Groups muster troops for Day Against DRM combat

Anti-DRM protests materialize across social media, publishers

The Free Software Foundation declared Tuesday the International Day Against DRM, urging protests across social media and pushing for the end of tough anti-circumvention policies that, they say, take away owner's rights to the content they have already paid for.

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Digital Rights Management (DRM) – which the FSF calls “digital restrictions management,” – has long been a contentious issue in digital media. Publishers of music, movies and software use a myriad of restrictive technologies to prevent unlicensed copying or redistribution, though online piracy continues apace.

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FSF campaigns manager Zak Rogoff wrote in an official blog post that the spread of DRM use has reached a critical point.

“During the last year, we've seen Digital Restrictions Management creep farther into the world of technology … even as we build a stronger and stronger community to fight it,” wrote. “A growing number of people are living within a box constrained by DRM without even knowing it. The future is DRM in everything, if we don't do something.”

The FSF was joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a pair of European groups in promoting the Day Against DRM. In a statement, the EFF said that DRM technology, all too often restricts legal use along with illegal copying.

“It's time to fight back against these laws that strip users of our rights over the media and devices we've rightfully purchased,” the group said.

Along with the activist groups involved, some publishers of DRM-free media slashed prices in honor of the event. O’Reilly’s ebooks are discounted by between 50% and 60%, and No Starch Press is also offering half-price ebooks. The World Bank has also been promoting its own DRM-free publications.

If DRM is TOXIC to your freedom celebrate #DayAgainstDRM: Save 50% on *all* ebooks & videos

— O'Reilly Media (@OReillyMedia) May 6, 2014

What is the difference b/w DRM & copyright enforcement? FAQs about DRM: #DayAgainstDRM

— World Bank Pubs (@WBPubs) May 6, 2014

This year’s Day Against DRM is the eighth event of its kind, according to the FSF – the first occurred on Oct. 3, 2006. The focus has generally been on consumer media, though the 2013 event coincided with a heated debate over the inclusion of DRM in draft HTML5 standards.

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