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2/12/2007
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Brief: Jobs Calls For DRM-Free Music

DRM doesn't work and bother customers, he says.

Sometimes it's great to be proved wrong. Until recently, it appeared Apple was an evil mastermind, assembling a practical monopoly on the digital music market, forcing media companies to kneel before it to get access to iPod-toting consumers and locking consumers into its technology.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs -- Photo by Don Feria

No more DRM

Photo by Don Feria
Then comes CEO Steve Jobs last week offering to give up that stronghold, challenging media companies to sell digital music and movies without digital rights management. In an open letter, he says what critics have for years: DRM doesn't stop piracy and punishes legitimate buyers. Jobs says Apple uses DRM because the four major music companies insist; it would go DRM-free "in a heartbeat."

Why might music labels buy Jobs' pitch? Because CD sales are falling, and digital sales aren't picking up the slack. JupiterResearch predicts total music sales will shrink 9% by 2011. Setting music free won't solve all the industry's problems. But it'll help.

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