I just read on Gizmodo that the NYT reports this morning that EMI is considering opening up "broad swaths" of its catalog for digital download through online retailers without DRM.
The EMI Group, the British music giant, has been considering a plan to offer a broad swath of its recordings for sale online without anti-copying software, executives involved in discussions with the company said.
In the days since Steve Jobs' open letter basically denouncing DRM and calling for its abolition, we have heard from many of you that Jobs unfairly distances himself from the DRM problem and solution, laying the blame at the feet of the big four music companies.
We wonder if he has forgotten that he is CEO of Pixar, part of the Disney Family. DRM is not just about music, increasingly it is movies and video that are protected by DRM, especially those selections purchased from iTMS.
Instead of laying the responsibility for DRM with the music companies and calling on their customers to influence them, Jobs should ask music fans to join him in directly lobbying the Big Four to drop DRM. He should be joining with Bill Gates and hosting a summit on the issue with Big Media.
A year ago I don't think that anyone could have imagined these two stunning announcements from the founders and titular heads of the worlds leading technology and digital music device companies. both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have publicly derided DRM as an impossible mission to secure digital music files with "crippling" DRM.
From Jobs open letter:
The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.
ZD Net ran a story on the UK Green Party position in opposition to Windows Vista.
Vista requires more expensive and energy-hungry hardware, passing the cost on to consumers and the environment," Wall said. "This will also further exclude the poor from the latest technology, and impose burdensome costs on small and medium businesses who will be forced to enter another expensive upgrade cycle."
Rather than opting for another proprietary OS, the Green Party argues that businesses should look into free software alternatives — such as Linux — as they don't require high-specification hardware. "Free software can run on existing hardware, reduces licensing costs for small businesses and affords important freedoms to consumers. The UK government should capitalise on this opportunity to promote the use of free software in public bodies," added Wall.
DefectiveByDesign members turned out today in New York City (despite the bitter cold!) to spread the message that Vista's DRM is a danger to computer users. We were joined by folks from the BadVista.org campaign who distributed free software to the guests lining up to attend the launch event.
The Dawn of Vista DRM - On Monday we'll be turning out to share our "Wow Moments" with Bill Gates and his invited guests in NYC. We tried to get an invite to the events, but, alas, were denied access, so we'll be outside greeting guests as they arrive to the two swank events Microsoft has planned to pitch the Vista Upsell.
First, we'll be at the star studded luncheon at Cipriani's on 42nd Street from noon. Sign up now to join us.
"Wow starts now"? It's more like "Ow starts now", as consumers start to learn what they will lose by choosing Vista.
DefectiveByDesign has been campaigning against DRM since last May. In that time, consumer and media awareness of the restitrictive technology has increased and consumers have largely turned against it. Even the music industry is contemplating dropping it. Yet even against the growing anti-drm chorus, Microsoft is launching the Vista Operating System which, aside from some new bells and whistles, and an increase in base hardware requirements, is largely a platform for DRM, designed to serve Big Media companies more than individual computer users. Vista represents a step backwards in users' freedom, it is an "upsell" not an "upgrade". While user's rights will be trammeled by the DRM and Treacherous Computing features of Vista, the collatoral damage will be environment as users are forced to abandon perfectly good hardware to meet the new requirements of Vista, generating tons of e-waste.
Ars Technica reported last week on a Hollywood Exec's admission that DRM, for them, is not about piracy, rather about control over the way people interact with copyrighted works.
If we believe Ronald Grover's sources in his BusinessWeek article of last week, the problem is liberal DRM and not piracy, and this is a startling admission. According to him, an unnamed studio executive said that a major reason why studios weren't jumping on board with the iTunes store and other similar services is that their DRM is too lax. "[Apple's] user rules just scare the heck out of us." It's not piracy that's the concern, it's their ability to control how you use the content you purchase.
Microsoft can't catch a break! A few weeks after the "launch" of the Zune, the Vista operating system caught some serious flack. Now, in a 1-2 punch, it has come to light that spies from the NSA helped to "secure" Vista and Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone which could be described as the iPod Killer's Killer if the iPod Killer (The Zune) were not so pathetic.
"Welcome to the Social" Microsoft!
Meanwhile, over on BadVista.org, the FSF is highl
Alot is happening in the digital music realm these last few week.s We've heard news that Microsoft is abandoning PlaysForSure DRM to focus exclusively on their Zune DRM. EMI, meanwhile, has abandoned DRM in all new CDs which is great news, and they are also starting to offer mp3s with no drm. Including music by Norah Jones on Yahoo
Last week some record labels started offering MP3s free of DRM (as reported by ArsTechnica, < ahref="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16081654/" target="new">MSNBS (from the AP) and also engadget and others.
EMI is selling some music on Yahoo Music for 99 cents without DRM. The release is limited in scope and is being billed as an experiment to test the waters of demand.
But we believe that the record lab
A DBD member in England (Neil Holmes) started a petition on the UK Government's website:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Ban the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies for digital content...
Neil has been joined by hundred of other so far. If you live in the UK or know folks who do, please sign the petition or spread the word!
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 stopdrmnow.org and digitalfreedom.org 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).
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!
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.
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?)
[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."
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."
On Thursday afternoon we asked DBD members to start tagging products with DRM on Amazon.com "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 Amazon.com 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!).
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 DRM.info 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 DigitalFreedom.org 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.
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...
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.