Anti-DRM protesters target Apple Retail Stores

“Open-source campaigners are planning a flood campaign against Apple retail they believe will pressure the iPhone-maker to open up its device,” Aidan Malley reports for AppleInsider.

“In a symbolic gesture, the Free Software Foundation plans a new campaign, nicknamed the Apple Challenge, that it thinks will pressure Apple into opening its software code,” Malley reports.

“The organization is asking supporters to book a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple retail store on Friday or Saturday and ask the technicians questions about the company’s broader corporate policy regarding iPhone 3G and its software under the belief that any copy-protected hardware or software is ‘defective,'” Malley reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sir Gill Bates” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Note: Free Software Foundation’s defective questions (with our answers) include:

1. Why do all developers have to submit their applications to Apple before they can be loaded onto an iPhone?
A: So they don’t suck. So they don’t crash everyone’s iPhones. So Apple can offer the best end-user experience with a single, unified, easy-to-use App Store.

2. Why does iTunes still contain so much DRM-laden music?
A: Because the music labels are desperately trying (and failing) to prop up iTunes Store’s “competitors” by colluding to offer them DRM-free music while withholding it from Apple.

3. The iPhone 3G has GPS support. How can users be sure that the GPS cannot be used to track their position, without their permission?
A: Oh, for cripes’ sake. Put on your tinfoil hats, the black helicopters will land any second.

4. If Steve really wants to see free and open formats, why doesn’t the iPhone play Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Theora video and FLAC?
A: MP3 and, its successor, unprotected AAC aren’t open enough? What about Fred’s Audio Codec? Is Apple supposed to support every esoteric audio codec on earth? And, why ask Apple retail store employees a question for Steve Jobs, anyway? Do you really think they’re authorized to speak for the CEO?

5. Why can the iPhone 3G only be activated by Apple and AT&T? In the United States, the Register of Copyrights has ruled that consumers have the right to unlock their phones and switch to a different carrier. How does Apple plan to remedy this discrepancy?
A: In the future, AT&T will offer a no-contract-required option for US$599 (8GB) or $699 (16GB).

If confronted, Apple Store employees should ask the “protestor” a question of their own: “When are you going to get a life?”


  1. “that it thinks will pressure Apple into opening its software code” — I agree with the idea of getting rid of DRM, but how does opening up one company’s DRM help advance this aim? If anyhting it will make it more likely that DRM will prevail.

    Either the folks who are leading this charge are utterly stupid, or they are the enemy misleading the well-meaning rabble.

  2. Great, FSF, just great. In case you were wondering if this move will enlighten the masses and make everyone use open source software and nothing else, it won’t. It will make mom and pop who are trying to get their mac, ipod, or iphone fixed by pissed at you for taking up genius bar spots.

    Sorry to break it to you FSF, but not all people are programmers, and the vast majority don’t care if software is free and open. They care if it is properly designed and works well, a few points your organization sorely lacks.

  3. “How can users be sure that the GPS cannot be used to track their position, without their permission?”

    Are they really that naiive that they would even ask this question? 1. What does GPS stand for? 2. Do you own any satellites? 3. Have you thought about this?

    MDN word, ‘poor’… say no more.

  4. @MacNScott

    Good call. Perhaps I should just tell my employer that I think all software should be free and that they don’t need to pay me anymore. That way, I can contribute to the free software of the world. Of course, I can only contribute for about a month or so – perhaps after I run out of money I can get the free software foundation to pay my rent and buy gasoline for me…

    I get so tired of these bozos…

  5. “Why does iTunes still contain so much DRM-laden music?”

    umm, i think you mean iTMS there guys. iTunes only has what you load into it. the store has DRM ’cause the music industry sucks.

    honestly, the music industry must just *love* this. we fight amongst ourselves while the criminals slip off to the bank to cash a check. thank you FSF for enabling criminals.

    please save us from idiots.

  6. “So they don’t crash everyone’s iPhones.”

    Clearly that’s not working out.

    “colluding to offer them DRM-free music while withholding it from Apple”

    if Steve hadn’t been such an A-Hole with the record companies in the past, he’d probably be getting a better reception from them now. And if he were truly morally opposed to DRM, he could just refuse to sell any DRM protected music. But despite what Steve may say in public letters, Apple loves closed ecosystems which lock customers in.

    “How can users be sure that the GPS cannot be used to track their position, without their permission?”

    The government can track your position through your cellphone when they need to. That’s not iPhone specific, and for once, not wacky tinfoil hat conspiracy stuff.

    “How does Apple plan to remedy this discrepancy?”

    Probably in exactly the same way carriers do it today. For other phones they sure don’t publish that they will help you to unlock your phone, but will give you the unlock codes if you call.

  7. Question #5 is an excellent one, and the answer to “why are you violating the law” is NOT best answered with “in the future, we will charge you a lot more and continue violating the law.”

    Offering a no-contract version of the phone does NOT address the issue of switching carriers.

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