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October 03, 2006 | Michael Holloway

30 things we can do about DRM

To mark today as the global 'Day Against DRM', inspired by Michael Geist, here's a list of 30 easy things we can do about DRM.

1. Write to your local Member of Parliament. Letters (which are better than email) from just a handful of constituents are enough to get the attention of your local MP. Contact information and further advice here 2. Write to the Prime Minister. Contact information available here 3. Write to Tessa Jowell, Culture Secretary, especially if you live in her Dulwich and West Norwood constituency. She's in charge of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, whose contact details are here 4. Write to Shaun Woodward, Minister for the Creative Industries and Tourism, especially if you live in his St. Helen's South constituency. Contact details here 5. Write to David Lammy, Culture Minister, who is responsible for the arts market, especially if you live in his Tottenham constitutency. Contact details here 6. Write to David Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury of Turville , a major philanthropist and parliamentarian who specialises in Science and Innovation. Contact (and background information) here 7. Ask each political party where it stands on copyright. Copyright policy could prove to be a divisive issue at the polls - ask each political party for their views on the issue. 8. Write to your MEP; much of our copyright policy comes from Brussels and the EU, so worth informing your representative at the European Parliament that their legislation is dead important. Find out who your MEP is here 9. Write to the CBI - 'the voice of business' - contact details here 10. Write to your local councillor. The more politicians made aware of the ills of copyright the better. Find your local represenative here 11. Write a letter to the Foreign Office on our international copyright position. Our government should be lobbying the World Intellectual Property Organisation not to simply replicate US-style copyright reforms, but rather to consider different approaches to copyright - anti-circumvention measures in particular - that do not harm the public domain for the benefit of private interests. 12. Write to the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance - a great ally in our fight - and support their support their position by providing examples of problems copyright has caused to their local and university/school libraries. Contact information here 13. Write to the Office of Fair Trading. The combination of DRM and anti-circumvention legislation raises significant marketplace competition concerns. The OFT must become engaged on this issue by advocating pro-competitive and pro-consumer reforms. Moreover, it should be investigating cases of alleged abusive use of DRM. Contact information here 14. Write the National Consumer Council. The use of DRM raises numerous consumer concerns, potentially requiring specific consumer protection provisions and labeling requirements. The NCC are well aware of this issue in terms of data protection and consumer privacy online; tell them your personal experiences of being disadvantaged by DRM. Contact info here 15. Write to the Information Commissioner's Office to ask for their support in protecting your personal privacy against DRM. Contact info here 16. Raise the issue with your local library. The library community has been very engaged on copyright and will hopefully be a vocal stakeholder for any future reforms. At the local level, libraries can be encouraged to establish copyright policies that fully support user rights and to educate the local community on important access issues. Check your local council's website for contact information for your nearest library. 17. Raise the issue with your local school. If you are in school or have children currently in school, inquire how the school addresses copyright issues. Does it take full advantage of user rights? Is it aware of how the education exceptions may be limited by anti-circumvention legislation? 18. Sign a petition. For example, there is a petition calling on Bono to help join the campaign against DRM. Sign up here. 19. Support the Open Rights Group. ORG is a fledgling NGO formed to protect your digital rights through lobbying and media awareness. Join our discussion list and support us here 20. Buy online DRM-free alternatives. The copyright lobby argues that DRM is a pre-requisite to offering digital content online, yet there are many DRM-free online music services. For example, eMusic, the largest such service, is now the second largest online music service worldwide. 21. Support music labels that offer their music without DRM or copy-controls. Typically the major labels prefer DRM, whilst independent labels are less protectionist. Try, for example, bleep.com 22. Ensure that your local retailer will accept returns on DRM'd products. Many retailers sell DRM'd products without altering return policies to account for the fact that the products may not function as expected. Raise this with your local retailer and encourage them to adopt liberal return policies for DRM'd products. 23. Ask your ISP what it is doing to stand up for your rights. Britain's Internet service providers play an important role in defending user rights by only disclosing subscriber personal information with a court order, informing subscribers of requests for their personal information, and by lobbying for an expanded fair dealing provision. Ask your ISP for its policies on these issues. 24. Participate in a local meeting on copyright. There are a growing number of local "meetup" style meetings that bring together citizens concerned with balanced copyright. If there is a meeting group in your area, go. If not, get one started. 25. Support more balanced copyright positions from artists and creator groups. Many artists and creators are increasingly abandoning policy positions that favour U.S. style reforms and instead embracing a more balanced approach. If you are a musician, tell the Musician's Union or British Music Rights your perspective. 26. Use Creative Commons licensing. Creative Commons, which adopts a "some rights reserved" approach to copyright provides an exceptional (and exceptionally easy) method of supporting both copyright and access. More information here 27. Read licence terms. Increasingly contracts are being used that limit or eliminate user rights. Until legislation blocks the use of such terms, consumers should proactively read licence terms and reject those that unfairly limit their user rights. 28. Track media coverage of copyright. Until recently, media coverage on copyright rarely questioned the sound bites from the copyright lobby. That is changing, but Britain's media should be challenged when it fails to do so. Letters to the editor or a op-eds are a great place to start. 29. Educate yourself. There are lots of great sources on the implications of copyright reform... 30. Educate others. Once you know more about copyright reform issues, tell others. Educate friends, family, and co-workers. Copyright impacts us all.

And check this brand new site for the latest news and updates on the anti-DRM campaign - drm.info

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Comments (5)

  1. Jack Payne:
    Jul 22, 2007 at 12:49 AM

    Nothing worthwhile concerning copyright infringement is ever going to be achieved until the gray area of excerpts is clearly defined.

    Courts everywhere have all kinds of conflicting ideas on what this constitutes--often conflicting with each other.

    --Jack Payne
    www.sixhrs.com

  2. Skippy.org.uk » 30 things we can do about DRM in the UK:
    Oct 05, 2006 at 10:22 PM

    [...] If you like your Rights have a look at these 30 things we can do about DRM in the UK [...]

  3. Guy Johnston:
    Oct 06, 2006 at 05:37 PM

    Hi, you seem to have spelt the word 'licence' wrongly. I understand that this is a British website, and the accepted British spelling is 'licence' for the noun form of the word, though you seem to have used the American spelling of 'license' (the verb form is also 'license' in British English). I know that most of our culture has already been absorbed into that of our All Powerful Transatlantic Overlords, but I like to do my best to slow that process down as much as I can. (I do understand that you might have just taken that text from an American website :D)

    Apart from that, keep up the good work!



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