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Day Against DRM (fsf.org)
136 points by bootload on May 4, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 32 comments

This press release sounds like a declaration of war on content creators. You won't kill DRM by tut-tutting it. You kill DRM by changing the minds of content creators who use it. You won't do that by waging a war on them.

What does one do to participate in this anyway? The press release wasn't clear.

While I don't disagree with the point, we are actually not declaring war on content creators, but on content rights-holders. I'm just guessing, but I would suppose that the majority of cases in which DRM was applied to a product was done so by a middle-man, e.g., Sony Records, not Lady Gaga.

Showing more of my ignorance on the subject, does anyone know if the content-producers are even consulted on whether or not their copyrighted works get DRM or not?

"We launched your career, handle all the hard work, and give you the freedom to create. We need DRM to keep doing this."

The rights holders have a very compelling argument from the perspective of a creator. How do you convince someone DRM is bad when the person showering them in money and fame is telling them it's good?

By educating them.

They link to http://www.defectivebydesign.org/ which seems to be main organising point.

Seems very misguided. It takes aim at DRM, not why DRM exists. People don't care about DRM. Think about how many people buy the products this site calls defective. But people do care that the people who create think they need DRM. A public awareness campaign focused on getting people to convince creators that DRM is bad would be more effective.

Large businesses including publishers rarely base their decisions on ethical principles — businesses are done for profit. It is the consumer's responsibility to punish them for unethical behaviour. So we should be responsible consumers, and we should not buy any DRM-infected content or software no matter how useful it is from a pragmatic standpoint. Every purchase is a vote.

You go over to O'Reilly and buy a DRM-free e-book. Now, the FSF likely won't suggest that because they don't like mentioning the existence of “non-free” documentation, but IMO one of the best ways to protest DRM is by saying, with our pocketbooks, that we want e-books and are willing to pay good money for them but find DRM unacceptable.

If Tor had gotten their DRM-free book thing in order by now, rather than waiting until July or so, I'd probably also be buying a Tor e-book today.

This is confusing the two meanings of free that FSF tries so hard to fight. RMS doesn't care about paying for documentation (the FSF supported itself for quite some time selling docs and tapes). They care about free sharability of software, and by extension information about software. And yes, from that perspective the non-redistributable stuff from O'Reilly isn't something the FSF is interested in supporting per se.

I tried not to confuse them, but don't seem to have done a good job.

You are correct, the non-redistributability of many O'Reilly books is what they would they would object to, not cost. And not all O'Reilly books are non-redistributable - they have a number of books under open licenses.

From 2010. Don't people look at dates before posting?

Don't Repeat Yourself, in classic UNIX fashion. They're reusing the same blog post for each year.

I don't see this linked in the news/event boxes on fsf.org, I think the person who posted this to HN used an old link -- not the FSF.

I just went to the front page of fsf.org, search for "day against drm" and clicked the link. It took me here:


Recently I've been researching autonomous cars, and I haven't explored this idea much, but could DRM have a role in preventing users from modifying the software that drives their car, or other life-and-death scenarios?

Like I said, it's just an inkling at this point, any thoughts?

I think in issues of public safety like that, it would be more a matter of law and not digital rights. Tinting your windows too dark, cutting a brake line, or adding distracting lights to the exterior are all ways to modify your car that are illegal (where I live, at least), so there's really no need to have other protective measures against that built into the car. I'd suspect driving software modifications would be treated similarly, with DRM or some similar system mainly being used to detect the illegal modifications as opposed to trying too hard to prevent them.

People are somehow prevented by law to modify their car from hardware to software already. In most countries, changing your intake or doing an ECU remap is less dramatic than bolting on a turbo on a NA car but it is nonetheless exactly the same: your car is no longer complying to characteristics from when it was homologated. Therefore if you do so you can basically only drive it in your backyard and not on public roads, unless you take on you (and your wallet and patience) to have those modifications homologated as a special case.

lol irrelevant

@skerrit_bwoy If you want to really participate in a discussion on HN you should stop trolling and present your opinion.


