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
While Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) isn't a thing to celebrate, the work people are doing against it is. This is part of why we organize International Day Against DRM (IDAD), a day to raise awareness about DRM, take community action, and celebrate what is being done by activists, artists, booksellers, farmers, filmmakers, musicians, and publishers.
Signs from a demonstration at Cambridge, MA city hall last week.
The inventor of the Web is considering allowing corporate interests to change its underlying technology, extending their ability to control users' computers with DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), undermining Internet freedom, and exposing people to surveillance and criminal threats online.
As Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee considers this decision, people around the world are placing hundreds of phone calls urging him not to allow the change. Now a small artist-led group called Ethics in Tech is taking it to the next level—this Saturday, they will march to Berners-Lee's office in Cambridge, MA, to demand he heed the call of human rights groups, tens of thousands of Web users, and his fellow Web pioneers: reject DRM in Web standards and stand up for the free, fair Web that everyone except a handful of big companies wants.
When people buy an ebook, do they expect to be able to read it for the rest of their lives? How about the ability to make a backup copy of a movie before their hard drive breaks? For most digital media purchases, these reasonable activities are prevented by DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), but it appears the vast majority of customers don't know it.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Boston, Massachusetts, USA—Thursday, April 13th, 2017—Today Defective by Design granted Tim Berners-Lee the first ever Obedience Award, recognizing his work to help wealthy corporations add DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) to official Web standards. Inspired by the MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award, the Obedience Award highlights activity upholding the status quo despite an overwhelming ethical case against it. Today is the first opportunity for the addition of DRM to become final as per the formal process for setting Web standards.
In the last year, we've seen cracks appearing in the foundation of the DRM status quo.
Since the beginning of the Web—the age of dial-up Internet connections—the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has kept the Web's technical standards tuned in a careful balance that enables innovation while respecting users' rights.
On April 13th, that will change. User-hostile DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) technology will become an official part of the Web. Unless we can stop it.
Yesterday, the project manager of W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) announced unofficial guidance for organizations facing reports of user-threatening vulnerabilities in their programs or Web sites.
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, star of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, and one of the best-known tech celebrities outside of Silicon Valley, believes he is powerless.
Well, at least when it comes to keeping Web users free and safe.
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) submitted a comment to the U.S. Copyright Office calling for the end of the broken Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) anti-circumvention exemptions process.
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.