Europeans protesting against DRM

by Jeremiah Foster

October third saw a variety of protests in a number of cities in Europe, all protesting against DRM or Digital Restrictions Management. A new web site informing people about DRM was born as well, powered largely by the Free Software Foundation Europe, called That link goes to an interesting article about how DRM has infected Vista to such an extent that graphics cards might not be able to manage the required encryption and decryption so that movies are not jumpy in playback.

Be thankful if you have a Mac, somehow Steve Jobs has refused to permit such draconian attacks on Apple computers. Unless there is someone out there who knows about any DRM at the graphics card level? If so, do tell.


2006-10-07 10:44:52
It's "Digital Rights Management". Using the incorrect name doesn't shed any real light on the subject; all it does is cause your readers to put you in the same group as the childish zealots who insist on using terms like "Micro$oft" and "Internet Exploder". You'll never win anyone over to your cause if your very first sentence makes you sound like a kook.

Also, DRM is not the problem. DRM is just a mechanism. The problem is the policies that the media cartels are trying to enforce with that mechanism, where nothing can be distributed without a key, and the only place to legally obtain a key is through the cartels. But that's not the only possible policy that DRM could help enforce. It could also be used to help enforce the GPL, by requiring a signed copy of the source code, rather than a cartel-issued key, to be attached to a file in order to copy it.

IMHO, the FSF et al have been asleep at the wheel. By refusing to participate in the development of DRM, they're missing out on a golden opportunity to help make DRM into something that protects the rights of *everyone* - including those who wish to exercise their right to make their work freely copyable.

James Shiell
2006-10-07 10:50:04
One should point out that the MacBook Pros use a DVD drive which is not only RPC-2, blocking you from using your legimate international DVDs, but that blocks software such as VLC from decoded them as well.

Sounds like a draconian use of DRM which is even illegal in some of the countries in which they are sold (New Zealand, for instance).

2006-10-07 11:25:21
/sherm/ Your first paragraph applies to your own use of the word "cartel". Although, to your credit, you waited until the second paragraph to use it.
2006-10-07 13:36:58
Actually, Sherm used the word "cartel" correctly.

From the OS X Tiger version of the Oxford-American Dcitionary:
cartel : noun : an association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.

Granted, some may think he sees a conspiracy where there is none. Given history, I agree with him. The word "cartel" fits.

2006-10-07 13:40:40
After loojing at the linked website, they refer to it as "Digital Restrictions Management" there.

So either
1) They don't know what they are talking about
2) It's a European thing, like "colour", intended to confuse Yanks.

So don't blame Jeremiah Foster, he's just reporting what he read.

Dale Gillard
2006-10-07 20:40:54
Sherm has a point. The Free Software Foundation appears to have such an extreme, fixed point of view that they've allowed DRM to work as the cartels want. That is, the FSF comes off as requiring all software to be free, regardless of any cost. They don't have a middle ground, and won't accept DRM of any sort. Now most of the world doesn't share this point-of-view, so they reject FSF's extreme POV and let DRM be implemented unchallenged. What we really need is a democratic, open-minded organisation that represents what most consumers want - a flexible system for respecting everyone's rights.
2006-10-09 11:08:28
DRM, whatever you want the initials to stand for, is all about controlling our property that we own, about reaching into our homes and micro-managing our stuff. It violates Fair Use. I don't see a single legitimate use for it.