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Anti Digital Restriction Management Day

Anti Digital Restriction Management Day

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What does this mean for the future? No fair use. No purchase and resell. No private copies. No sharing. No backup. No swapping. No mix tapes. No privacy. No commons. No control over our computers. No control over our electronic devices. The conversion of our homes into apparatus to monitor our interaction with published works and web sites.

If this type of invasion of privacy were coming from any other source, it would not be tolerated. That it is the media and technology companies leading the way, does not make it benign.

Users of free software are not immune to DRM either. They can be locked out, and their computers won't play the movies or music under lock. Products can "tivoize" their code (remove their freedom through DRM), delivering it back with malicious features and blocking removal. The RIAA and the MPAA are actively lobbying Congress to pass new laws to mandate DRM and outlaw products and computers that don't enforce DRM. DRM has become a major threat to the freedom of computer users.

When we allow others to control our computers and monitor our actions we invite deeper surveillance. With our personal viewing, listening, reading, browsing records on file, are we not to be alarmed?


Important Consumer Warning About DRM

Subject line: Read this consumer warning

Please read this consumer warning. This stuff really exists and you should know about it. Please also pass this onto anyone else who may not be aware of what DRM is.

Warning DRM! Digital Restrictions Management

This holiday season when you bring home a new electronic device, will you be bringing an intruder into your home? Will you and your family members end up being monitored and reported on by the software installed on these devices?

DRM is used to restrict what you and your family can do with the electronic devices and media purchased. It is an attempt by technology and media companies to take away your rights. DRM Means: No fair use. No purchase and resell. No private copies. No sharing. No backup. No swapping. No mix tapes. No privacy. No commons. No control over our computers. No control over our electronic devices.

DRM software and hardware monitors and controls your family's behavior.

Did you know that iPod users are restricted from transferring their music to other non-Apple devices because the music downloaded from iTunes is encrypted - locked with DRM? Apple allows you to write an audio CD, but will leave you with very lousy sound quality if you ever want to take your music to a new portable device in a compressed format.

Did you know that Sony Music was caught secretly planting DRM “rootkits” on customers computers. All it required was for you to play the CD you had purchased from them...

DRM is more than a nuisance. The film and music industry are setting the agenda to increase their control. They have demanded that technology companies impose DRM to deliver for them what their political lobbying to change copyright law never has: they aim to turn every interaction with a published work into a transaction, abolishing fair use and the commons, and making copyright last forever. By accepting DRM users unwittingly surrender their rights and invite a deeper surveillance. This will put your family's viewing, listening, reading, browsing records on file with them.

What gives them that right?

Stay away from DRM-dependent products like Blu-ray and HD-DVD, iTunes, Windows Media Player, Zune, Amazon Unbox...

Stay away from retailers who insist on making DRM part of the package.

Stop financing the people who want to restrict you.

Find out more at www.DefectiveByDesign.org and find 10 easy ways you can help make others aware.

Thanks for reading.


What does this mean for the future? No fair use. No purchase and resell. No private copies. No sharing. No backup. No swapping. No mix tapes. No privacy. No commons. No control over our computers. No control over our electronic devices. The conversion of our homes into apparatus to monitor our interaction with published works and web sites.
  • It's funny you mention this, as I was just having a chat with Ben Mink (a musician) last week as he came through my checkstand in which he expressed his frustration with today's rampant piracy. I paid for just about all the copyrighted material I possess and it frustrates me to think that I could have saved several hundred dollars if I just broke the law like everyone else seems to be doing these days. The governments don't seem to really give a shit about it, in fact you could probably walk right up to a police officer and tell him/her that you just downloaded a bunch of copyrighted stuff for free without getting anything more than a shrug of the shoulders in response. Since the governments have basically left the content providers to fend for themselves, these annoying and sometimes invasive DRM technologies are to be expected.

