READERS DESERVE DIGITAL RIGHTS
October 12th, 2019
All images CC BY.
The epidemic known as Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) has been spreading across the Web for years, infiltrating our homes, workplaces, and just about everywhere we go. Too many tools, technologies, books, games, movies, and music are coming to us locked down with DRM -- whether they're streaming or claiming to be locally hosted. Recently we have seen it further extend its sinister influence into education, especially in the form of "digital-first" textbooks that put onerous restrictions on students that forbid them from accessing the course materials they have bought, and the education that they deserve. The "Netflix of textbooks" model practiced by Pearson and similar publishers is a Trojan horse for education: requiring a constant Internet connection for "authentication" purposes, severely limiting the number of pages a student can read at one time, and secretly collecting telemetric data on their reading habits.
Every year, we organize the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) to mobilize protests collaboration, grassroots activism, and in-person actions against the grave threat of DRM.
For IDAD 2019, we are calling on Pearson and similar companies to stop putting a lock on our learning, and demonstrate their alleged commitment to education by dropping DRM from their electronic textbooks and course materials. At the same time, it is our plan to show that a better world is possible by encouraging people to contribute to collaborative and DRM-free textbooks, and resist the stranglehold these publishers are putting on something as fundamental as one's education. To help us, join the Defective by Design (DbD) coalition as we organize local and remote hackathons on free culture educational materials, and an in-person protest of Pearson Education on Saturday, October 12th.
How to participate
The easiest way to participate is to join us in going a Day Without DRM, and resolve to spend an entire day (or longer!) without Netflix, Hulu, and other restricted services to show your support of the movement. Document your experiences on social media using the tags "#idad" or "#dbd", and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a special story you'd like us to share.
Print and share our dust jacket design, which you can slip over your "dead tree" books (while you still have them) to warn others of the dangers of ebook DRM. Pass them out at coffee shops, libraries, and wherever readers congregate! We'll be distributing a few of our own to those who attend our Boston IDAD events.
Even more effective is to join up with others to make your voice louder. We'll be providing activists around the world with support on how they can stage their own local in-person event, as well as how to join us online while we help improve the free and ethical alternatives to educational materials restricted by DRM.
In Boston, we'll be leading the way with our own demonstration on October 12th, 2019, at Pearson Education's corporate offices, followed by an evening hackathon on collaborative, freely licensed educational materials.
If you're IRC-inclined, join us in the #dbd channel on the Freenode network for real-time chat and collaboration on free culture educational works, beginning at 10/12 at 17:00 EDT. We'll also be grouping together on the LibrePlanet wiki to discuss our plans.
Are you an organization or project interested in supporting IDAD?
We're looking for vendors of DRM-free media, organizations that support the building of a DRM-free world, and those who believe in the mission of DbD to participate by offering sales, writing blog posts, organizing events, and sharing with your members about IDAD. Please contact us at email@example.com for more information.
Together we can build a future without DRM.