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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Activists around the world protested in solidarity with this demonstration in Cambridge.
On Sunday, we led a protest at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) against the attempt by Netflix, Hollywood and other technology and media companies to weave Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into the HTML standard that undergirds the Web.
Explore the gallery of photos against DRM in Web standards, and add your own!
Last week, we asked you to show the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that you wouldn't allow Digital Restrictions Management in the Web's technical standards, and you answered. From around the world, you sent in protest selfies against the proposed restriction standards championed by Netflix, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Hollywood. With you at our backs, we're organizing a major demonstration this Sunday, outside the building where the W3C will be meeting to discuss DRM. A parallel demonstration is planned outside the W3C office in Amsterdam. Our activism is working -- the campaign has drawn renewed attention to this once low-profile issue and more people are learning that DRM standards would be a major regression for user freedom on the Web.
Join these activists and take your own photo at a W3C office near you.
For years, Defective by Design and the anti-DRM movement have been fighting Hollywood and proprietary software companies who want to weave Digital Restrictions Management into the HTML standard that undergirds the Web. Winning this is a top priority for us -- the DRM proposal, known as EME (Encrypted Media Extensions), would make it cheaper and more politically acceptable to impose restrictions on Web users, opening the floodgates to a new wave of DRM throughout the Internet. We've been calling this awful possibility the Hollyweb -- a network riddled with restrictions that serves Hollywood, not its users.
Co-sign the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) comment to the U.S. Copyright Office regarding DMCA anti-circumvention provisions by noon EST (5pm UTC) on March 2nd, 2016
After years of protesting against the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)'s anti-circumvention provisions and the broken process of gaining exemptions from it, the Copyright Office calls for comments on how to "improve" the system. But the system cannot be fixed. We need to end the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions now.
What is the central goal of the Defective by Design campaign?
It is to shine a light on the abuses of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) -- to expose it as digital handcuffs, and motivate people to break free. We may not always notice the handcuffs, but we feel them chafe when DRM installs malware and spyware on our computers, when its owners remotely delete ebooks without warning, and when DRM laws are used to intimidate good-faith security researchers working to hold corporations accountable.
In the flurry of holiday advertising that happens at the end of the year, many people are swept into buying electronics gifts that are rotten with Digital Restrictions Management, and restrict their users in other ways as well. Our Giving Guide is designed to make it easy for you to choose tech gifts that respect recipients' rights and avoid those that don't. But to have the greatest possible impact, we also need you to spread the word about ethical tech this season.
Electronics are popular gifts for the holidays, but people often overlook the restrictions that manufacturers slip under the wrapping paper. From remote deletion of files to harsh rules about copying and sharing, some gifts take more than they give. The problems include DRM but go beyond it -- any device running proprietary software, instead of freely licensed software, is a locked box its users can't control or understand.
The blight of the DMCA continues as another round of the anti-circumvention exemptions process comes to a close.
Ten years ago today, Sony was caught red-handed in a flashpoint that galvanized popular resistance to Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). A security researcher named Mark Russinovich published a description of surveillance malware (in this case a technically sophisticated rootkit) that was secretly installed on users' computers by the DRM on Sony music CDs.
We have written previously about the organizations and individuals who opposed exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) anti-circumvention provisions. These drones oppose the rights of users to backup, modify, and study the software and devices that we own. The DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions create legal penalties for simply accessing your software under your own terms, and raises those penalties even higher should dare to share the tools needed to do so. It creates real penalties for anyone who wants to avoid Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) controls. The granting of exemptions to these totalitarian rules is a broken and half-hearted attempt to limit the damage these rules bring, granting for 3 years a reprieve for certain specified devices and software.
When we say people and groups lack integrity, we mean that they're corrupt and deceitful. Similarly, when computer scientists say that a file lacks integrity, they mean it's been corrupted: unintentionally or maliciously modified. Apple's recent decision to impose Digital Restrictions Management -- the favorite anti-feature of proprietary format developers -- on many music fans lacked integrity, and took away the files' integrity as well.
These DRM offenders tried to squelch anti-circumvention exemptions; let them know that DRM is always wrong.