Kit Roane of US News writes:
At issue is the software embedded in the songs bought from the iTunes music store that prevents them from being played on rival devices.
Norway, Denmark, and Sweden have demanded that Apple strip the blocking software from its iTunes service. France is readying legislation that enforces such interoperability, and Finland may follow suit. Although no action has been taken in the United Kingdom, the record industry's trade body there has called for a removal of the software.
Tom Braithwite and Kevin Allison from the Financial Times write Pressure on Apple Computer to open its closed system of the iTunes digital music store and the iPod music player is spreading across Europe.
...there are early signs of a concerted consumer campaign. Customers at Apple’s shiny new 24-hour store on Fifth Avenue in New York were last week treated to the spectacle of men and women dressed in fluorescent radiation suits protesting against the “digital rights managment” (DRM) software that stops iTunes tracks being played on other players.
Jonny Evans, reporting for Macworld UK, places the recent DefectiveByDesign flashmobs in an international context: "The group is perhaps a little more savvy than European regulators. The group contends that by restricting how software or files can be used, DRM-equipped products are 'defective by design'."
Simon Perry of Digital-Lifestyles.info writes: Saturday saw anti-DRM protests at eight Apple stores across the USA organised by DefectiveByDesign, who are running an on-going 'Campaign to Eliminate DRM.'...It's the first time we've heard to a flashmob being used for anything approaching useful."
Read the story.
A hilarious picture from the San Francisco flashmob on June 10th is up at BoingBoing. Freedom Fighters dug out the following quote from Apple CEO Steve Jobs: "If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own." Local DBD volunteers printed the quote out as a large banner, and brought it with them to the June 10th event. Way to go, fellow technologists!
The quote in question, from a 2002 Wall Street Journal interview, can be found over at Macworld.
Over at NewsForge, Bruce Byfield gives an in-depth examination of the June 10th flashmobs organized by volunteer members of Defective By Design around the country. The article notes that, "DRM...is a complex issue," and quotes FSF Executive Director Peter Brown, who points out that the topic "deserves time and space to [be discussed] rationally. When this discussion happens, we win."
Brown also stressed that Defective By Design is a coalition. "We don't ask that everyone who turns up for these events should be aligned with what we stand for," Brown stresses. "A lot of people turn out to these demonstrations just because they don't like a particular use of DRM. Or they may have their own ideas about DRM. Defective By Design is there to be an action center for anyone who has a reason for disliking DRM. [All] we stand for is a very clear message: DRM needs to be stopped."
Once again, Freedom Fighters make the frontpage of BusinessWeek.com. In an article analysing the growing response against Digital Restrictions Management across Europe, Arik Hesseldahl draws attention to the successful, nation-wide demonstrations held on June 10th, 2006.
STATESIDE PROTESTS. As the outcry in Europe is spreading, there is some opposition to Apple's business practices in the U.S. A group called the Free Software Foundation carried out protests on June 10 at seven Apple retail stores in cities that included New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle.
The StopDRM coalition took to the streets last night to protest legislative action in the French Senate. The action coincided with a visit by Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation. read the press release at Musique-Libre (english translation) or this one in French at StopDRM.info.
Business Week just published this story on their front page in advance of our coordinated DRM Action at Apple Stores on Saturday.
The "Defective by Design" protests are not aimed at Apple (AAPL) in particular, but at what the Free Software Foundation sees as a growing trend toward legal restrictions that bind digital content to particular playing devices.
"This isn't intended to attack Apple and its innovations, but really to draw attention to the existence of DRM technologies, and how they restrict what consumers can do with their music," says Ted Teah, who maintains a directory of free software for the Free Software Foundation.
Let the fun begin! We will be on-site tomorrow from 10am (local time) getting suited-up and you can expect the action to start at 10:30am - remember to bring those cameras!
Apple Store - 1 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Apple Store - 679 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Apple Store - 4702 NE University Village Pl, Seattle, WA 98105
Apple Store - 100 Cambridge Side Place, Cambridge, MA 02141
Apple Store - 767 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10153
Apple Store - 160 Walt Whitman Rd. Huntington Station, NY 11746h
Apple Store - 6121 West Park Blvd. Plano, TX 75093
Apple Store - 189 The Grove Drive Los Angeles, CA 90036
Two weeks ago we launched DefectiveByDesign.org - the Campaign to Eliminate DRM - since then, more than 2000 technologists have joined us and taken the pledge to stop DRM through direct action.
