Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies attempt to control what you can and can't do with the media and hardware you've purchased.
- Bought an ebook from Amazon but can't read it on your ebook reader of choice? That's DRM.
- Bought a video game but can't play it today because the manufacturer's "authentication servers" are offline? That's DRM.
- Bought a smartphone but can't use the applications or the service provider you want on it? That's DRM.
- Bought a DVD or Blu-Ray but can't copy the video onto your portable media player? That's DRM.
Corporations claim that DRM is necessary to fight copyright infringement online and keep consumers safe from viruses. But there's no evidence that DRM helps fight either of those. Instead DRM helps big business stifle innovation and competition by making it easy to quash "unauthorized" uses of media and technology.
DRM has proliferated thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA), which sought to outlaw any attempt to bypass DRM.
Fans shouldn't be treated like criminals, and companies shouldn't get an automatic veto over user choice and innovation. EFF has led the effort to free the iPhone and other smartphones, is working to uncover and explain the restrictions around new hardware and software, has fought for the right to make copies of DVDs, and sued Sony-BMG for their "rootkit" CD copy-protection scheme. Learn more about our efforts through the links below.
EFF Related Content: DRM
- In the digital age, a lot depends on whether we actually own our stuff, and who gets to decide that in the first place. In The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Age , Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz walk us through a detailed and...
- Intel’s CPUs have another Intel inside. Since 2008, most of Intel’s chipsets have contained a tiny homunculus computer called the “Management Engine” (ME). The ME is a largely undocumented master controller for your CPU: it works with system firmware during boot and has direct access to system memory,...
- The World Wide Web Consortium has formally put forward highly controversial digital rights management as a new web standard. Dubbed Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), this anti-piracy mechanism was crafted by engineers from Google, Microsoft, and Netflix, and has been in development for some time. The DRM is supposed to thwart...
- The latest episode of the technology podcast Reply All features an excellent summary of some of the issues with the World Wide Web Consortium's current project to create a standard for restricting the use of videos on the web; we've created this post for people who've just listened...