Apple's Steve Jobs Calls For an End to DRMs

Published: 2007-02-08
On February 6, Apple CEO Steve Jobs posted a lengthy essay on the Apple website calling for the four major music labels to abolish Digital Rights Management.

Digital Rights Management or DRM are technologies used by record companies to control and restrict the use of copyrighted material usually associated with music and movies. Currently the majority of digital music sold online has some kind of DRM including songs purchased from Apple's iTunes Music Store, but Jobs thinks this should be abolished.

He points out, "... only 22 out of 1000 songs, or under 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM. The remaining 97% of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats."

Jobs suggests the best route is, "to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music".

According to Reuters, "Apple is due to reopen talks with the four majors in early March to discuss terms of their relationships with the iTunes Music Store." Then perhaps we'll see the affect this statement has had on the industry.

Writer: Michelle Garcia



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