The Campaign for Digital Rights campaigns for fair and balanced
laws for the information society.
We are a group of citizens who are concerned about control over
digital media. In particular, we are worried about proposed
laws, regulations and technological systems that will make
digital media more expensive, less useful,
less diverse and less democratic.
What sort of issues does the CDR campaign about?
Music. The companies that shut down Napster are making CDs that
cannot be used in computers. This will make portable digital music
devices such as Apple's iPod useless. The EUCD will make programs that
try to read such crippled CDs illegal.
Video. Digital television will replace conventional television
in the next few years. With it will come technology and law that will
make it impossible to record certain programs. Or to skip
adverts. Again, the EUCD will make it illegal to try to get round
DVDs and computer games. This month, a small company that
modified the PlayStation 2 to play imported games and DVDs was
prosecuted and driven out of business by Sony. Region-free DVD players
may be next.
Internet. Feel like having someone's website removed? Just
write to their ISP alleging that they've infringed your copyright! You
don't have to prove anything or go to court, and there's no penalty
for lying. The ISP will be obliged to remove the website even if its
owner has done nothing wrong. This will happen, frequently, if the
EUCD becomes law.
Academic freedom. Last year, a Russian went to the United
States to present a paper on cryptography. He was arrested, because
the paper described how to read certain kinds of electronic
book. After a huge public furore, the charges were dropped and he was
allowed home. His employer in Russia still faces charges in
California. The EUCD will ban unauthorised reading of electronic books.
Public Libraries. How are libraries going to rise to the
challenge of making digital information freely available to the
public? If certain big copyright owning companies have their way, they
won't be able to lend out digital media. The "digital divide" between
rich and poor will grow as digital media becomes more expensive,
unless libraries are allowed to bridge it.
We are working together with industry, academics, the Foundation
for Information Policy Research (www.fipr.org) and similar
organisations throughout Europe (see EDRi). We
are looking for volunteers to assist in lobbying Parliament,
raising awareness and gathering support throughout the country.
Most of the discussion regarding the Campaign takes place on our
mailing lists. Archives are available: main list, announcement only list.