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The Debate Over DRM

Warner, EMI chime in as the future of digital music is determined.

When Apple.com posted an open letter on Tuesday by CEO Steve Jobs proposing that major labels end their dependency on digital rights management (DRM) technology — software that controls the usage of digitally downloaded music — it was only a matter of time until label executives chimed in.

Today, reports surfaced that EMI (parent to Capitol Records), which has previously experimented with DRM-free music distribution, conducted meetings with several online retailers about potentially selling unprotected songs online — including Apple. On the flipside, Warner Music has reportedly denounced Jobs’ suggestions and confirmed Warner’s commitment to copyright protection software.

Meanwhile, the blogosphere is exploding with chatter regarding digital music’s future, questioning which company will head the imminent movement, and most importantly, how to unify numerous opinions behind one idea.

Here’s what bloggers are saying about the involvement of Apple, EMI, and Warner in the future of DRM protected music:

“Apple has a great product, most people have very little issue with DRM, and yes, removal of it would be great.” — Rob Shapiro, xbitlabs.com

“If EMI has the balls to do this, I’ll drop at all my music buying money at their doorstep as I fill my iPod to capacity.” — Sgtbeavis, gizmodo.com

“Even if the legal attacks against DRM do not prevail, the majors should take note: Get rid of DRM, because it’s bad for business.” — Steve Gordon, theregister.co.uk

“The reasons, of course, has nothing to do with taking a moral stand; EMI wants to compete with Apple.” — Zonk, slashdot.org

“It’s going to be one of those things where five years later you look back and say, ‘God, that was such the right call. I can’t believe it took so long.'” — 411mania.com

“Warner has the most to lose out of this idea. They own more copyrights than any other company in the world, that is probably why they don’t think it is a good idea.” — ilikepunkrock, punknews.org

“Call me crazy, but I think Apple’s looking for a way out of this business. Selling songs isn’t terribly profitable for them and the iPod has reached such a maturity level that they no longer need a dedicated store to drive hardware sales. If the music companies want to pull the plug on the iTunes Store, I think Apple’s inclined to say, fine, we’ll encourage our customers to buy CDs and rip them.” — chicagdan, macrumors.com

Talk: Where do you stand on DRM-protected music? COMMENT

On SPIN.com:
Steve Jobs Calls for DRM Death
New Software Strips Copy Protection from iTunes Tracks

On the Web:
Read Steve Jobs’ missive at Apple.com

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Tags: Music News