June 30, 2006

Bono DRM and a 10,000 signature petition

The consumer action group DefectiveByDesign.org, today announced the
release of a petition and open letter to Bono the lead singer of U2
asking him to take a stand against Digital Restrictions Management
(DRM), a technology the group describe as a frustration to consumers and
a wider threat to our culture. The campaign aims to collect 10,000
signatures, at which point they will seek an audience with Bono to
deliver the petition, and discuss with him the threats posed by DRM.

The group have focused on Bono because of his social activism and the
leadership role he has in the music industry. Bono and U2 have also been
lead figures in encourage the media companies to distribute music
online. Their endorsement of the iPod has led to huge success for Apple
and the iTunes music store. But all iTunes music is distributed with DRM
locks, and DRM restricts the traditional rights of users of copyrighted
works - effectively trumping fair use, public domain and new artists use
of existing work and remixing. DRM is seen simply a scheme to protect
the Majors from competition.

Apple once proclaimed "Rip, Mix, and Burn" but when the Majors offered
them a deal, they quickly stepped into line and imposed DRM on their
customers. Apple are now embarrassed by their once famous marketing
slogan. Now they try to make excuses for these digital restrictions.

DRM is also controversial because of privacy concerns. Many DRM schemes
require active monitoring of consumer behavior, and corporations are
planing to use DRM to impose further restrictions on consumers over
time.

DefectiveByDesign describes DRM as a scheme by Big Media (the major
record labels and film studios conglomerates) to control consumers and
keep artists locked into unfair contracts - reports say many artists
receive as little as 7 cents, for each 99 cent iTune downloaded. The
group also claims that there is proof that these DRM locks are
unjustified. Emusic is the second largest online distributor of music,
but they distribute all their music without DRM (independent music
labels). Their subscribers also download and pay for more music than the
typical iTunes customer.

The group hopes that Bono will quickly come out in support of the
petition exposing the myth that the musicians want locks on technology
and culture. They hope Bono's stand, will help spur the Majors to drop
DRM.

Link: defectivebydesign.org

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