Music companies consider ditching DRM

Interesting article in on the International Herald Tribune website…

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Record labels rethink digital rights management at Midem

Now that even digital music revenue growth is faltering amid rampant file-sharing by consumers, the major record labels are closer than ever to releasing music on the Internet with no copying restrictions — a step they once vowed never to take.

Executives of several technology companies meeting here at Midem, the annual global trade fair for the music industry, said this weekend that a move toward the sale of unrestricted digital files in the MP3 format from at least one of the four major record companies could come within months.

Music executives, while saying that timetable was self-serving on the part of technology companies that would benefit from the change, nevertheless acknowledged that the debate was front and center.

An excerpt from the article posted on The Inquirer

Music companies mull ditching DRM

Apparently the music business is at a loss as to what to do about the Internet which has destroyed the monopoly of the leading record producers over the worldwide distribution of music in the past decade.

Now it seems that the only reason that the music industry has not gone to such music distribution sooner is because of technology companies which insist on flogging them DRM systems that they claim is ‘hacker proof’. Of course the music industry executives do not blame themselves for investing huge amounts of cash in the technological equivalent of snake oil.

However, the music industry has its own religious movement to tackle before it can make any shift towards DRM free content. The Recording Industry Association of America is still convinced that it can stop the rot with expensive and increasingly less supported court cases.

Update:

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@ MidemNet: MPAA, RIAA, CEA Execs Clash Over DRM & Hardware Controls

This conference on the digital music business got off to a bang here in Cannes this morning when the opening-session discussion broke into a tense and sometimes bitchy disagreement about DRM between representatives from music, movie and electronics industry associations.

The gloves quickly came off between Shapiro, whose association runs a campaign to brief consumers on what he calls the “facts” about copyright, and the two industry reps. Bainwol said the CEA president, because of his pleas to abandon restrictions and liberalize fair use policies, sometimes resembled “a fringe, ideological leader” … Gary takes a concept, morphs it, makes us look like we’re evil.”

Shapiro countered: ”I don’t make you look evil – your lawsuits against old people around the country make you look evil. You’re very good at paraphrasing things I never said.”

Must be a fun conference!

UPDATE 1: This PoliTech SlashDot Journal post made the front page of SlashDot … I’m giddy!

UPDATE 2: From The TechWeb Blog DRM Is Dead — Long Live DRM!

UPDATE 3: Dreaded ‘F’ word haunts music industry
“You cannot have zero piracy and if you try to get to zero piracy you will make the experience of consuming music so painful you’ll have zero industry.”

Previous:
RIAA declares war on Rap mixes
The Perils of Windows Vista and Built-in DRM
Piracy, the better choice for consumers.
HD-DVD copy protection defeated … for now
And so it begins: YouTube nukes 30,000 videos
Fight DRM: Ten things you can do today
XBox360 HD-DVD: Stupid DRM tricks

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