Almost a full year has passed since I last wrote about Digital Rights Management (DRM), but the restrictive technology continues to plague users around the globe. To help bring attention to the ongoing negative consequences of DRM, the Free Software Foundation has declared Friday this year’s International Day Against DRM.
“While DRM has largely been defeated in downloaded music, it is a growing problem in the area of ebooks, where people have had their books restricted so they can’t freely loan, re-sell, or donate them, read them without being tracked, or move them to a new device without re-purchasing all of them,” the advocacy group wrote in its announcement of the event. “They’ve even had their ebooks deleted by companies without their permission.”
To protest the use of restrictive measures like these, events are being held around the world today in cities including Cincinnati; Orlando; San Francisco; Boston; Madrid; Rome; Manchester; Nagoya, Japan; and Aveiro, Portugal, the FSF said.
The past year has seen some progress made. Science fiction publisher Tom Doherty Associates, for example, just last month announced that by July it plans to abandon DRM.
Bloggers and authors including BoingBoing editor Cory Doctorow have also recently spoken out against DRM, calling it “bad for business.”
“As an author, I understand that DRM doesn’t do squat to protect my interests,” Doctorow said. “As a businessperson, I understand that DRM usurps my commercial relationships with my customers and hands them to DRM vendors.”
Four Ways to Protest
So what can you do to add your voice to the growing masses standing in opposition of DRM? Here are a few of the FSF’s suggestions.
1. Attend an Event.
There are many events taking place around the world today. Check the list on LibrePlanet to see if there’s one near you.
2. Spread the Word
Even if you can’t attend an event, you can still help increase awareness of the issue by blogging about it, posting banners, writing letters or creating videos about it, sharing links, and tagging products on Amazon.
3. Speak Up
Users of Netflix can ask the company to drop DRM from its own shows and to support DRM-free streaming, the FSF suggests. Mini-letters are even available for free download.
4. Vote with Your Wallet
Last but not least, you can also help by buying products and supporting artists who oppose DRM, the FSF notes. For that, the group offers a handy “Guide to DRM-free living.”
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