FreeCulture.org wants us to “Pledge to never buy a DRMed CD ever“. Here’s the form where you make the pledge.
I think this is a very good idea. Let’s face it, DRM sucks. It can take away your legal right to e.g. make copies of a CD for pesonal use and it is illegal (in many countries) to bypass it to exercise those rights. And what happens when CDs have been replaced completely by newer formats and you can no longer buy a new CD player to replace your old broken one? If DRM stops you from copying your CDs to newer media, you will no longer be able to play your CDs. You will be forced to buy them again if you want to keep them.
However, pledging to never purchase a CD that contains any form of DRM does seem a bit drastic. I would have signed immediately if the pledge had been something like “I will not knowingly buy a CD that contains DRM in 2006″ (It’s the season for that kind of thing anyway). This one requires more thought.
I absolutely detest the very idea of DRM. However, when Iron Maiden release their next album, I will not be able to not buy it. Unless it has some really unpleasant DRM that makes it unplayable, or unripable, under GNU/Linux, of course. I bought their last one without noticing that it was DRMed but the DRM was so bad (i.e. good!) that I did not even notice it. I’ve heard that the CD was difficult to rip on Windows PCs but I saw no signs of DRM myself.
But then again, Iron Maiden is a cool band with a very reasonable attitude towards file sharing.
I suppose that what I am trying to say is that while I agree with the goals of the pledge and already avoid DRM like the plague (except in special cases…), I am not prepared to sign. Those few special cases are just too hard to give up. After all, we all want music. That’s what all this fuzz is about.
So what would make me sign? Well, limits of some kind. A time limit, a possibility to make exceptions etc.
Something like Stallman’s Hollywood boycott:
The movie companies have been attacking our freedom persistently for a decade–they are no friends of ours. However, for many people the idea of a total boycott of Hollywood seems unthinkable. So I have an alternate proposal: never pay to see a movie unless you have specific reason to believe it is a good one.
This is not an absolute boycott of Hollywood, but in practice it comes pretty close.
Or maybe I just taking this all too seriously . . .