Following the much-publicized deletion of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, anti-DRM campaigner Defective By Design (DBD) has started a petition challenging Amazon’s stance on the control and monitoring of digitized content.
The petition kicked off yesterday and has already gathered the support of 1,400 authors, librarians, and scholars including such luminaries as Richard Stallman, Lawrence Lessig, Clay Shirky, Cory Doctorow and, err, me.
The petition reads: “We believe in a way of life based on the free exchange of ideas, in which books have and will continue to play a central role. Devices like Amazon’s are trying to determine how people will interact with books, but Amazon’s use of DRM to control and monitor users and their books constitutes a clear threat to the free exchange of ideas.”
Holmes Wilson of the Free Software Foundation adds: “The Amazon Kindle provides convenience, but at the cost of freedom. When you purchase a Kindle, you must agree to use the Digital Restriction Management (DRM) system.
“Since all of the Kindle ebooks you purchase from Amazon are in their proprietary DRM format, you are also promising to not share them with friends. And, because you promise to not circumvent the DRM, there is no way to move them to another device or a computer. You are locked into the Kindle and you are locked into Amazon. If you try to move them to a new ebook reader or a computer, Amazon can end your service and remove access to the books you have already purchased.”
After signing the petition, the site suggests you might like to tell your friends about it, but warns: “Unfortunately, some popular sites for sharing news are a problem for technology users – they are set up to lock users to their services and deny them basic privacy and autonomy,” before going on to list Digg, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Delicious and Amazon’s user review system.
“While it’s important that we communicate with computer users everywhere, even on services we don’t agree with, please don’t let sharing important news about DRM lead to further use of these sites,” pleads DBD.