The year in DRM: seven rotten moments and two rays of hope

My end-of-the-year roundup the year in DRM for EFF's Deeplinks blog hits seven lowlights, from the catastrophic (the W3C greenlighting DRM for the web) to the idiotic (North Korea's DRM-encrusted tablets) and beyond.

But there are a couple of rays of hope: Portugal passed the world's first decent DRM law and we learned how long this fight has been going on.

The Apollo 1201 project is dedicated to ending all the DRM in the world, in all its forms, in our lifetime. The DRM parade of horribles has been going strong since the Clinton administration stuck America with Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") in 1998. That law gave DRM special, hazardous legal protection: under that law, you're not allowed to remove DRM, even for a lawful purpose, without risking legal penalties that can include jailtime and even six-figure fines for a first offense.

That's a powerful legal weapon to dangle in front of the corporations of the world, who've figured out if they add a thin scrim of DRM to their products, they can make it a literal felony to use their products in ways that they don't approve of -- including creative uses, repair, tinkering and security research. (There's an exemption process, but it's burdensome and inadequate to protect many otherwise legal activities.

EFF is committed to halting that parade of horribles, but it hasn't been easy. Here are seven of the DRM low-points from 2017, and two bright spots that give us hope for the year to come.

Seven Awful DRM Moments from the Year (and Two Bright Spots!): 2017 in Review [Cory Doctorow/Deeplinks]

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