Funeral for DRM in Cambridge, Mass this Saturday

Dean from Harvard Free Culture sez, "Details are sparse, but it has been confirmed that Digital Rights Management was recently killed in a head on collision with an oncoming future. Yesterday, in preparation for the funeral, members of Harvard Free Culture entombed the recently-deceased DRM (in the form of a Zune and an iPod) in a block of solid concrete. The public memorial service will take place this Saturday at 6:30pm in JFK park in Cambridge, MA." Link


  1. Let me quickly count the ways this is ridiculous:

    1) DRM is not dead. The biggest online music retailer in the world still uses it, as do most others.

    2) DRM only bothers people who buy music infected with it. If you don’t want it, buy CDs or from Amazon.

    3) Neither the iPod nor the Zune have anything inherent in their design that has anything to do with DRM, aside from the fact that they can play DRM-infected files. They’ll both play vanilla files just fine.

    The only ways to kill DRM are the following:

    1) Legislate against it. Make it illegal for industries to control how people use something after they buy it. This would require our governments to not be in bed with the music industry… Which isn’t likely to happen.

    2) Stop buying it altogether. This would require people (not just BoingBoing/Slashdot readers) to know what it is and care. This isn’t very likely either.

    DRM is not dead. Hell, it’s not even sleeping.

  2. > 3) Neither the iPod nor the Zune have anything inherent in their design that has anything to do with DRM…

    Unless it has changed, the Zune applies DRM’esque rules to wirelessly shared files, limiting them in number of plays and life, regardless of any pre-existing restrictions (or not) on the files…

  3. Dear Tim

    Our format as webovians may appear to bind time as our forefathers, but you of all people knows better. An electron width or a year? All same same nevermind.

    Respects to them.

  4. It’s all fun and games now, but wait for the PTSD from working in DRM death-squads to set in.

    Bill Gates made Ballmer set copies of Ubuntu up to the ankles in concrete before throwing them them off the back of his yacht, and look how that turned out.

    You’re becoming the very thing you despise.

  5. DRM might be dead in the US, but it’s alive and well for those of us in the rest of the world.

    Napster and Amazon’s DRM free catalogs are, sadly, not available to us.

  6. ooo another symbolic ceremony wasting resources with no clear explanation of how this would be effective (even remotely effective). At least protests are occasionally effective. I <3 my country.

  7. I’m sure both of the people there were very impressed with themselves.

    Fight the good fight. :\

  8. That’s an old iPod…. deserves to be buried. I wonder why they didn’t bury one of the more useful, more expensive ones? … Oh, they couldn’t get one for free? :-)

  9. Didn’t another group recently have a funeral for some sort of word or somesuch?

    I don’t believe that it turned out quite the way they hoped it would.

    Unfortunately, methinks this act shall have similar non-consequences…

  10. iPods have nothing to do with DRM. Apple is the largest music retailer in the world and has led the push for DRM-free music to be available; so far, only EMI has taken them up on it, which is why AmazonMP3 has the same DRM-free tracks that iTunes carries. Without the weight of iTunes/Apple behind the anti-DRM push, we’d still have all DRM’d music.

  11. Zune and IPod manufacturers laugh all the way to the bank at the “subversive” way their brands are at the center of these useless gestures within the public sphere.

    How bored do you have to be to attend this thing? It is Cambridge after all…

  12. why did they grease the bucket? perhaps they don’t really want to destroy those expensive electronics.

  13. They probably greased the bucket so the concrete slug would be easier to remove.

    Doing my part, an exclusively Amazon MP3 customer myself. I’ll play them where I like and on devices I might not even own yet thankyouverymuch.

  14. #16, you got it all wrong. You should get informed.

    All of AmazonMP3’s catalog (and now also Napster’s) is comprised of DRM-free MP3s, and while it’s not as big a catalog as iTunes’ whole, both are vastly larger than iTunes’ DRM-free selection. iTunes only has EMI tracks on their “plus” DRM-free offering. AmazonMP3 has titles from all four majors, for instance: (Columbia/Sony) (Sire/Warner) (Roc-a-Fella/Universal) (Jagjagwar/Indie) (and of course EMI)

    I picked those at random, but as an exercise, see if any of the first four are available DRM-free on iTunes. Even the indie record. Despite having unparalleled market weight, and despite Jobs’s “letter” which some seem to have taken to heart, Apple hasn’t done anything concrete to get rid of DRM or at least now widen their DRM-free selection. Why would they? DRM is good for Apple. DRM act as the walls of the iPod ecosystem locked-in garden.

  15. Warners are selling DRM free on Amazon specifically to try and break Apple’s dominance of this sector.

    They will not allow Apple to go DRM free.

  16. #21, yes, AmazonMP3 has made specific deals with artists who’re exclusive to their store, that’s true — same as iTunes.

    But iTunes’ DRM-free program is open to indie labels as well, though I don’t have an answer as to why Jagjaguar’s artists are on iTunes as DRM’d tracks.

    My point was that Steve Jobs’ letter, which unfortunately Apple hasn’t taken to heart as well as their competitors, was the first genuine anti-DRM ultimatum for labels to take seriously. It paved the way for Amazon and Napster.

    All that said, when I’m buying an album online, I typically buy from Amazon or eMusic, because you’re right — 50% of the time it’s still DRM’d on iTunes!

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