Gregory Heller's blog

BBC on UK Copyright law changes

The BBC has an article up about a report by The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) calling on Parliament to revise the UK's copyright laws (currently Brittons do not have even the private right to copy their CDs to their own computers or portable digital music players).

Deputy Director of the IPPR, Dr. Ian Kearns said, "[But] it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have that is the job of government."

Report author Kay Withers said: "The idea of all-rights reserved doesn't make sense for the digital era and it doesn't make sense to have a law that everyone breaks. To give the IP regime legitimacy it must command public respect."

The Small Print Project


From BoingBoing:
Andy Sternberg has launched a great site today, "The Small Print Project," which looks to catalog all the "agreements" we find ourselves "consenting to" when we open a box, install a program, sign up for a service or visit a website. These "terms and conditions," "terms of use" and "end-user license agreements" do terrible violence to the noble agreement, backing us into arrangements that no sane individual would ever agree to.

Tagging products on Amazon "DefectiveByDesign"

On Thursday afternoon we asked DBD members to start tagging products with DRM on "DefectiveByDesign". The response has been great, with over 500 products tagged by more than 150 Amazon customers.

We're also suggesting that if you own a product that has DRM, go on and review it to let other would be users know about the dangers of DRM. If you do, let us know by posting a comment (include a link to your Amazon review!).

More Anti-DRM sites and organizations

The anti-drm community is growing. Our own organization has nearly 15,000 members signed up. Mainstream press is covering the downside of DRM, and people in the industries pushing DRM are starting to speak out.

DefectiveByDesign members have shown that we can fight against DRM and win.

Other organizations are now joining in the effort to stop DRM. In the last month FSFE has helped launch a coalition effort called a great repository of information and articles about DRM. If your looking for more information so you can hone your "holiday dinner" presentation to your family, this is a great place to stop. And just the other day the Consumer Electronics Association and others launched an advocacy site that allows you to sign a petition to (US) government and send advocacy emails to your representatives asking them to protect your digital rights.

DRM not part of a viable business model (Billboard)

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.

DRM killed the TiVoToGo star

As we mop up after all the action and news related to October 3rd - Day Against DRM, we want to draw attention to a couple of items: just announced the winners of the Down With DRM Video Contest.
Digg the DRM Video Contest Winners

Electronic Frontier Foundation's report "Who Killed the TiVoToGo?" which details how Big Media and Cable companies forced TiVo to remove the TiVo To Go service from the new TiVo Series 3 HD.
Digg DRM killed the TiVoToGo!

Cardozo Cyberlaw Society Hosts me to talk about DRM

Last week I particpated in a discussion of DRM and the campaign at a meeting of the Cardozo Cyberlaw Society in New York City.

It was interesting to hear these law law students talk about DRM and engage with each other on both sides of the issues. We had a lively discussion that really got students thinking about the implications of DRM on culture and our rights.

If you are a student, or law student and would like to organize an event on DRM, please let us know.

Reports on October 3rd - Day Against DRM

October 3rd, Day Against DRM was a huge success - thank you to the thousands of people who took part in actions around the globe, both big and small, to spread the word about the dangers of DRM. Thousands of emails were sent from the DefectiveByDesign site to friends and relatives warning them about DRM. We distributed one hundred and fifty thousand stickers, and you used them in more than two hundred organized meet-ups to get the message out. The reports from the protests outside the flagship Apple stores in London and New York showed people were having a lot of fun. Some of you got dressed up in Hazmat suits and educated shoppers and commuters, others blogged about anti-DRM activities, many submitted amazing photos. In Paris activists took it to another level and handed themselves in to police for breaking French DRM laws. Our friends at Free Culture ran a video competition that resulted in some truly wonderful submissions, and more than 80,000 people have viewed the winning submissions!'s DRM free digital music store wins "BEST MUSIC STORE" at Digital Music Awards

This via a DBD member:

04 / 10 / 2006 (for us int he USA that is October 4, 2006)

On Tuesday night Bleep won the UK Digital Music Award for 'Best Music Store', beating players such as iTunes, Napster and ThreeMusic.

It was a public voted award so we want to give massive thanks to everyone
who took the time to vote for us!

This summer Bleep passed the million downloads threshold, and is now home
to over 300 labels and counting. All new music to the site is now encoded
at the maximum bitrate of 320kbps, with everything still as standard

Ten things you can do today

"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 take are all about this. On October 3rd we launched a world wide day of awareness about DRM, and now everyday is a Day Against DRM. Let the people around you know that DRM is bad for our culture and society. Let's create space for the debate. Do we want handcuffs and locks on art and knowledge?

As our friends at Disney recognize, if we have this debate, we will have won.

Apple Got Cored in NYC

[img_assist|nid=845|title=Apple Store 5th Ave|desc=photo credit|link=none|align=right|width=265|height=400]Members of, 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.

Taking another bite at the Apple

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"

We've got a map!


Thanks to one of our DBD members, we've got a map up on Frappr.
The frappr map shows places we have sent stickers (just the cities) in yellow, red and blue pins for members who have added themsleves, red houses for apple stores (if you were wondering where they were)

Unbox?! More like a DRM Cage!

Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribue ran a fantastic column this morning on the Amazon Unbox service, DRM and our Day of Action:

Amazon's Unbox program is going to run in the background on
your computer and send information back to the company about your
"operating system, software, amount of available disk space and Internet
connectivity" as well as what you're doing with those videos, all in
order to continue to "manage rights" associated with them, says the

Print your own warning labels

We have had a completely overwhelming response to last weeks email email about DRM Warning Labels. We asked you if you'd like some stickers to help spread the word about the dangers of drm, and nearly 2000 of you have responded!

We are working to get stickers out to as many people in as many cities as possible. If you sent us an email, we'll be getting back to you in the next day or two.

If you haven't responded yet (or even if you have and you are just a little impatient) you can download a PDF template and print your own stickers.

The Phoenix on the FC.o vid contest


The Phoenix ran a piece on's video conference related to October 3rd:

But if you’re a consumer, it’s more accurate to say it stands for Digital Restrictions Management. (Or, in the case of Sony-BMG’s roo tk it, which deposits all manner of intrusive and concealed software on a user’s computer, Digital Restrictions Malware.) “It prevents you from using the content that you have bought the way you want to,” says Nelson Pavlosky, co-founder of the international student movement “And because there are laws against circumventing this copy protection, uses that would otherwise be legal suddenly become illegal. If I wanted to make a back-up copy of a CD that I bought, which is legal under fair use, the DRM physically stops me — and the laws that enforce DRM legally stop me.”

Debate about DRM on Slashdot


There is an interesting thread on Slashdot about DRM and the "economics" around creativity and media. There have been many thoughtful and interesting comments to the original post "A Working Economy Without DRM?" which asks the question "How do you create a market for a product, and make money of a product that has a huge initial creative investment, but then no manufacturing cost, and is in infinite supply?"

University of Illinois conducting research on DRM

DBD Member and Apple Protester Luke Gotszling recently wrote on his blog about an article at UIL about research being conducted there:

The article ultimately let me down as it details how Negar Kiyavash’s research is fundamentally designed to restrict the public and as a result is against the mission statement of the University of Illinois. The mission statement contains that a purpose of the University is “[To remain] a leader in the creation and synthesis of knowledge for the benefit of current and future generations.” Unfortunately, Kiyavash’s research does exactly the opposite; it is knowledge designed to restrict both current and future generations. More specifically, multimedia companies will be able to combine this research with the rights afforded them by the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to track and restrict users from making fair use copies, excerpts for class projects, and other rights entitled under Copyright Law.

Freedom Rings at the MPAA this Friday

The MPAA represents the major movie houses, and their influence plays a leading role in pushing DRM into our technology. The MPAA were the lead lobbyists for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that now makes it a crime to circumvent DRM technology.

They are lobbying right now for legislation to mandate a "Broadcast Flag" inside digital TV signals that can prevent recording, and for legislation mandating the closing of the "Analog Hole" requiring all devices to handle encrypted DRM signals. These laws will turn our homes into DRM prisons and hand unprecedented power to Hollywood.

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Join us in making calls on Friday!

Join NOW to participate in this action:

Instructions are sent to this email address that will allow you to participate in this and upcoming anti-DRM actions. Unsubscribe at anytime. We never sell or share your info. International Postal Codes OK. * denotes required fields.

Sorry about all those emails...

As many of you may already know, this morning had a problem with our mail server and the mailing application that we use to stay in touch with you. While we are still investigating the problem that may have caused you to receive multiple messages about today's action, we can't say exactly what went wrong. We can assure you that we will get to the bottom of it and fix the problem so that something like this does not happen again.

We can understand that some of you may have a gut reaction to receiving this message multiple times, it may strike you as SPAM or UBE, I want to make it clear that we did not intend to, or initiate the sending of this message multiple times to you, further more, we're not selling anything, and we got your email address from you, so while the messages might be an annoyance – and we are sorry for that – they are not SPAM.

DigitalMusicWeblog talks with DBD


Grant Robertson of DigitalMusicWeblog at Weblogs, Inc. recently asked us a few questions about the campaign, our organization and, of course, DRM and Digital Music.

You can digg this interview:

Consumers pay more for DRM free tracks

A DBD member, Daniel, wrote me recently pointing my attention to to Sound on Sound magazine's August 2006 issue, specifically a Steve Hillage quote on page 95:

"many indie sites sell DRM-free MP3s, seeing DRM as an unnecessary inconvenience. Another option, adopted on System 7's site, is to give fans the choice; DRM versions of tracks, at 79p each, are cheaper than the 99p non-DRM MP3s, reflecting DRM's inherent inconvenience. However, Steve Hillage says they're now moving to MP3 only, because the MP3 files have been outselling the DRM ones by a ratio of 15 to one, despite the latter's cheaper price."

Yahoo offers DRM free Song

Folks probably saw and heard last week that Yahoo has started offering at least one DRM free song for sale on Yahoo Music.

Read one of the many articles on this development.

Yahoo is clearly trying our something new by selling a song at a premium without DRM, just a high quality mp3 download. We'll see if music fans are willing to page the extra price.


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