Actually, you seem to exist solely to troll. Guessing you won't be around for very long.

I would take posts like this from the FSF more seriously if they proposed or endorsed a solution, rather than simply proposing a protest.

FSF may claim to be about "Free as in Speech, rather than Free as in Beer," but DRM straddles both of these points. Yes, we're restricted in the products that can utilize DRM files, but DRM also exists to protect ownership rights. Its a complex system, and one that can't simply be "abolished" without some suitable alternative to protects both interests.

There are lots of theories and examples of alternatives to DRM that protect the rights of both the creator and end user. I'm just disappointed that the FSF didn't propose one of these, or their own, as a viable solution. It's easy to point fingers, it's tough to propose meaningful solutions.

    [DRM] can't simply be "abolished" without some suitable
    alternative to protects both interests.
It can be and in the music industry largely has been. iTunes has no DRM. Amazon's mp3 store has no DRM. Bandcamp has no DRM.

The solution is getting rid of DRM. DRM does not prevent people intent on pirating their media from doing whatever they want. It hurts legitimate users.

The existence of DRM has nothing to do with preserving the freedom of content creators. Your presentation of it as something that does is naive. It exists to protect the interests and power of media publishers. The publishers--not the creators--are the ones making the choices about DRM. Its use is an attempt to prop up outdated business models, because that's easier--and, in the short term, safer--than change.

In my earlier post I was referring to publishers -- they are partial owners on the content.

I agree that their business models need an overhaul, but simply pointing a finger from afar, and telling these entrenched organizations to change won't get far. These industries are too big and entreneched to just dies either. The most practical answer is to have some sort of compromise.

It'll be hard to go back to pre-DRM, too. You can't unshift a paradigm like DRM for big media

    You can't unshift a paradigm like DRM for big media
Yes, you can.

DRM was pervasive in the music industry. It no longer is. DRM was pervasive in the ebook industry. We are beginning to see signs from publishers (Tor books being the most recent example) of a willingness to sell ebooks without DRM. "DRM-free" has become a selling point for smaller companies in the games industry.

It is not easy, and it is not fast, but it is possible, and it is happening.

DRM-FREE is happening in many ways and it's a great thing. But in the music and movie industry they are leveraging streaming technologies like Netflix and Spotify to create solutions that still have DRM that just feel less intrusive then others. For E-books I think companies like O'Reilly are not only making users who are aware of DRM happy, they are taking a competitive advantage of a segmented DRM market(Nook vs Amazon vs Kobo vs whoever else) by going DRM-FREE.

Richard Stallmann proposed a internet access tax that is distributed to producers in a cube-root function of the measured popularity (number of downloads etc.) of their works:


The German Chaos Computer Club proposed a similar system using a cryptographic micropayment currency:


(sorry only German)

> protect the rights of both the creator and end user

Take a look at https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/misinterpreting-copyright.htm... . The FSF holds a consistent position on this: "copyright privileges can be justified only in the name of the readers, never in the name of the publishers"; in other words, we permit limited copyright restrictions because we want more works produced, and that represents a tradeoff. The same thing applies to DRM: tolerating DRM means we might get a few more works produced (though widespread evidence would seem to suggest otherwise), but we lose a lot of rights over those works. That tradeoff doesn't seem worth it.

Like what meaningful solution? Pre-digital DRM was essentially the difficulty of copying, and that is no longer "difficult", and you can't undo that because DRM on media people care about will be broken.

There are lots of theories and examples of alternatives to DRM that protect the rights of both the creator and end user.

Such as?

Very true, especially as the FSF has been so instrumental in creating and encouraging the creation of free software. While the FSF have "been against" non free software they have at least helped provide the alternative. In the case of DRM, not so much.

GPL and other licenses are the alternative. The only functional difference between a license and DRM is that enforcement is in the hands of the rights holders until the DRM is broken. GPL is hoping no one steals it. DRM is trying to keep people from stealing it until you make enough to cover expenses and some profit.

Law is the fallback for both.

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