Last month, I filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of Electronic Frontier Foundation, 22 of EFF's supporters, and a diverse coalition of rightsholders, public interest groups, and retailers, documenting the ways that ordinary Americans come to harm when they buy products without realizing that these goods have been encumbered with DRM, and asking the FTC to investigate fair labeling for products that come with sneaky technological shackles.
In my latest Guardian column, DRM products are defective by design. Time to tell users what they're buying, I describe the process by which we came to file, and what we're hoping will come of it.
In our open letter on DRM labelling – a letter signed by a diverse coalition of rights holders, public interest groups, and publishers – we ask the FTC to take action to ensure that people know what they’re getting when they buy products encumbered with DRM. DRM-free publishers love this idea, because where DRM-labelling prevails, customers overwhelmingly favour DRM-free products.
But DRM-encumbered publishers should also love this, because they keep telling us that people don’t mind DRM. One significant challenge to DRM labelling is that the restrictions imposed by DRM can be incredibly complex – a video may play back on most manufacturers’ displays, but not all, and not at every resolution, and not if the video player believes that it is running in a virtual machine or has been relocated to a different country.
What’s more, most modern DRM is designed for “renewability” – which is a DRM-vendor euphemism for a remote kill-switch. These DRM tools phone home periodically for updates, and install these updates without user intervention, and then disable some or all of the features that were there when you bought the product.
DRM products are defective by design. Time to tell users what they're buying
In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Green European Journal short story about the terrible European Copyright Directive which passed last March, False Flag. Published in December 2018, the story highlights the ways in which this badly considered law creates unlimited opportunities for abuse, especially censorship by corporations who've been embarassed by whistleblowers and […]
Canada's Conservative Party is terrible, and it has terrible policies, and it will be terrible for Canada if they are elected. I already voted against them with my mail-in ballot. That said, the CBC is 100% wrong to sue the Tories for copyright infringement over the inclusion of short debate clips in Conservative campaign websites […]
Greg from the Free Software Foundation writes, "Celebrate Saturday's International Day Against DRM with this shareable "dead tree" book dust jacket!"
Hey, we love Netflix and Hulu, but let’s face it: The whole setup doesn’t exactly encourage active viewing. For all the binge-watching we’ve done, it’s tough to expand our horizons or learn anything new – except for how many episodes of “The Office” it takes to make us fall asleep. It was only a matter […]
Still using elbow grease to clean the sinks, tubs and other grimy surfaces around your house? Save your elbows, and some time. If you’ve got a power drill, the RevoClean® 4-in-1 Drill Brush Cleaning Kit will instantly turn it into a professional scrubber that can tackle any stain on any surface. Attach the 4″ nylon […]
Need data storage? Join the club. It may still seem like the wild west out there, and for many companies, it’s a tough choice between security and accessibility. Luckily, there’s a platform that gives you a lot of both: Polar Backup Cloud Storage. Whether you’re a busy private citizen or managing valuable company data, Polar […]