Jobs calls for an end to DRM

March 2007

Internet, record labels

Set against a background of a record industry in turmoil and increasing consumer annoyance with and regulator disapproval of DRM and a lack of interoperability in downloads (in particular Apple’s own platform restricting DRM) Apple boss Steve Jobs has called on the major record companies to start selling digital music without copy-protection DRM or adopt the Apple Fairplay software. Jobs published an open letter on the Apple website at saying that labels could (1) do nothing (b) adopt Fairlplay DRM or (c) sell without DRM saying that only the third option would stimulate the market and benefit consumers. The RIAA seemed to respond by thanking Jobs for the offer of free Fairplay DRM! In Canada digital music store Puretracks has lifted controversial copy restrictions from part of its catalogue Wednesday, adding its weight to a growing number of industry players that appear increasingly open to unfettered file-sharing. Puretracks will offer 50,000 unrestricted digital files in an MP3 format that can be burned, e-mailed or copied to computers, portable music players and cellphones, said company president Alistair Mitchell. All the tracks come from smaller labels but they include indie giants known for favouring loose controls over music – Nettwerk, whose roster includes heavyweights Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan and Barenaked Ladies.

See also CMU Daily’s report on the recent Music Tank on the future of digital download and interview with keynote speaker Gary McClarnan’s viewpoint at

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