On Tuesday, September 18th, there will be two rallies in Boston – one from 12:00pm - 2:00pm at the Boston Public Library at 700 Boylston Street, and one from 6:00pm - 7:00pm in front of the Apple Store at 815 Boylston Street.

DRM is the practice of imposing technological restrictions that control what users can do with digital media. DRM creates a damaged good: it prevents you from doing what would be possible without it. This concentrates control over production and distribution of media, giving DRM peddlers the power to carry out massive digital book-burnings and conduct large-scale surveillance over people's media viewing habits.

Organized by the Defective by Design team, IDAD has occurred annually since 2006. Each year, participants take action through protests, rallies, and the sharing of DRM-free media and materials. Participating nonprofits, activist groups, and companies from around the world include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Open Rights Group, Public Knowledge, the Document Foundation, and others (for a complete list, see: https://dayagainstdrm.org). These groups will share the message by writing about why DRM is harmful, organizing events, and offering discounts on DRM-free media.

"DRM is a major problem for computer user freedom, artistic expression, free speech, and media," said John Sullivan, executive director of the FSF. "International Day Against DRM has allowed us to, year after year, empower people to rise up together and in one voice declare that DRM is harmful to everyone."

This year's theme is A Day Without DRM – the FSF invites people around the world to avoid DRM for the day. DRM is lurking in many electronic devices we use, both online and offline, and you'll find it everywhere from media files to vehicles. Its impact is echoed in the fight for the Right to Repair and the fight for the right to investigate the software in medical devices. Examples of flagrant DRM abuses include:

  • In a classic example from 2009, Amazon remotely deleted thousands of copies of George Orwell's 1984 from Kindle ebook readers. Given this power, corporations like Amazon could fully disappear a book from existence if they chose, committing a massive digital book-burning. Amazon still has the power to do this, and has remotely deleted at least one user's library since then.

  • A US law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) makes it illegal to remove DRM from media using widely-available online tools. These policies have a chilling effect among security researchers, those who wish to repair their devices, and anyone who wants to understand how their technologies work.

  • Media companies including Netflix pressured the World Wide Web Consortium to add DRM as a Web standard, normalizing DRM and giving it the opportunity to become even more prevalent.

DRM-supporting companies and device manufacturers claim it makes technology and media more secure, enhances user experience, and protects rights holders. In reality, the technologies behind DRM have been used as a vulnerability since 2005 to attack end-users' computer systems and devices. DRM limits what users can do with their media: access is limited by the whims of rights holders. Rather than protecting people who create media, it protects the interests of large companies that aggregate media.

For a thorough overview of DRM abuses, please visit the Defective by Design FAQ.

About Defective by Design

Defective by Design is an initiative of the Free Software Foundation. It is a participatory and grassroots campaign exposing DRM-encumbered devices and media for what they really are: Defective by Design. It works together with activists and others to eliminate DRM as a threat to innovation in media, reader privacy, and freedom for computer users.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software –- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants –- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.

Media Contacts

Molly de Blanc
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
campaigns@fsf.org

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