On Tuesday, May 3, people in communities around the world will gather to take a stand against digital rights management.
Tuesday May 3 is International Day Against DRM, which for ten years has been an annual even to protest and build awareness about digital rights management. The event is sponsored by the organization Defective by Design, the anti-DRM initiative of the Free Software Foundation.
In the unlikely event that someone reading this doesn’t know, digitial rights management, or DRM, is the use of technology or licensing “agreements” to restrict a user’s ability to freely use purchased movies, music, literature, software, and hardware, and is sometimes derisively referred to as “digital restrictions management.”
DRM technology is what makes it difficult for users to copy a DVD of a movie to a computer without using software to get around the anti-copying software on most commercially issued DVDs of movies. Doing so is also illegal in the United States and many other countries. In the U.S., the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, makes using any method to get around copyright protection a crime.
Although it may be too late to get a new event together for this year, there still might be something happening in your community that you can attend. At least five events are scheduled in the U.S.: in Boston, Washington, D.C., Washington state, Albany/Berkley, Calif. and Chicago.
The most ambitious of these will be in the nation’s capital, where a roaming teach-in for digital freedom is planned. This will include the distribution of information about DRM outside the office of the MPAA and RIAA as well as at the offices of industry groups that lobby for laws supporting DRM and the prosecution of people who circumvent it. The teach-in will end-up at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, to bring attention to the damage DRM does to libraries.
Events are also scheduled to take place in Italy, Spain, Mexico, Bangladesh, the Netherlands and Belgium.
A complete list of scheduled events and descriptions can be found on the Defective By Design LibrePlanet wiki page.