DefectiveByDesign, a branch of the Free Software Foundation that opposes the use of DRM software, has begun an online petition urging Apple chief executive Steve Jobs to remove protections from the iTunes Music Store. The group claims that the technology deliberately cripples software and limits the rights of consumers. It filed its petition in response to an open letter from Jobs published in February. Launched on March 6th, the petition reached its initial goal of 1,000 signatures in about five hours. The group plans to keep the petition open until April 1st, when it will be sent to Jobs along with a jester's hat.
Jobs said in the letter that Apple would remove its FairPlay DRM software from iTunes were it not for tight restrictions imposed by the major record labels. Apple opposes releasing the technology and claims that doing so will enable applications that remove the DRM and leave Apple open to litigation. DefectiveByDesign's Open Letter to Steve Jobs demands that the Apple co-founder make good on his promise by removing FairPlay from iTunes songs by independent artists. It also asks Jobs to use his influence as Disney's largest stockholder to remove DRM from the film company's music and movie offerings.
"As the largest purveyor of digital rights management [DRM] protected music, Apple carries a large part of the responsibility for the situation in which consumers now find themselves. ... You can set the ethical example and be the first 'major' to drop DRM. You can set the example in the region of video and movies. You have the direct power to do this," reads the petition.