    Personally I have yet to encounter any major annoyances with DRM, but then again I don't have any copy-protected CDs and most of the software on my computer is freeware. If I buy songs on iTunes and later decide to replace my iPod with a different company's platform, I probably won't be able to use those songs with the new player because they are in a format which is proprietary to Apple and cannot be (legally) converted because of the DRM. That's annoying, but it's also something that iPod + iTunes users are expected to be aware of before they make a purchase. Calling that 'defective by design' is like calling a 3 GHz CPU 'defective' because it can't be overclocked to 3.5 GHz. As long as a product works as promised, it is not defective. Anyone who doesn't like the restrictions shouldn't buy the product, plain and simple.
    • Oh... I have seen lots of problems with DRM. I have a friend that buys a game then pirates it just because the pirated one is easier to use. The main point is that this DRM is actually economically SHOOTING ITSELF IN THE FOOT! Would you choose the easy to use, convienent, and free version, or pay for something filled with anti-piracy propaganda and made you search for the damn cd every time you want to play it? It's not the price here, it's the insult of anti-piracy movies, that are made unskippable, on the bought product, and all the stupid hoops to jump through, just to use the damn legal product.

      Adobe Photoshop is another example. Friend had legal copy, and upgraded computer, and it wouldn't let him install it on the new computer because his liscence number had been taken already. Now that software is almost a grand, so it should be good for life.

      And itunes and pure tracks.... well I'm all for purchasing mp3s on the net... but puretracks restricts it to windows media player and won't work in winamp... and i just found out that if i got itunes they wouldn't play on my player... gee... i can't buy what i want, and what i want is simple functionality. Why should i cough up money for what to me would be a broken product when i can get a working product for free?

      There needs to be rewards rather than punishment for trying to support one's favoured media endeavours.

      And not enough money goes to the artists anyways.
      If I buy a cd, most of the money goes to the recording studio. I'd rather see the money go directly into the pocket of the musician.
  • I've never seen an un-skippable DVD, but if I ever bought one and found that I couldn't skip scenes I would definitely return it and demand my money back. That's not working as promised, unless they put a big label right on the DVD case that says it has skipping disabled. As a general rule, products that don't work as promised should be refunded in full. Anyone who refuses to refund the money should be sued for fraudulent advertising. That doesn't provide a legal justification for piracy, however.

    I've never seen any reason to buy Adobe Photoshop since the freeware image editing programs have always satisfied my needs. I'm pretty sure, however, that if you friend phoned Adobe and explained the situation they would generate him a new license. Microsoft has done that for me, twice, on the same copy of Windows XP. Each time it took about 3 minutes, so I can't really call that more than a minor annoyance. If it really bothered me then I wouldn't use Windows at all. Furthermore, Microsoft actually does reward users of genuine windows by allowing us access to their download library, which contains several useful programs such as UPHClean.

    On the other hand, I do see how it might be a problem if Adobe ever went under or, more likely, was bought out. I agree that nobody should be stuck with a program they can't install anymore, especially if they paid $1,000. If they are going to insist on this approach then they should try selling the software on a subscription basis. There are several advantages to such an approach, for both the publisher and the customer. The customer is spared from the frustration of dropping a lot of money for version 4 of the program only to see version 5 released 2 weeks later. Also, if the customer decides that he/she would prefer to use something else later on, it is much cheaper to cancel a subscription and subscribe to a different program than to abandon a $1,000 purchase.

    There is another alternative besides buying music online in a proprietary, protected format, and downloading it illegally. That alternative is to buy the CD. Most of them are unprotected and can be ripped and converted into any format for any media player. A product released in a propriety, protected format, however, is not 'broken' if you are told before you buy it that it can only be used on a certain platform. I've never heard anyone who bought the XBox version of a video game complain that it doesn't work on their Playstation 2. Ultimately it's up to the publisher to decide what restrictions, if any, to put on a product, just like it is up to the consumer to decide whether to buy and use it, or not buy and not (legally) use it.

