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Apple's Jobs calls for end of DRM
Published: 2007-02-06

Apple's CEO Steve Jobs has a message for consumers and anti-trust regulators claiming the company has locked people into its iTunes music store: Don't blame us, blame the music companies.

On Tuesday, the technology firm called for media companies to allow the sale of music without the digital rights management (DRM) that prevents copying, saying that copy protection technologies have not stopped piracy and only stunted the demand for purchasing music online. In an essay posted on Apple's Web site, Jobs outlined three possible futures and highlighted the sale of DRM-free music as the best alternative.

"Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy," Jobs stated in the essay. "Though the big four music companies require that all their music sold online be protected with DRMs, these same music companies continue to sell billions of CDs a year which contain completely unprotected music."

Some consumers and many companies have criticized Apple for the copy protection technology that also prevents consumers from playing music bought on iTunes from working on non-Apple players. Digital rights management technologies continue to be controversial, especially among digital rights advocates and security researchers. In January, media giant Sony BMG settled with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, ending a 14-month series of lawsuits brought consumers and government agencies over the discovery by security researchers that the company had installed DRM software on consumers' PCs that hid itself and caused security vulnerabilities.

In the essay, Apple's Jobs suggested that consumers and regulators critical of the company's music protections take up the issues with the music companies. European regulators have been especially critical of Apple's iTunes store, although the majority of the ownership of the giant music companies are based in Europe.

"Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace," Jobs said in the essay. "Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly."

Posted by: Robert Lemos
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