I just read about this new independent online music store, AmieStreet.com. Other than the fact that it is DRM free, the reason it is noteworthy is because Amie Street exhibits just the kind of innovation that will explode in a world without DRM. At Amie Street, songs change price (from free to 98 cents) based on how many times they have been downloaded. Artists get 70% of the revenues from their work after a flat fee for hosting and bandwidth.
This from Gizmo Cafe: An EU Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Meglena Kuneva, slammed Apple for it's DRM. She said, "Do you find it reasonable that a CD will play in all players, but an iTunes song will only plan on an iPod? It doesn’t to me. Something must change.".
Universal France is testing DRM free music sales: Universal has begun testing the viability of DRM-free downloads, albeit in a very limited release of an album by French singer-songwriter Emilie Simon.
While the test is limited, it is hopeful to see another of the big for looking at DRM free digital downloads.
As part of last October's Day Against DRM, folks from FreeCulture Harvard, Free Culture Boston and the MIT Media Lab, held an event they dubbed iRony to help people install RockBox on iPods. This short video explains the problems with DRM and iPods, the benefits of RockBox, and talks a bit about the event.
Figured with so many people dropping by the site, I would highlight that we have T-Shirts for sale all proceeds go to support the campaign. You can also download printable signs and stickers or get buttons, badges and banners for your site! If you want to design a T-Shirt or website button/badge, send us a link to your artwork.
Also, now is a great time to join the Free Software Foundation!
The RIAA has announced that they plan to sue more students by sending letters to 13 colleges and universities. They plan to send the schools lists of IP addresses and want the schools to turn over the names of the students and pass the notice of intent to sue on to the students. All this before a suit or subpoena has been filed.
Just read this over on the Washington Post Blogs
Reps. Rich Boucher (D-Va.) and John Dolittle (R-Calif.) introduced what they call the "Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship" (or FAIR USE) Act they say will make it easier for digital media consumers to use the content they buy.
ArsTechnica has an article about Apple and the DRM conundrum. The suggestion is that Apple would never sell both DRMd and DRM free music side by side on the iTMS because of their commitment to a simple and uniform user experience.
Cory Doctorow had a great article in Salon today about Steve jobs tortured DRM position.
We couldn't have said any of this better ourselves. Here are some excerpts from Cory's piece.
I doubt Jobs' sincerity. I suspect he likes DRM because it creates an anti-competitive lock-in to Apple. I think he's trying to shift blame for the much-criticized DRM to the music industry, whose executives are twirling their mustaches and declaring DRM to be the only way forward for their industry.
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.