Newsweek on DRM

Newseek ran an article this week on DRM and the growing anti DRM movement that our efforts have been instrumental in over the last few months.

Now, an increasingly vocal grassroots resistance to DRM is cropping up. An anti-DRM campaign called “Defective by Design,” which is organized by the Free Software Foundation, has 15,000 registered members; the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that DRM places limits on “your ability to make lawful use of the music you purchase.” Web sites like and have been launched “to protect individuals’ right to use new digital technologies” and urge boycotts on DRM-tagged content. David Berlind, executive editor of tech trade journal ZDNet, coined his own term for DRM: “Content Restriction, Annulment and Protection.” (Figure out the acronym).

Violence Erupts over Sony Playstation 3

This week as the Sony Playstation 3 went on sale in the US, people have been beaten, stabbed and shot over the new DRM laden gaming console! While we can understand how people might get mad when they find out about all the Digital Restrictions technology built into the PS3 (which features a Blu-Ray player) the idea that people are assaulting others to get their hands on these machines is pretty crazy!

Crashing the Zune Party

Last night, I and three other DefectiveByDesign members from Seattle met up for a dinner and a beer and then headed over to the launch of the Zune at the War Room on Capital Hill. This being a Microsoft town, I expected a huge crowd, even if it was just Microsofties. We were surprised by the turnout, maybe 150 people waiting in a line snaking around the corner for the doors to open. Almost all were MS people, but we talked to them none the less. The responses were interesting ranging from disgust with out message, to bemusement to outright support.

An iPod that tells the truth


DBD Member Jeremy Clark recently got a new iPod, (from his blog):

When it came time to choose a free engraving for the free Nano that came with my new laptop (I would never pay dollars for something so obviously broken on purpose) nothing else seemed appropriate. My favorite part is how natural the slogan looks printed on the back and how, if you stretch your imagination a bit, “Defective by Design” almost sounds like a legit Apple slogan (I mean, it’s at least as good as “Life is Random” right?)

Messages to Bono

[img_assist|nid=849|title=DRM make me sad|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=222|height=240]With more than 5000 names added to the Bono petition, we decided it was time to take a look at some of the 1700+ messages that signers have left for the U2 front man.

What is interesting is how many signers made the connection that digital restrictions on published works and technology will effect development and cultural equality. A selection of messages are posted below.

"Bono, in the same way that the pharmaceutical companies use patents to restrict the poor from getting access to important medicines, so DRM will be used to restrict access to knowledge. At the moment DRM appears to be about music and movies, but within a few years we will see that this was just the beginning. You have the opportunity to help us stop this now."

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.

Stay the Course? The Final Media Revolution...

We are starting to hear more and more doubts expressed that DRM can be a viable business model for the media and technology companies. The "stay the course" voices sound shaky. The problem? It seems that we - their users and customers - don't like DRM, and we won't accept it. We refuse to purchase from them, some circumvent the restrictions and most just go elsewhere. Eric Pickard is the director of advertising strategy and emerging media planning at Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, and his message to the Big Media companies is simple: The people are in control...

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.

London anti-DRM Rally and Police Constable 315 CD

[img_assist|nid=849|title=DRM make me sad|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=370|height=400]
Read Gareth Bowker's full blog from the anti-DRM rally in London on Saturday.

"Yesterday’s Defective by Design awareness campaign in London went very well – far better than I could have hoped. In the end, we had over 20 people helping to hand out over 3,200 leaflets in about 2h30.

...we decided to send a couple of people into the store to leaflet as many people as they could manage before getting thrown out. Kudos has to go to MJ for the ballsy “replace the leaflets in Apple’s leaflet holders with DbD leaflets” which was pretty successful. After they got ejected, we set off, and almost immediately got stopped by a Policeman. The conversation went something like this:

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.”


We are totally out of stickers for October 3rd and will let you know when we can fullful additional requests

Announce a meet-up and get your friends together with others in your area, We've distributed stickers to over 300 locations around globe and we will try to connect folks via event on the website in the coming days, so keep checking back. You can also download a PDF template to print your own stickers


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