...


In 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G, new iPods and the new MacBook with an HDMI display output. A persistent rumor finally came true at the early 2009 MacWorld -- iTunes is now going DRM free, at least for music. Movies, TV shows, Audiobooks and Applications remain encumbered by DRM.


Blu-Ray has been pushed heavily this year. HD DVD was killed off this year too, which can only fuel Blu-Ray adoption. Still, Blu-Ray in personal computers is still not really happening.

The USA had a presidential election, electing Democrat Barack Obama. One of the first things he did as president-elect was set up '' -- a site for soliciting public opinion from the American public. With Obama assisted by friend-of-the-RIAA Senator Joe Biden, expect Hollywood and the recording industry moguls to begin pushing for more and more legislation on how and when you can use your media.


Canada did what we failed to do in the USA... block the DMCA. Don't expect that to last for long, however. With the political crisis in Canada right now, any change in Canada's government could result in another attempt to push through the DMCA.


eMusic introduced an audiobooks service -- DRM-free, of course.

With all the major stores now selling DRM-free music, eMusic will need to keep up the pressure and push its DRM-free audiobooks service more, but will eMusic be able to keep its customers in the wake of iTunes music DRM falling? We'll see. It is still a more free service than iTunes, since users can download DRM-free music using their web browser and don't have to install proprietary spyware to access the service, as they do with iTunes.


Just one day after the iTunes announcement, Warner Music France has unveiled its own DRM-free offering with FnacMusic and VirginMega, linked to the "Creation and Internet" law currently being adopted in France which may well include an obligation for record labels to drop DRM entirely. Fnac said they were expecting Sony and Universal to follow suit.


Google's GPhone finally came out in 2008, as the T-Mobile G1. This phone has some short comings, not dissimilar to the problems identified with the iPhone, but at the very least, the music-download service on the G1 is none other than Amazon MP3.


HDMI is already causing a number of headaches for consumers. We should make sure we do everything we can do to keep this issue in the public mindset.


Apple released iPhone 3G in 2008. We covered it extensively. To recap briefly: the iPhone locks out free software development using licenses like the GNU GPL, forces DRM onto applications and content (though the music is going DRM-free -- for a price!) and more.


At the end of 2007, Amazon released the Kindle. Throughout 2008, Amazon have been pushing it harder and harder, trying to convince book publishers to release their titles for the Kindle.

We say that the Kindle is a Swindle, and we're not alone. Mark Pilgrim lays out The Future of Reading as a play in six acts. Starring Jeff Bozo.

Lars Ulrich

The Metallica star will soon be the media again, complaining about how people continue to "steal" his music. Will bands like his lose in the long run? With people literally making their own heavy metal albums now, and embracing free culture and DRM-free in the process.


Microsoft, faced with the dismal performance of Vista is hoping for another shot at convincing the public that it really can make software, with their new release, Seven. Not content with producing stillborn commercials with Jerry Seinfeld, they've now started taking the marketing advice of George Costanza. Let's just hope they don't book Michael Richards for the wrap party.


Nintendo's new handheld, the DSi, has DRM specifically designed to lock out games from other regions, a first for a Nintendo handheld. With an SD-card slot, you can be sure that Nintendo will find as many ways as possible to lock down anything that goes on the new device.

PlayStation 3

Sony's PlayStation 3 is being pushed harder and harder, but not so much as a games console. The PS3, with its built in Blu-Ray drive, offline storage and Netflix playback is sold as the digital convergence device that everyone has been thinking Apple will produce.

Take action!

  • As you can see, we're not quite full with our A-Z of DRM in 2008, so send us your ideas for additions to our list.