If you've logged into YouTube recently, you've probably noticed that they're pushing their Rental service pretty hard. YouTube Rentals brings full-length independent movies to YouTube, at a price -- they use Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) to severely limit how the videos can be used. Many devices, including certain Android phones, are unable to access them at all.
This about-face goes against exactly what made YouTube useful in the first place -- the unencumbered sharing of video.
What does this mean for YouTube users? DRM prohibits uses of the videos that even US copyright law allows. For example, DRMed videos can't be saved for later watching offline. You also can't take an excerpt of a video and use it in your video response -- something a lot of people do with existing videos.
DRM threatens to undercut some of the positive progress YouTube has been making toward supporting the freedom of its users, with HTML5 instead of proprietary Flash, and the unencumbered codec WebM.
We're calling on everyone who appreciates YouTube for what it's really for to join us in refusing to buy YouTube Rentals.
If you watch YouTube videos, help send a message against DRM by refusing to "rent."
If you share videos on YouTube, add this to your profile page:
"Thanks for checking out my videos. Please note: I don't use YouTube Rentals, and I hope you won't either. Here's one reason why: http://defectivebydesign.org/youtube-rentals"