It’s late in the day as I post this, but today is the International Day Against DRM!Authors Against DRM

So what’s DRM? It stands for “digital rights management,” and refers to technology that forces users to have a license in order to play a movie, read an e-book, or run a computer program. Big companies claim that DRM prevents “piracy.”

The truth is that DRM is not only about piracy. It’s about control. DRM is used to:

  • prevent you lending e-books, computer games, and digital movies to your friends (which is perfectly legal to do for a paper book or DRM-free game)
  • prevent you from selling your used e-book, movie, or game when you’re done with it
  • ensure that media you buy for one device, such as a Kindle, won’t be usable on a competitor’s device, like a Nook
  • track your reading and viewing habits for sale to marketers
  • in some cases, stop you from using content you’ve paid for
  • in some cases, erase books you’ve bought and paid for from your device

As Cory Doctorow put it,

No one woke up this morning and thought, “gee, I wish there was a way I could do less with my music, maybe someone’s offering that product today.”

He explains DRM better than I can.

So if DRM sounds like something you’d be better off without, please join me in supporting the International Day Against DRM. You can learn more about anti-DRM campaigns from Defective By Design and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.