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iPad is iBad for Freedom

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With new tablet device, Apple’s Steve Jobs pushes unprecedented extension of DRM to a new class of general purpose computers

Please sign our petition to Steve Jobs at:


 SAN FRANCISCO, California, USA – Wednesday, January 27, 2010 – As  Steve Jobs and Apple prepared to announce their new tablet device,  activists opposed to Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) from the  group Defective by Design were on hand to draw the media’s attention to  the increasing restrictions that Apple is placing on general purpose  computers. The group set up “Apple Restriction Zones” along the  approaches to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco,  informing journalists of the rights they would have to give up to Apple  before proceeding inside.

 (images from the action,

 DRM is used by Apple to restrict users’ freedom in a variety of ways,  including blocking installation of software that comes from anywhere  except the official Application Store, and regulating every use of  movies downloaded from iTunes. Apple furthermore claims that  circumventing these restrictions is a criminal offense, even for  purposes that are permitted by copyright law.

 Organizing the protest, Free Software Foundation (FSF) operations  manager John Sullivan said, “Our Defective by Design campaign has a  successful history of targeting Apple over its DRM policies. We  organized actions and protests targeting iTunes music DRM outside Apple  stores, and under the pressure Steve Jobs dropped DRM on music. We’re  here today to send the same message about the other restrictions Apple  is imposing on software, ebooks, and movies. If Jobs and Apple are  actually committed to creativity, freedom, and individuality, they  should prove it by eliminating the restrictions that make creativity and  freedom illegal.”

 The group is asking citizens to sign a petition calling on Steve Jobs to  remove DRM from Apple devices. The petition can be found at:

 “Attention needs to be paid to the computing infrastructure our society  is becoming dependent upon. This past year, we have seen how human  rights and democracy protesters can have the technology they use turned  against them by the corporations who supply the products and services  they rely on. Your computer should be yours to control. By imposing such  restrictions on users, Steve Jobs is building a legacy that endangers  our freedom for his profits,” said FSF executive director Peter Brown.

 Other critics of DRM have asserted that Apple is not responsible, and it  is the publishers insisting on the restrictions. However, on the iPhone  and its new tablet, Apple does not provide publishers any way to opt out  of the restrictions – even free software and free culture authors who  want to give legal permission for users to share their works.

 “This is a huge step backward in the history of computing,” said FSF’s  Holmes Wilson, “If the first personal computers required permission from  the manufacturer for each new program or new feature, the history of  computing would be as dismally totalitarian as the milieu in Apple’s  famous Super Bowl ad.”

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