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International Day Against DRM 2019

Today is the International Day Against DRM, which should be a far, far bigger and better known event than it is, considering the plague that DRM has always been and how it keeps getting worse, adding ever more restrictions in ever more ways even for paying users and granting more and more control to the rights holders, the major ones in particular. This year’s theme actually focuses on how DRM expanded to add dreadful restrictions to education as well, when that, as well as knowledge and information in general, should definitely be freely accessible to all who desire it, considering both meanings of the term “free”. And, of course, ideally access to all content, or more specifically to digital copies of it, should be free, or at least otherwise unrestricted and requiring at the very most covering for that negligible amount of real resources required to transfer that individual copy, and allowing that to be done in multiple ways, not only by actually paying or putting up with advertisements, as it is now, but also by such things as allowing one’s computer to be used for distributed computing for a little while, just enough to cover that cost, or doing a little remote work, perhaps in some citizen science projects, which would have the added benefit of promoting those projects and perhaps drawing more participants to them, if some would like to continue taking part.
Unfortunately, what we get are things getting ever worse and a large amount of disinterest and apathy about the issue in society. Of course, that’s the case when it comes to just about everything else as well, and there are far more important matters, mainly the environment, poverty and individual rights and freedoms. But even looking only at those topics, this is about some rights and freedoms and poverty means lacking access to resources, services or content, and this therefore is actually a part of it, artificially enforcing poverty by adding restrictions and imposing artificial scarcity. It’s something that increases inequality, reduces happiness and, while obviously not being on the level of access to clean water, food, shelter or medical services, access to knowledge and information may well be connected to those as well.
So, of course, you can observe the day in the suggested manner, not paying for, and preferably not accessing in any way, any content protected by DRM, especially if the DRM requires connecting somewhere and can therefore be observed, the reduced use showing up in statistics. You can do even better by sending some messages to those who may do something about it, raising awareness, gathering support and/or taking part in some protests or other off-line events. But what matters far more is what many people do in the long term, how many refuse anything plagued by DRM and stick only to DRM-free content every day, either completely avoiding or finding, shall we say, alternate ways to obtain and use what’s not readily available in a legitimate DRM-free form for them. If that will happen, this battle will be much easier than those more important ones I mentioned, without actually requiring people to do much if you think about it, and granting the tremendous majority far more than they had before once victory will be achieved.

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