Cory Doctorow has written a spot-on new column over at Information Week on how Apple iTunes' DRM is bad for business (not just customers). It's a great overview of the problems associated with DRM, in language that is fairly accessible. What's interesting is his tone, though, which seems to target big record companies -- laying out for them how their insistence on DRM is shooting them in the foot, putting them at Apple's beck and call.
Free Software Foundation (FSF) President Richard Stallman, met with French presidential candidate Ségolène Royal, and they agreed a joint statement. On DRM and the recent French copyright bill they say, "By giving a privileged legal status to digital restrictions (DRM), the bill "copyrights and related rights in the information society" (DADVSI) is going in the wrong direction. It will thus be necessary to examine from scratch the legal framework created by the DADVSI law at the French level and to contribute to the development of a European and international legal framework more favorable to the sharing of works and knowledge."
Tim over at Canadian Linux Nerd mentions the DefectiveByDesign Freedom Rings day of action in post that highlights some of the problems with DRM in music.
...he'd bought a new CD but it refused to play on his Mac. I asked him to read me all the labels on the CD and sure enough it had a "Plays for sure" label. I explained that this meant it would for sure not play on his Mac and advised him to return to HMV where he bought it. He was of course enraged by this, I pointed out that he had in the past told me I was being unreasonable for fighting DRM and that he thought that the Digital Restrictions Management on his iTunes music store music was reasonable even though such music can only be played in iTunes or on his iPod. Since then he has converted all his iTunes music to CD and signed up for Defectivebydesign.
Yesterday, Ian Clarke, one of our LA Freedom Fighters wrote:
Attacking Apple effectively will have much more impact than making a smaller impact on a number of companies/organizations that include Apple. Apple has built a brand based on user and creator friendliness. They should not be permitted to bathe in the glow of helping creators and user-friendliness while propagating user-hostile technology like DRM. Apple needs a strong incentive to use their leverage with media companies to roll back DRM restrictions - right now, very little such incentive exists.
Our June 10th actions at Apple stores across the country continue to get press, even as much as a week after the fact. The chorus of activists dissatisfied with Apple's current position on DRM continues to grow.
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'."
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.
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.
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