June 10, 2006
Campaign's rapid rise targets Apple Inc., with Flash Mobs appearing in multiple city locations across the United States.
Many places, June 10 2006:
In a coordinated action at 8 cities across the United States, technologists donned bright yellow Hazmat suits and swarmed Apple Stores, warning shoppers and staff that Apple iTunes are infected with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and that Apple's products are defective by design.
The technologists displayed posters mocking Apple's marketing campaign, with graphic images of a silhouetted iPod users bound by the ubiquitous white earbud cord. The group claim that as the largest purveyor of media infected with DRM, Apple have paved the way for the further erosion of users' rights and freedoms made possible by the technology.
The coordinated protest was organized by DefectiveByDesign.org, a direct-action campaign targeting Big Media and corporations peddling DRM. "In the 17 days since the launch of the campaign we have had more than 2,000 technologists sign the pledge to take direct action and warn people about DRM" was how campaign manager Gregory Heller described the explosive grassroots effort. In Heller's view, the success of the campaign is explained by the growing awareness of what DRM will mean for the future, "technologists are the first to be affected by the collusion of Big Media, device manufacturers and proprietary software companies attempts to lock us down. Today it is movies and music, but all data and all software can be controlled by the imposition of this treacherous technology called DRM".
An initiative of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), Defective By Design is urging all technologists to get involved and help warn the public. "We want technology and innovation without restriction. We want to have control over our computers and devices" said Peter Brown, Executive Director of the FSF. "Apple needs to drop the imposition of this restrictive technology".
Brown's case is simple: the computers, high-definition screens, phones, music players and video players that are currently being sold are "defective by design". These products have had their functionality intentionally crippled to restrict the user. This latest generation of devices won't respect the user's right to make private copies of their digital media. They make no provision that would allow art, literature, music or film to ever fall into the public domain. Effectively, the media purchased for these devices does not belong to the user -- instead they have only received a restrictive license to use it. The networking of these DRM'd devices means that as the user watches a film, reads an e-book or switches channels on their HDTV, their habits can be recorded and actions monitored. The result is that over time, DRM technology will negate, if not completely eliminate, the rights of the individual. The imposition of these restrictions now means that electronic devices no longer belong to the user, but to the corporations imposing DRM.
"Our computers and electronic devices are a major channel for our individual expressions of freedom." said Brown "DRM restrict what we can do with our computers and devices, and therefore DRM restricts our freedom".
With DRM in place, media conglomerates can change the rules whenever they want, leading to more restrictions on the individual.
"Apple had hoped that the commercial success of the iPod and iTunes would allow them to enforce a monopoly through their use of DRM" said Henri Poole, Chairman of CivicActions and a coalition partner in the campaign. "Apple have already imposed further restrictions on users of their DRM'd products. And we have just witnessed them undermine democratic efforts in France that would have protected French citizens from DRM."
Today's event in New York, Los Angeles, Long Island, Boston, Chicago, Plano, Seattle and San Francisco was the second in a series planned by DefectiveByDesign.org that will mobilize individuals to make a stand against DRM.
About Defective By Design
DefectiveByDesign.org is a broad-based, anti-DRM campaign that is targeting Big Media, unhelpful manufacturers and DRM distributors. It aims to make all manufacturers wary about bringing their DRM-enabled products to market. The campaign aims to identify "defective" products for the consumer. Users are being asked to stand up in defense of their existing freedoms and to take action by joining at DefectiveByDesign.org
About the Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software - particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants - and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software. Their Web site, located at www.fsf.org , is an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support their work can be made at http://fsf.org/join They are headquartered in Boston, MA, USA.