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NYC LOCAL: Tuesday 25 October 2005 NYU Free Culture Club: Protest DRM at
NYC LOCAL: Tuesday 25 October 2005 NYU Free Culture Club: Protest DRM at Virgin Record Store 14th Street and Broadway New York City
20 Oct 2005 23:23:01 -0400
Exhortatory Note from Jay Sulzberger
Below my signature is a copy of the announcement by the NYU Free Culture
Club of the protest.
DRM is more than an annoyance, and more than an assault on "consumer
rights". DRM is larger and worse:
The next few months offer several opportunities to take the battle to the
other side. In particular, in early December 2005 the Library of Congress
will accept proposals for exemptions to the DMCA Anti-Circumvention
Clauses. Let us prepare and let us propose and let us rebut and let us
attend the hearings.
And let us, oldbies and GNUbies and free BSDians, and all of the Free
Software Movement, help at this protest!
Let us help by showing up. And let us explain that the issue is not a
matter of convenience, but rather of fundamental human rights.
Jay Sulzberger <email@example.com>
Corresponding Secretary LXNY
LXNY is New York's Free Computing Organization.
what="official NYU Free Culture Club announcement">
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Subject: Washington Square News -
DRM technology injures consumer rights
by Laura Berger
October 18, 2005
On Oct. 25 at 7 p.m., the Free Culture Club is holding a protest in
front of the Virgin Records store at 14th Street and Broadway. The
purpose of this protest is to educate customers about the use of
digital rights management technology that might be be placed on CDs
unbeknownst to the customer and to encourage Virgin to use a label
that clearly indicates and explains DRM technology on CDs that have
DRM technology blocks.
Many CDs currently on sale have DRM technologies on them in order to
prevent the customer from duplicating copyrighted music. The
technology can work in a number of ways, anything from scrambling the
legitimate audio data to sneakily installing software onto users
computers. But the intention is always the same: to prevent the
consumer from making a digital copy of the content.
The problem with DRM is that this technology actually restricts
consumers from transferring their new CD onto their computer, or even
making a backup copy. As a college student who loves her iPod and uses
her computer as a jukebox more often then not, this restriction struck
me as deeply unjust. There's a provision in U.S. copyright law about
fair use, which establishes that if there is a reasonable and
legitimate legal use for a technology, it should be legal.
The fair-use doctrine allows ripping CDs to a computer so that
people who purchase music can put their music onto their iPods. This
is also what allows people to use their computer to play the music.
College students, who often don't have the space to keep both a
computer and a sound system in their dorms, tend to have just the
former. They are especially harmed by DRM, which prohibits ripping and
prevents them from playing CDs on their computers.
Fine, you might say. So I won't buy a CD that uses DRM.
Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to tell a CD with DRM from a
regular one without using it first. There is no requirement that these
CDs to be sold with a special label or warning, and because most music
stores won't allow customers to return a CD after it has been
unwrapped, customers can find out for themselves for $15. Pirates,
whom this technology is designed to hinder, are usually
technologically savvy enough to get around the DRM software, but the
average customer won't be able to use the CD that was legally
purchased. This technology is designed to prevent illegal duplication
of music but, in the end, all it ends up doing is harming the innocent
and technologically naive.
DRM restrictions have also made an impact on buying music from the
iTunes music store. The DRM attached to the iTunes music allows users
to copy a song a certain number of times. If the customer wants to
make more copies than is allowed, they could "hack" the DRM (using a
program called FairTunes), but unfortunately, according to "The
Customer is Always Wrong", the Electronic Frontier Foundation=E2s guide,
breaking the DRM or distributing the tools to break DRM may expose
you to liability under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act even if
you're not making any illegal uses.
Organizations like Free Culture and the EFF support your fair-use
rights to the music you legitimately purchase and thereby object to
technologies like DRM. While we support artists rights, we also
contend that consumer rights are just as important. DRM constricts, if
not totally undermines, the doctrine of fair use and there is
currently little opposition toward more record companies implementing
it. Record companies and stores need to hear from the people who
count, namely consumers, that we notice and care about the substantial
negative consequences of DRM.
If you want to find out more about DRM and other copyright, technology
and cultural issues, check our website or come to our protest. We'll
be handing out flyers, talking to consumers and raising awareness
about DRM and new technologies. Copyright should be about helping
artists make music that consumers want to support and participate in,
not about helping record executives fatten their revenue streams and
lock consumers into backward technologies. The point of copyright law
is to protect the artists, not the record labels, and it's not
supposed to hurt the general law-abiding, music-purchasing public.
Laura Berger is an op/ed contributor for WSN. E-mail responses to
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2005 Washington Square News
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