We have fought the practice of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) for almost two decades. This year, we made breakthroughs in two important DRM battlegrounds: the US Copyright Office and the World Wide Web Consortium. We are gaining ground against the offenses of DRM: malware and spyware foisted on users, remote deletion of cultural works, good-faith security researchers muzzled, and more. Now we need to push the advantage.
Defective by Design is supported by memberships and donations to our parent organization, the Free Software Foundation. On Monday, the Foundation launched its yearly fundraiser with the goal of welcoming 500 new members and raising $450,000 before December 31st. If you have the resources, please support our work against DRM: make a donation or join as a member today.
Twenty-five years ago, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Back then timbl -- as he's known online -- declined opportunities to lock down his creation and established himself as an advocate for a freedom-affirming, interoperable, and universally accessible World Wide Web. Now he's considering turning his back on this vision to make Netflix, Google, Apple, and Microsoft happy.
The U.S. Copyright Office is taking comments on making some exemptions from the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions permanent.
Sign EFF's petition telling the U.S. Copyright Office that you support permanent exemptions. Even if you are outside the U.S. you can still sign the petition, and every voice counts.
This week, the chief arbiter of Web standards, Tim Berners-Lee, decided not to exercise his power to extend the development timeline for the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) Web technology standard. The EME standardization effort, sponsored by streaming giants like Google and Netflix, aims to make it cheaper and more efficient to impose Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) systems on Web users. The streaming companies' representatives within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) were unable to finish EME within the time allotted by the W3C, and had asked Berners-Lee for an extension through next year.
Next week, demonstrators will gather at a meeting of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in Lisbon, Portugal. They will make the same demand that we made at the last major W3C meeting in March: stop streaming companies from inserting Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into the HTML standard on which the Web is based.
Our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently filed a lawsuit challenging Section 1201 of the US's Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which provides legal reinforcement to the technical shackles of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). Defective by Design applauds this lawsuit and agrees with
Have you ever purchased a digital product, only to discover that you couldn't use it as you wish? Maybe you bought your favorite musician's new album and realized that you couldn't make a copy to share with your friend, or you downloaded an ebook that you couldn't read on both your tablet and your desktop computer. Those are both forms of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) -- technological handcuffs that control how you can use digital media.
Microsoft made the news last week when it announced that its Edge Web browser could deliver a better Netflix streaming experience than the other three most popular browsers. On Windows 10, Edge is the only one that can play Netflix's video streams — which are encumbered with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) — in 1080p high definition. A PCWorld article confirmed the claim, but no one writing online has been able to give a clear explanation for the discrepancy. Following the tone of Microsoft's announcement, most writers seem content to imply that Edge's "edge" in Netflix playback on Windows derives from technical superiority, and that intelligent Netflix users should switch to Edge.
Despite dedicated resistance by tens of thousands of Web users and civil society groups, Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee has allowed Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) to move to the next phase of development within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
On Tuesday, people all over the world spoke out against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) with demonstrations, writings, speeches, discussion groups, social media, and more. The tenth anniversary of the International Day Against DRM was a confluence of activism to protect our rights and freedoms from the surveillance, unaccountable control, and security threats effects of DRM.
Anti-DRM activism first sparked in the 1990s, as media and technology companies wielded digital restrictions more and more blatantly to lock-in customers and control people's access to computers. There are countless examples of the collateral damage DRM has caused to culture, privacy and security, but just over ten years ago, Sony accidentally gave the anti-DRM movement special inspiration. By infecting thousands of its own customers with a DRM that spied on them and broke their computers, the company spurred public awareness of DRM's menace to society. The burgeoning anti-DRM movement combined old-school free software activists with newcomers who were concerned with the digital books, games and other media increasingly being locked down. The Free Software Foundation started the Defective by Design campaign as a home for the movement. On October 3rd, 2006, we launched the first International Day Against DRM.
Watch Harry's resignation pledge. CC BY 4.0
Since 2013, Defective by Design has been fighting Encrypted Media Extensions, a plan to add a universal DRM system to the Web. In March, as an element of this campaign, we led the first-ever protest rally at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which designs official standards for the Web.
Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), the software that comes bolted to your digital media and computerized devices and tries to police your behavior. The major media companies are its masters, and they justify it as a necessary evil to prevent filesharing, calling it Digital Rights Management. But it does more than that, and worse than that. Giving its owners power over our cars, medical devices, phones, computers, and more, it opens a deep crack in our digital rights and
Activists helped the FSF hand-deliver a comment to the Copyright Office with over twelve-hundred co-signers calling for the repeal of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) anti-circumvention provisions and the triennial exemptions process, but the Copyright Office refused to accept the comment.
