EMI and Apple drop D.R.M.

This is the big news of the morning. Apple and EMI have announced that they will be dropping D.R.M. (Copy Protection) on music from it's catalogue in the Apple iTunes Music Store. The unprotected songs will come at a price premium of roughly 30%, however they will also be encoded as 256 kbps AAC instead of 128 kpbs.

This is long overdue. Apple are in trouble in the EU for the iPod - iTunes lock in, and consumers have been long frustrated by the limits copy protection places on their legitimate purposes. Using the carrot of higher quality is also the right move, I think - entice people to move away from DRM without it being the only reason, as most people won't care and probably take the cheaper option.

It will be interesting to see if they files are "tagged" or watermarked somehow, so that there is still some accountability if the files end up on the P2P networks. I really hope this is the case, I would hate for piracy to be used as an excuse to stop a bold move such as this.

I wonder how long until this shows up in the Australian iTMS...

Coverage: NY Times, Ars Technica

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