    I think the days are numbered for the big record companies. Current technology makes it very easy for independent labels to directly sell their music online, and they could eventually find ways to bypass the record companies when it comes to putting their CDs on store shelves. I don't think that's going to stop pirates from finding new ways to rationalize their actions (those musicians already have enough money, etc.), but at least it will mean more of the money going to the talent and less to the marketing.
    • i just want to point out that in the dvd you can skip scenes just not the anti-piracry movie at the begining.

      aslo, i didn't say broken, as in plain old broken, but "broken to me". Like buying a car with three wheels, or a toasted engine. someone out their would see a treasure in the parts, but for a person looking for a whole car it's a pos.

      as for cds... they are expensive, and you are commited to buying the whole thing.

      i don't pirate, but I'm not hearing any really good reasons not to... and i'm saying that is why drm is stupid... it's not really solving the problem, just changing the demographics.
      • If you are looking to buy an engine, and you are told that the one you are looking at is toasted before you buy it, then I really don't see what the problem is. If you don't like it, don't buy it. It doesn't make sense to buy it after being told it doesn't work and then complain about it.

        It's hard to give any good reasons not to pirate. "It's against the law" fails because the chance of actually being prosecuted is next to nil. "It's wrong" is an arbitrary and unprovable moral statement that is subject to dismissal by anyone who doesn't believe in intellectual property rights. Even invoking the golden rule, in the form of "How would you like it if your employer or client didn't pay you for your work?", is problematic because the analogy is somewhat weak. Basically people who want to pirate will do so and no argument is going to convince them otherwise.

        DRM is popular because it gives a new reason not to pirate: "Because you can't." or "Because it's not worth the time and effort." I know of several would-be-pirates who were successfully deterred from pirating Windows XP by Microsoft's activation system. They actually came to me asking if I could help them get around it and I said "No, you have to pay for the software if you want to use it." They all paid for it in the end. It might not be the ideal solution to the problem, and it may very well have the effect of encouraging certain demographics to pirate, but it nevertheless seems to be working in reducing the overall rate of piracy.

        I will eventually be developing a program of my own: a powerful diagnostic utility for Windows. When I release it I will most definitely incorporate some kind of DRM system into it, although I haven't decided exactly what. I know people will try to pirate my work and there is no way I'm going to sit idly by and let them do it. I want to at least make it very difficult for them and waste as much of their time as possible. If I can actually find a way to catch pirates in the act and notify their ISPs, that would be even better. At the same time I want to make sure the paying customers are happy, and I'm sure I will eventually come up with a solution that is the best of both worlds.
        • ok, my point is there are no working mp3s on the market. they are all, by my definition "broken".
          the market is not catering to me. if they wanted to reduce piracy, they should cater to the market.
          you're saying "you've been told, so just don't buy it", and i'm saying there is nothing to buy, and i wish to purchase.

          also, pure tracks did not give any indication that it would not work in winamp. the user info might have changed by now, but i feel damn cheated. i read everything carefully before i bought, and still got burnt.
          • Unfortunately there is really nothing they can do to 'fix' the proprietary format problem short of removing the DRM, and that's just not going to happen unless they decide that people can be trusted not to abuse the unprotected files. Interestingly enough, prior to the late 90s most software companies were willing to trust users with unprotected media. When the pirates grew from a small fringe of computer users into the mainstream, that was when all the copy protection measures came into play.

            Have you ever read the fable about the wind and the sun? Ramping up piracy as a way of 'protesting' DRM is just going to encourage the development of even more restrictive and invasive methods, in the same way that the wind blowing harder at the man just made him hold his coat more tightly. If you really want to see DRM go away, try to find a campaign that will act more like the sun than the wind..
  • (no subject) -
    • Re: I totally agree

      I was inspired by sammealhaen's (sp??) post about october 3rd being anti-drm day.

      i have a firewall, so i see spyware interactions going on as microsoft gets pings from windows, and games send out signals online, but they won't work if they aren't allowed to connect to the net sometimes.. *shrug*
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