Now we are taking the campaign to a national stage in an effort to increase discussion of DRM. This Saturday, June 10 at 10:30am (local time) Flash Mobs will gather in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Long Island and New York converging on Apple stores to warn customers of the dangers of DRM in the iPod and iTunes.
What is DRM?
DRM is an attempt by hardware, software and media companies like Apple to accomplish through technology what they have been unable to fully accomplish by political and legal lobbying -- the authority to regulate what you do in the privacy of your home with media you have legally purchased.
They call this "Digital Rights Management". They make it sound like they are giving you something new. But, you have always had the right to make copies of your media. DRM takes away these rights by using proprietary formats and technology.
Think of it as "Digital Restrictions Management". Technology that restricts what you can do with your computer, the electronic devices you own and the media you buy. DRM can be deployed in software, hardware and in music or movies.
What is wrong with Apple and iTunes?
Apple claims that people would steal from them if they didn't use DRM, and that they have to protect themselves. This is how they would like to portray it, but it's not how it is. Inclusion of DRM in products sold by Apple and other companies is inspired by their greed and desire to control us. To accomplish their goals, they want to monitor, report, and regulate your every interaction with your computer and electronics.
All music purchased from the iTunes music store has DRM in it. That means, at the moment, you can only have a certain number of copies. It used to be you could have 10, then Apple changed it to 7. Nothing stops them from changing it again, to 5, or 3 or 1. With DRM Apple can change the rules AGAIN, and at any time. DRM gives them that power over you. Your devices will have to do their bidding. That is what DRM is about, taking the control away from you, and giving it to Big Media and companies like Apple. The hardware and software they sell you will enforce their rules, by removing your rights. As the largest distributor of DRM infected technology, Apple has set a new low in the mistreatment of our freedoms.
Take back your technology. Say no to DRM in your computer, in your home, and in your pocket.
Join Us Today
Want to wear the message? You can order shirts in various colors and sizes and two designs from GoodStorm all proceeds go to supporting the campaign.
David H. Holtzman of Business Week writes:
Makers of new DVD players are going too far in copyright protection efforts, but buyers needn't take it lying down
...these new disks are packed full of copy-protection functions, some of which impair our ability to use the content we pay for, the way we like and are legally entitled to.
...there's an ominous feature buried in this so-called protection mechanism: If a particular brand of player is cryptographically "compromised," the studio can remotely disable all of the affected players. In other words, if some hacker halfway across the globe cracks Sony's software, Sony can shut down my DVD player across the Net.
Neil McAllister Senior Editor at InfoWorld is disappointed by our activism, and if his language is anything to judge by, we may have set him on course for some serious heart burn. In a piece entitled Free Software Foundation: Free as in do what I say, McAllister suggests FSF members and activists who turned out to protest DRM at last weeks WinHEC2006 are "cut from the PETA mold", and that the campaign is telling you that "God is on its side"(?). He suggests our description of DRM as Digital Restrictions Management warrants the renaming of the FSF to the "Fundamentalist Software Foundation", and gives us imagery of "a bridge from North Korea to the Sudan"! Who says there is no passion in technology writing - pass the antacids.
Sign up here to find out about the next event.
[img_assist|nid=37|title=DRM Elimination Crew Seattle Microsoft WinHEC2006|desc=The Defective By Design DRM Elimination Crew warn Microsoft WinHEC attendees of the dangers of DRM at Microsoft WinHEC in Seattle, May 23, 2006.|link=none|align=left|width=400|height=300] [img_assist|nid=45|title=6 running|desc=6 runners in Seattle|link=none|align=left|width=400|height=222] [img_assist|nid=26|title=DRM Elimination Crew Seattle for WinHEC|desc=The DRM Elimination Crew|link=none|align=left|width=400|height=300]
K.C. Jones of TechWeb writes:
Calling themselves freedom fighters, members of the Free Software Foundation are engaging in a campaign against Digital Rights Management, which they emphatically refer to as Digital Restrictions Management.
Members donned yellow hazardous materials suits to kick off the initiative, called DefectiveByDesign.org, in Seattle earlier this week to protest Bill Gates' keynote speech on the future of Microsoft. The direct action campaign, targeting "big media and corporations peddling Digital Restrictions Management," plans more flash protests.