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DRM.info -
What you should know about Digital Restrictions Management
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<p id="category"><a href="/activities/activities.html">Our Work</a></p>
<h1>Digital Restriction Management</h1>
<div id="introduction">
<div class="image">
<a href="http://drm.info"><img src="/activities/drm/logo.png" alt="DRM.info logo" /></a>
</div>
<p>
<b>Disney</b>: <q>If people know about DRM, we've already failed!</q><br />
<b>FSFE</b>: <q>DRM.info ends the silence on DRM!</q>
</p>
<p>
<a href="/freesoftware/freesoftware.html">Free Software</a> is software
that puts the user in control of their own computers and devices. In
contrast, Digital Restrictions Management is technology to put the
user under control of a third party providing materials, such as
audio, video or text. These two goals seem fundamentally incompatible
to FSFE.
</p>
</div>
<h2>What is Digital Restrictions Management?</h2>
<p>Digital restrictions management (DRM), sometimes referred to as digital rights management, is a class of technologies intended to limit the use of digital media and devices after sale. In essence, DRM refers to technology which inhibits a particular use of digital media where that use is not desired or intended by the hardware manufacturer, publisher or copyright holder. Free Software is software that puts the user in control of their own computers and devices. In contrast, Digital Restrictions Management is technology to put the user under control of a third party: these two goals seem fundamentally incompatible to FSFE.
</p>
<h2>Who else objects to DRM?</h2>
<p>
It is not only FSFE that sees problems with DRM. The German society
for computer sciences ("Gesellschaft für Informatik") states: <a
href="http://www.gi-ev.de/fileadmin/redaktion/Download/GI-Position_Urheberrecht2006.pdf">"If
DRM prevails in the market then users will lose control of their
computers"</a>. Symantec shares this opinion: <a
href="http://www.symantec.com/enterprise/security_response/weblog/2006/08/assessment_of_vista_kernel_mod.html">
"As a result, customers around the world will lose their ability to
choose what security solutions they would like to run on their
operating systems, and be forced to use only those solutions offered or
allowed by Microsoft".</a>
</p>
<p>
This loss of control means that publishing houses, TV stations, the
government (including its administrations), banks, producing companies
and individuals will not only lose control over their graphics cards,
computer screens and hard drives; but also over their mobile phones,
digital cameras and any other digital device they theoretically own.
</p>
<h2>How will change be effected?</h2>
<p>
Although FSFE is convinced that there is no legitimate case in which
a society built upon freedom and democracy would consider it legitimate
to put the personal use of one's own computers and devices under control
of a third party, we cannot but recognise that extensive global legal
provisions have been put in place to allow and enforce just that.
</p>
<p>
We therefore consider it necessary to revisit international treaties and
national laws such as TRIPS, DMCA, EUCD and others, and will seek to do
so in the relevant forums, even though it is a difficult task and not
likely to succeed quickly.
</p>
<p>
Knowing the timescales involved and assuming that DRM technologies will
not simply disappear over night, we propose the following concrete short- to
medium-term legislative goals:
</p>
<dl>
<dt>DRM warning signs on devices and products</dt>
<dd>Customers should be given a fair chance to not accidentally buy
products that will subjugate them to control by a third party. In order
to be able to make an informed decision, they should be provided with the
information at the time of sales.</dd>
<dt>Allow circumvention for lawful purposes</dt>
<dd>Lawful use of one's computer and devices should never become illegal.
Yet this is what the "anti circumvention" provisions of some laws do:
Operations allowed by law become illegal not for the operation itself,
but for the circumvention that was necessary to exercise one's
right.</dd>
<dt>No DRM in the political arena</dt>
<dd>Governments need to be in full and sovereign control of their own
data, procedures and decisions. A user of DRM software, including
governments, can never have full control over their own computer. For
this reason, DRM systems have no place in the political area.</dd>
<dt>Public services for the public</dt>
<dd>Public services should be available to all citizens, including those
who make use of <a href="/freesoftware/freesoftware.html">Free Software</a>.
It should therefore be mandatory to always provide a way to access public
services and information with Free Software.</dd>
</dl>
<h2>DRM.info</h2>
<p>
To address these issues and bring them to the public attention, FSFE
initiated <a href="http://drm.info">DRM.info</a>, a collaborative
information platform with contributing organisations from various fields,
including Digital Rights, Libraries, Creative Communities and Customer
Protection.
</p>
<p>
Visit <a href="http://drm.info">DRM.info</a> today and point others to
the site by linking to it. Help us spread the word.
</p>
<h2>Support DRM.info</h2>
<p>
The portal <a href="http://drm.info">DRM.info</a> is maintained by the
Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), which finances itself primarily
through <a href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate">donations</a> and contributions
of the
<a href="https://my.fsfe.org/donate" target="_blank">Fellowship of FSFE</a>.
You can also <a href="/contribute/contribute.html">get involved</a> as a
volunteer.
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