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You are here: Home FSF News Worldwide community of activists protest OverDrive and others forcing DRM upon libraries

Worldwide community of activists protest OverDrive and others forcing DRM upon libraries

by Greg Farough Contributions Published on Nov 28, 2023 03:17 PM
BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Tuesday, November 28, 2023 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has announced its Defective by Design campaign's 17th annual International Day Against DRM (IDAD). It will protest uses of Digital Restrictions Management technology's hold over public libraries around the world, exemplified by corporations like OverDrive and Follett Destiny. IDAD will take place digitally and worldwide on December 8, 2023.
Worldwide community of activists protest OverDrive and others forcing DRM upon libraries

IDAD 2023

This year, the FSF stands up for libraries everywhere with its International Day against DRM (aka IDAD), the organization's annual protest against Digital Restrictions Managament (DRM), which is organized as part of the Defective by Design campaign. Anyone can join in this year's activities, and they can learn more by going to the Defective by Design website.

This year's campaign draws attention to the ways libraries, and by extension, their patrons, are mistreated by corporations like OverDrive, makers of the "Libby" app that have a near monopolistic control over digital lending in the United States. Services like OverDrive and Follet Destiny mandate "controlled digital lending" schemes, imposing artificial scarcity on a digital good. They also require monthly or annual fees in order to have the privilege of having a book or piece of media in circulation. Should the library struggle with paying its licensing fees, like the New York Public Library, then its "access" is "rescinded."

"There once was a time when you could donate a book to the library to give others in your community access to it. There once was a time when libraries owned the works that they provide to the public, rather than finding themselves trapped by unethical technology and predatory licensing fees," said Greg Farough, campaigns manager at the FSF. "If we want to ensure that our cultural legacy lasts, we need to focus our attention on corporations like OverDrive, who make a living out of leeching on libraries, which are already underfunded." Farough added, "OverDrive's treatment of libraries -- and wrapping it in unjust Digital Restrictions Management -- is absolutely unconscionable."

Logo for the Defective by Design campaign

All who are interested in participating in this year's protest are encouraged to visit the International Day Against DRM site to learn more about how to get involved.

Now in its seventeenth year, Defective by Design has a long history of campaigning for users' rights to control their media and the devices they use to interact with it. Being the anti-DRM campaign of the FSF, it is inspired by the spirit and community of the global movement for user freedom. As proprietary (i.e. nonfree) software is the method by which most DRM is implemented, the FSF started the campaign in 2006 as an extension of its mission to bring freedom to computer users.

The campaign's call to action is for the International Day Against DRM, but it nevertheless encourages its supporters to speak out against DRM in media any time they have the opportunity. Defective by Design's organizers are inviting other organizations and individuals to collaborate with them in their work against DRM, by contacting info@defectivebydesign.org to discuss possible actions. The campaign is funded by individuals who join as FSF associate members and those who make a donation.

About Defective By Design

Defective by Design is the FSF's campaign against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). DRM is the practice of imposing technological restrictions that control what users can do with digital media, creating a product that is defective by design. DRM requires the use of proprietary software, and is a major threat to computer user freedom. It often spies on users as well. The campaign, based at https://defectivebydesign.org, organizes anti-DRM activists for in-person and online actions, and challenges powerful media and technology interests promoting DRM. Supporters can donate to the campaign at https://my.fsf.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=40, and the campaign can be reached via social media at @endDRM on Twitter, and @endDRM@hostux.social on Mastodon.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation (FSF), founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at https://www.fsf.org and https://www.gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

Media Contact

Greg Farough

Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
(617) 542-5942
campaigns@fsf.org

Images Copyright © 2023 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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