Sparse turnout for anti-DRM Apple Store flash mobs; FairPlay DRM survives

The weekend saw a number of sparsely-attended protests outside Apple retail stores across the US where a consumer group called Defective By Design (DBD) launched a wave of ‘flash mob’ protests outside eight Apple retail stores across the weekend. Protests took place between 10am and noon. Protestors dressed in hazardous-material-protection suits and stood outside the shops carrying placards and handing out leaflets.

From the various photos and videos now online, it looks like DBD had trouble recruiting “flash mob” participants resulting in something more like “flash ten-people-randomly-milling-about” at various Apple Retail Stores.

A quick check of iTunes Music Store this morning shows that the DRM mandated by the music labels is still being used for songs sold via Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

See some video from the Chicago store here. Some photos are here.
Like we said last week, if you don’t like DRM, dress up in your yellow suits and hats and protest outside the headquarters of the “Big Four” music labels: Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI Group. They’re the ones responsible for DRM and for treating their customers like criminals, not Apple. While DBD were obviously shooting for maximum publicity by going after Apple, that still does not excuse their misguided aim.

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Related article:
Group plans ‘Flash Mob’ DRM protest at Apple Retail Stores – June 08, 2006


  1. Hah! Somebody from inside the store should have handed them free Shuffles as thanks for “coming out to see us today!”

    Imagine the moral conumdrum for these guys if they’d been given free Nanos…. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

    MW: idea. As in, “Who’s idea was this, anyway?”

  2. A bunch of geeks with too much time on their hands. “Regular” individuals really only care if their iPods stop playing. As long as they can download a track or rip a track into their iPods, that’s all that matters.

  3. “Pathetic. They look like they got lost on their way to the set of a Devo video.”

    On the contrary, I think the yellow suits are pretty cool and almost anything looks good next to the gray Apple logo backdrop of the store front. Although, they did take it a bit too far with “hot pink” colored poster. Blew the entire color scheme.

  4. According to Norwegian Officials the DRM & EULA policies of Apple violate existing consumer laws in their country. Of the ones I have seen listed the two with the most traction are:
    1 The EULA is in part based upon English Common Law and that is not applicable in Norway among many other places.
    2 The fact that Apple reserves the right to change DRM behavior and policies after purchase.

    #1 should be able to be handled with consultation with local Lawyers, #2 is a more difficult matter. No company should be able to change DRM restrictions after the fact– Apple or anyone else. The EULA in effect at the time of purchase should be binding unless both parties agree to the change.

  5. Apple made a deal with the devil (music companies) to get content for the iTunes store. Don’t blame Apple.

    Fairplay, while not perfect, seems reasonably balanced for the user.My DRM solution is to NOT buy tunes from iTMS.

    These are the SAME music companies who promised that the price of CDs would drop after the cost of switching from analogue to digital (recording, engineering, production, distribution, etc.) was complete.

    20+ years later and prices haven’t budged!

    Couple that with the awful state of what music is available to buy… formulaic pop & rock hackneyed drivel and rerecording the same classical pieces over and over. If CD sales have dropped, then they get what they deserve.

  6. And no one really cares either judging by the total of 5 people doing the protesting. But in reality the record labels are responsible for DRM in iTunes not Apple. Apple just satisfied the labels by including DRM so they could actually sell the music online. Otherwise there would be no online sales of music and no iTunes music store.

  7. Has anyone noticed these people appear to be defective by design? Yikes…

    More observations:
    A. Get a life.
    B. They look more like people trying to get their face on some website with lots of hits, than the nuclear train activists, or hate Bush no matter what crowds…
    C. On a more serious note, DRM was driven by the labels, but in the end it paid off for Apple. Apple is not whom they should be picketing, but far too many people believe that the ends justify the means, which, in the end, is completely counter to the motive and ultimately destructive.

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