Anti-DRM day: October 3rd. Let's protest!

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Sorry, I came over all militant there for a moment, and on a Friday afternoon too. Phew…

Is this is a good cause to get demonstrating about? An open-source group has marked October 3rd as ‘Anti DRM day‘. DRM, for those of you lucky enough to have avoided it, is Digital Rights Management, and in its many guises (and different names) it’s what the big content producers slap onto their CDs, DVDs, and digital files to stop you and I from copying them and distributing them too much.

Wow, what a technical description.

DRM comes in many forms and many companies use it: Apple’s iTunes, Sony on CDs (remember that? Legitimate purchasers tried to play a Sony CD on their PCs only to get some spyware installed on their machine), Microsoft, etc. etc.

Now whilst I understand content producers and distributors wanting to protect their work, what often ends up happening is that the mastermind hacker breaks the DRM anyway, whilst us non-programmer consumer types who legally purchase content get stung by not having the freedom to do what we want with it.

DefectiveByDesign.org are organising Anti-DRM day, and of course there’s a blog post for it which opens with the rather irritating quote from Disney (allegedly): “If consumers even know there’s a DRM, what it is, and how it works, we’ve already failed”

Great.

They’re even trying to get Bono to take a stand on DRM. Not sure how successful that’s going to be, though you can sign the petition. I’d think he’d be a bit worn out, to be honest, after all he campaigned for Make Poverty History, and did some exclusive iPoddy things for Apple, and well he is an International Rock Star…

Back to the protest: I wasn’t sure how I could protest against an electronic ‘thing’ – so here’s some suggestions from the site:

* protesting outside Apple Stores in Hazmat suits (eh?)
* sticking Anti DRM post it notes over CDs in stores
* get arrested for violating your own copyright (is this just getting silly now?)

I’m not sure how much protesting is going to change the minds of the big guys who implement DRM. What do you think?

Andy Merrett