DRM: A Digital Restriction

Sun, 2 Jun 2024

What some may call DRM Digital "Rights" Management, the term Digital "Restrictions" Management is more accurate. It seems to be touted as a necessary evil to "protect the rights of the creators" and prevent so-called "piracy," which represents thinking that's so full of propaganda it could have its own blog post. However, as a software freedom advocate, I see DRM as a fundamental violation of our rights and a moral outrage.

DRM doesn't just restrict our access to devices and media; it dictates how we use and share what we've rightfully purchased. It treats us as potential criminals, threatening us with jail time if we dare break the DRM and reclaim our rights. This is not just a restriction; it's a systematic erosion of our freedoms.

While some may argue that breaking DRM is illegal, legality doesn't dictate morality. Laws can be unjust, outdated, or simply wrong. When faced with such laws, engaging in civil disobedience, which is the peaceful refusal to comply with specific laws, becomes not just a right but a moral imperative. In the case of DRM, circumventing these restrictions is a way to reclaim our rights.

Breaking DRM is a reactive measure. While we can and should break it, another way to combat DRM is to take a proactive stance and support those who don't use it. By consciously choosing DRM-free media, we send a powerful message to the purveyors of DRM that their practices are unacceptable.

The fight against DRM is not just about technical matters; it's a moral battle for the soul of the digital age. It's about deciding whether we want a future where our digital lives are controlled by restrictive technologies or one where we are free. The moral implications of this battle cannot be overstated.

As a software freedom advocate, the answer is clear. DRM is morally unacceptable, and we must resist it at every turn. Let's support publishers who respect our rights and advocate for DRM-free media. A starting point can be the FSF's Guide to DRM-Free Living at https://www.defectivebydesign.org/guide. Please join me in this fight for our digital rights and freedoms.