Free Software is software that puts the user in control of their own computers and devices. In contrast, Digital Restrictions Management is technology to put the user under control of a third party providing materials, such as audio, video or text. These two goals seem fundamentally incompatible to FSFE.
But although FSFE is convinced that there is no legitimate case in which a society built upon freedom and democracy would consider it legitimate to put the personal use of one's own computers and devices under control of a third party, we cannot but recognise that extensive global legal provisions have been put in place to allow and enforce just that.
We therefore consider it necessary to revisit international treaties and national laws such as TRIPS, DMCA, EUCD and others, and will seek to do so in the relevant forums, even though it is a difficult task and not likely to succeed quickly.
Knowing the timescales involved and assuming that DRM technologies will not simply disappear over night, FSFE has the following concrete short- to medium-term legislative goals:
- DRM warning signs on devices and products
Customers should be given a fair chance to not accidentally buy products that will subjugate them to control by a third party. In order to be able to make an informed decision, they should be provided with the information at the time of sales.
- Allow circumvention for lawful purposes
Lawful use of one's computer and devices should never become illegal. Yet this is what the "anti circumvention" provisions of some laws do: Operations allowed by law become illegal not for the operation itself, but for the circumvention that was necessary to exercise one's right.
- No DRM in the political arena
Governments need to be in full and sovereign control of their own data, procedures and decisions. A user of DRM software, including governments, can never have full control over their own computer. For this reason, DRM systems have no place in the political area.
- Public services for the public
Public services should be available to all citizens, including those who make use of Free Software. It should therefore be mandatory to always provide a way to access public services and information with Free Software.