British All Party Internet Group recommends restricting DRM

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Amazing, great news: The UK Parliamentary All Party Internet Group (APIG) has published a report into Digital Rights Management. The report, which obviously took into account a lot of input from think tanks and civil society groups, sports a great list of recommendations. The recommendations are summarized in some detail here, or by Cory Doctorow in a short-short version as follows:

  • Mandatory DRM labeling, explaining what you lose when you buy DRM technology
  • Further, labeling should include information on how you’d be hurt if the DRM vendor goes out of business or if you buy new technology
  • A promise of criminal prosecution the next time a Sony Rootkit DRM-style scandal crops up
  • A call for investigation into the ways that DRM is used for illegal price-discrimination within the EU (e.g., charging different amounts for the same iTunes song depending on which European country you live in)
  • A ban on future DRM mandates
  • Action to ensure that DRM doesn’t interfere with use by visually disabled people
  • A promise that future DRM rules include activists and public interest groups, not just entertainment companies and DRM arms-merchants
  • A rule allowing academics and security researchers to crack DRM and publish the details of their work
  • Investigation into depositing non-DRM media with the nation’s libraries

This came pretty much unexpected to me. And I have to say, it’s pretty encouraging to see that some governments haven’t lost their minds and are actually doing something about the DRM craze… Excellent stuff!

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