Just a quick reminder that the International Day Against DRM is coming up this Tuesday, May 3rd. This is the tenth anniversary of the Day, and we're burning the candle at both ends, winding for up for a momentous day of action.
In corner offices around the world, those who profit from Digital Restrictions Management are writing their speeches for this Tuesday, "World Intellectual Property Day."1 This global but decidedly not grassroots event is a project of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Yes, those are the same wise folks who convinced governments around the world to make it a crime to circumvent DRM even for legal purposes, undercutting digital freedom, security research, and access for those with disabilities.
Activists protesting Apple's use of digital restrictions on the 2015 Day Against DRM.
In the last year, we've seen those that profit from Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) move to spread the world's most regressive DRM laws through the TPP trade agreement and pressure technologists to add DRM to Web standards. Their intention is to further strengthen the international system of law and technology that lets them weaken our security and curtail our freedom, in an effort to prop up a business model that is exploitative in the first place.
Activists around the world protested in solidarity with this demonstration in Cambridge.
On Sunday, we led a protest at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) against the attempt by Netflix, Hollywood and other technology and media companies to weave Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into the HTML standard that undergirds the Web.
Explore the gallery of photos against DRM in Web standards, and add your own!
Last week, we asked you to show the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that you wouldn't allow Digital Restrictions Management in the Web's technical standards, and you answered. From around the world, you sent in protest selfies against the proposed restriction standards championed by Netflix, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Hollywood. With you at our backs, we're organizing a major demonstration this Sunday, outside the building where the W3C will be meeting to discuss DRM. A parallel demonstration is planned outside the W3C office in Amsterdam. Our activism is working -- the campaign has drawn renewed attention to this once low-profile issue and more people are learning that DRM standards would be a major regression for user freedom on the Web.
Join these activists and take your own photo at a W3C office near you.
For years, Defective by Design and the anti-DRM movement have been fighting Hollywood and proprietary software companies who want to weave Digital Restrictions Management into the HTML standard that undergirds the Web. Winning this is a top priority for us -- the DRM proposal, known as EME (Encrypted Media Extensions), would make it cheaper and more politically acceptable to impose restrictions on Web users, opening the floodgates to a new wave of DRM throughout the Internet. We've been calling this awful possibility the Hollyweb -- a network riddled with restrictions that serves Hollywood, not its users.
Co-sign the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) comment to the U.S. Copyright Office regarding DMCA anti-circumvention provisions by noon EST (5pm UTC) on March 2nd, 2016
After years of protesting against the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)'s anti-circumvention provisions and the broken process of gaining exemptions from it, the Copyright Office calls for comments on how to "improve" the system. But the system cannot be fixed. We need to end the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions now.
What is the central goal of the Defective by Design campaign?
It is to shine a light on the abuses of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) -- to expose it as digital handcuffs, and motivate people to break free. We may not always notice the handcuffs, but we feel them chafe when DRM installs malware and spyware on our computers, when its owners remotely delete ebooks without warning, and when DRM laws are used to intimidate good-faith security researchers working to hold corporations accountable.
In the flurry of holiday advertising that happens at the end of the year, many people are swept into buying electronics gifts that are rotten with Digital Restrictions Management, and restrict their users in other ways as well. Our Giving Guide is designed to make it easy for you to choose tech gifts that respect recipients' rights and avoid those that don't. But to have the greatest possible impact, we also need you to spread the word about ethical tech this season.
Electronics are popular gifts for the holidays, but people often overlook the restrictions that manufacturers slip under the wrapping paper. From remote deletion of files to harsh rules about copying and sharing, some gifts take more than they give. The problems include DRM but go beyond it -- any device running proprietary software, instead of freely licensed software, is a locked box its users can't control or understand.
The blight of the DMCA continues as another round of the anti-circumvention exemptions process comes to a close.
Ten years ago today, Sony was caught red-handed in a flashpoint that galvanized popular resistance to Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). A security researcher named Mark Russinovich published a description of surveillance malware (in this case a technically sophisticated rootkit) that was secretly installed on users' computers by the DRM on Sony music CDs.
We have written previously about the organizations and individuals who opposed exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) anti-circumvention provisions. These drones oppose the rights of users to backup, modify, and study the software and devices that we own. The DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions create legal penalties for simply accessing your software under your own terms, and raises those penalties even higher should dare to share the tools needed to do so. It creates real penalties for anyone who wants to avoid Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) controls. The granting of exemptions to these totalitarian rules is a broken and half-hearted attempt to limit the damage these rules bring, granting for 3 years a reprieve for certain specified devices and software.