IDAD 2020 sent Netflix and DRM a message

December 4th was the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and its Defective by Design (DBD) campaign's fourteenth International Day Against DRM (IDAD), and we couldn't have done it without your help. Given that we were unable to organize in person this year, the international response of people who digitally stood up against Digital Restrictions Management has been nothing short of inspiring. We were able to come together for a common goal and voice our opposition against DRM.

Being the International Day Against DRM, it wouldn't be complete without a bit of action. Thanks to the help of our supporters, we were able to send Netflix a strong message about its use of DRM. Given its tremendous resources and influence, Netflix has the opportunity to pave the way and be the first major and globally used DRM-free streaming service. As it currently stands, however, it falls into the trap of restricting what users can and cannot do with their media under the guise of "copyright infringement," something DRM does nothing to combat (and even if it did, would only do so at an unacceptable cost to your freedom). As December 4th also marked the start of Netflix's "StreamFest" promotion in some countries, we wanted to be there to tell it that no use of DRM is acceptable. Together, we were able to make our voices heard. And we're pretty sure they heard us, based on reports of them taking the main phone number we pointed the DRM Elimination crew to offline.

Our videoconference session on anti-DRM activism (using BigBlueButton) netted participants from all over the globe, and it was inspiring to see and hear from fellow supporters from five different countries (and possibly more). During the session, we discussed common challenges faced by people who refuse to participate in DRM-restricted media, and got a jumpstart on our organizing work for the next year. Whether you participated in the audio and video or just the chat, we'd like to sincerely thank you for joining us. The BigBlueButton session was our first one of the kind, and it went so smoothly that we look forward to hosting more in the future.

In addition to the Netflix action and BigBlueButton session, we encouraged participants to challenge themselves to a Day without DRM, and also coordinated an effort to document DRM's foothold in countries such as Portugal and Brazil. Following up on our article about the latest call for DMCA anti-circumvention exceptions, we also used this year's IDAD as a day to show support for each and every proposed exception to the DMCA. All in all, it was a multifaceted and varied approach to combating DRM, and we're grateful to all those who participated, particularly organizations from all around the world like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, April, ANSOL, and Framasoft.

DRM is an issue that affects everyone who participates in digital culture, and as most people are still under quarantine, we don't expect the global level of dependence on DRM-restricted streaming services to end anytime soon. We want to continue to ensure that the Defective by Design campaign remains strong and able to combat these restrictions and those that we've yet to see. Given the progress we made with this year's IDAD, we have a strong basis on which to build our further actions.

Defective by Design is a campaign run by the Free Software Foundation, and it's your support that keeps us moving forward. You can support our vital work against DRM by becoming an associate member: the support of our members ensures we can confidently combat the movement's next threat. Right now, the FSF is in the middle of our annual fundraiser, and we depend on you to help us keep our vital work against DRM going strong.

Just as we couldn't have accomplished IDAD without your support, we want you to be involved in next year's event, and the campaign going forward. If you haven't yet, we invite you to join the DRM Elimination Crew discussion mailing list as we talk about the next steps in the campaign, and settle on a date for next year. You can also always reach us and other anti-DRM activists from around the world on the #dbd IRC channel of the Freenode network. In the fourteen years that the Defective by Design campaign has been active, we've seen what a small but committed group of activists can accomplish. With your support, I'm confident we can make DRM a thing of the past.

Illustration Copyright © 2020 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.