Death to DRM

Oct 3

Day Against DRM banner

Okay, I’m a little late to the so-called bandwagon on this, but today is the official Day Against DRM.

I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet, because this problem is so huge that there are way to many issues for me to properly discuss here.

First, I’d like to start by stating what should be obvious: Stealing is wrong. Piracy is stealing. Piracy is wrong. It doesn’t matter how much you hate the record/movie/game industry, or how much money they make, or how terribly they exploit artists. If you want that song/movie/game, you should pay for it.

The problem stems from the fact that DRM (Digital Rights Management) attempts to control what I do with that content after I’ve already paid for it. If I steal a movie, I should be punished. But if I’ve paid good money for it, then it should be mine to use in any way the law allows.

DRM is made infinitely worse by the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) which makes it illegal for a consumer to remove or circumvent any DRM technology.

Well, so what? Here’s an example that illustrates the problem.

I buy a movie on DVD. US copyright law has Fair Use provisions that allow me the freedom to watch that movie as many times as I want, and even to make copies for my own use. So there should be no problem with me making a low-resolution copy of the film for me to watch on my Playstation Portable or iPod. Unfortunately, DVDs have a DRM technology that prevents me from making a copy.

I could copy it anyway. Most DRM technologies are pretty weak, and easily broken by anyone with a little extra time. However, under the DMCA this is now a criminal offense.

Let’s recap for a second. The DMCA makes it illegal for me circumvent DRM, which is preventing me from using the DVD in a perfectly legal way. DMCA and DRM together criminalize my fair use of content.

I’m going to stop here because there is so much more to this than I have time for now. Please educate yourselves and others. Spread the word.

Let there be links:
Anti DRM info:
Defective by Design

Copyright Reform/Alternatives:
Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig
Creative Commons