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7/20/2009
07:58 PM
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RIAA Spokesman Denies Saying 'DRM Is Dead'

TorrentFreak has retracted its report of the quote. What the Recording Industry Association of America's Jonathan Lamy actually said was: "There is virtually no DRM on music anymore, at least on download services, including iTunes."

A Recording Industry Association of America spokesman who drew a huge amount of attention on the Web when he was quoted as saying "DRM is dead" denied Monday ever making the widely publicized statement.

The alleged quote from Jonathan Lamy drew lots of attention because of the RIAA's previously strong support for the technology used to prevent illegal copying of music and movies. While Hollywood studios still use digital rights management technology in movie and TV show downloads, record companies now offer DRM-free music on Applie iTunes, Amazon.com, RealNetworks and other major online music stores.

Nevertheless, the RIAA, which has aggressively defended copyright holders by suing illegal downloaders and file-sharing sites, is not ready to declare that DRM is ready for the grave. Lamy was originally quoted on TorrentFreak as saying, "DRM is dead, isn't it?" The alleged comment was made in reference to the number of online music stores offering DRM-free tunes that can play in any device.

The TorrentFreak writer Ernesto apparently drew the quote from a discussion with SC Magazine reporter Deb Radcliffe, who asked for the retraction after the quote was published without her permission.

Lamy's full, original comment, made in an e-mail sent to Radcliffe in response to a query for a story she was working on, read: "There is virtually no DRM on music anymore, at least on download services, including iTunes."

After Radcliffe asked for the retraction, claiming the quote was incorrect and published without her permission, TorrentFreak ran a correction, which read, in part: "We just learned the the RIAA never used the word dead in its reply to the reporter."

The speed with which Lamy's misquote circulated throughout the Web reflects how DRM remains a hot-button topic. Critics claim that restrictions imposed by DRM drives consumers to peer-to-peer sites where they can download content illegally. Supporters say DRM is needed to protect against illegal copying.

The RIAA has been criticized for moving too aggressively against consumers caught illegally downloading copyright-protected music. In June, a Minnesota mother of four was fined $1.92 million in federal court for downloading 24 songs. Jammie Thomas-Rasset is seeking to have the penalty lowered or to undergo another trial.


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