Anti-DRM activists rap Steve Jobs; Group petitions Apple CEO to remove FairPlay DRM software

“The Free Software Foundation has begun an online petition urging Apple chief executive Steve Jobs to remove protections from the iTunes Music Store,” Shaun Nichols reports for

“The campaign is run by DefectiveByDesign, a branch of the Free Software Foundation that opposes the use of DRM software. The group claims that the technology deliberately cripples software and limits the rights of consumers,” Nichols reports.

“The group filed its petition in response to an open letter from Jobs published in February,” Nichols reports. “Jobs said in the letter that Apple would remove its FairPlay DRM software from iTunes were it not for tight restrictions imposed by the major record labels.”

Nichols reports, “DefectiveByDesign’s Open Letter to Steve Jobs demands that the Apple co-founder make good on his promise by removing FairPlay from iTunes songs by independent artists.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Is DRM doomed? – March 09, 2007
How Apple’s FairPlay DRM works – February 26, 2007
Windows Vista’s DRM is bad news – February 14, 2007
Monster Cable announces full support of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ call for DRM-free music – February 13, 2007
Recording Industry Association of America wants their DRM, calls for Apple to license FairPlay – February 08, 2007
Warner’s Middlebronfman: Jobs’ DRM-free music call ‘without logic and merit, we’ll not abandon DRM’ – February 08, 2007
Dvorak: Apple CEO Steve Jobs is dead right about DRM – February 07, 2007
Apple’s Jobs jolts music industry; Zune exec calls Jobs’ call for DRM-free music ‘irresponsible’ – February 07, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007
Norwegian Ombudsman: Apple’s FairPlay DRM is illegal in Norway – January 24, 2007
Major music labels ponder DRM-free future – January 23, 2007


  1. I would hope that this group also has another petition going to the major labels or have done so in the past. If not, they should pack up and shut up.

    Of course, they have three options they believe Apple can show “it means business”…

    1) Drop DRM on iTunes for independent artists

    Sounds like a good idea, but John Gruber [aka: genius] notes complexities with this idea:

    2) Drop DRM on iTunes for Disney movies and video

    We could only dream. However, Mr. Gruber mentions the situation with video in this artcle (about halfway).

    3) Take a public stand against DRM and legislation mandating DRM by funding a campaign to repeal the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) prohibitions.

    I don’t think Apple gets into the political arena very often, if at all. I doubt they’d start now.

    However, this blurb of their petition includes a very interesting nugget of info:

    “This is an important action because of the legislative threats we face. Senator Feinstein (D – Calif.), in this congressional session, has reintroduced the Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act (PERFORM Act). The Act would require webcasters who stream in MP3 (or other non-DRM formats) to impose DRM. This would include the radio stations currently available through iTunes, which currently rely on MP3 streams.”

    Seeing how Senator Feinstein is from CA, I wouldn’t be surprised if the RIAA were pushing her to do this. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”confused” style=”border:0;” />

    If anyone wants to read the full petition, go here:

  2. Senator Feinstein has always been an absolute disgrace, so it’s no surprise that she would be the one introducing something such as that trash. All of you leftists in CA that put her into office now need to flood her senate office with complaints over this.

  3. This petition is pointless. The group has obviously not done it’s homework, their ignorance of the intricacies involved in the nightmare that is being signed to a major label is almost laughable. It has nothing to do with Apple or, hence Steve Jobs letter. The labels themselves can’t even allow it in some cases because they don’t have the proper licensing rights for some of the material (ergo the gaps in emusic, iTines etc. offerings). It is a big fat ugly mess, agreed, but it isn’t the distributors’ fault, nor is it in their power legally to do what this petition asks.

  4. DefectiveByDesign

    Accuratly describes the groups founders.

    Sure their heart is in the right place, but the target of their message is wrong.

    Go after the owners of the music and the artists instead who insist on DRM.

    Thank you.

  5. These people are idiots.

    The record labels control DRM. Steve is on the petitioner’s side, but can’t remove it without the RIAA’s approval.

    So, these morons are petitioning the wrong party.

    Man, some people are soooo ignorant.

    Amazing how misguided they are. The RIAA is fueling this because they want Apple’s version of DRM licensed because it’s the most widely used. The RIAA won’t come out and say that they control the fact that music sold through iTunes has DRM because they require it. They are trying to shift the focus to Apple’s DRM being licensed, so that only hurts Apple, and not the RIAA.

  6. Sen. Feinstein is also one of the biggest opponents of the Second Amendment. Although they take a vow to uphold and protect the Constitution, many of her kind then try their best to take away our basic rights. I wish they would try to ignore their own personal biases and just do what they are paid to do – serve and help the people. I believe the Democratic Party would get more wide spread support if they would look to the average American and quit acting like their only concern are the minorities. At least that is the impression they seem to emit. And I mean no disrespect to any group of people.

  7. Wahhh, wahhhhh …. we want everything free …. wahhhhh, wahhhh … that, that Steve Jobs, HE IS TO BLAME! Wahhhh, wahhhh, I want my rap music free, wahhhhh, wahhhhh.

    This is a group of cry baby asswipes. They are greedy, spoiled ‘Entitlement Generation’ types that feel they are entitled to everything fucking thing their way, or they muster up all that courage to send Jobs a petition.


  8. Typhoon,

    Read the article before making ignorant comments. And before calling other people ignorant you might first check your own preconceptions.

    They are calling on Steve to remove DRM from INDEPENDENT ARTISTS on iTunes – whose songs already are available DRM-free from other online vendors.


    Personally, I suspect Apple’s policy of wanting consistency is at play here – remember how Apple has resisted selling songs at other than $0.99 per track? If some songs are AAC Protected (FairPlay) and others are plain AAC (sans DRM) then there could be some unwanted confusion by customers over music purchases and their rights per same.

    I don’t fault Apple for wanting to maintain a consistent, simple business plan. But I’d love to see DRM-free tracks available.

    (Sorry to change the subject, but…) I’d also like the ability to charge for podcasts. I’ve got some business clients that would love to podcast for profit…

  9. Thanks for the Gruber links, macNut.

    I wonder why he equates DRM-free with MP3? I’d prefer to stay in the MPEG-4 AAC codec instead of the ancient MPEG-1 MP3 format. Why the confusion? You would think a sharp guy like him would know that AAC is an open format with no Fairplay required.

  10. unfettered: “They are calling on Steve to remove DRM from INDEPENDENT ARTISTS on iTunes – whose songs already are available DRM-free from other online vendors.”

    And without knowing the specifics in the Apple-Big Labels contracts, how can you be sure that the contracts don’t prevent something like that? It’s not uncommon for contracts to stipulate that the other party must provide some guarantees when dealing with other competitors. IIRC, Apple-Big Labels contracts requires that Apple’s rights are as liberal as those granted to others in the least.

    I dislike DRM very much, but trying to corner a guy who is on your side is pretty stupid, especially if you don’t know anything about his obligations.

  11. unfettered,

    “(Sorry to change the subject, but…) I’d also like the ability to charge for podcasts. I’ve got some business clients that would love to podcast for profit…”

    You can charge for your podcast, but not through the iTunes Music Store – you need to get people to sign up and pay on your own site. The one paid podcast I subscribe to had me paste the podcast address into the iTunes’ “Subscribe to Podcast” dialog box. When I hit return, I was asked for an id and password. iTunes now updates the podcast for me like any other cast.

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