DRM – all or nothing?

The Business Week report ‘Music Fans: Dismantle DRM‘ reviews the current industry and consumer positions on Digital Rights Management (DRM) and the issues are far from resolved. Some DRM schemes appear to be having some success in a limited market (iTunes) yet there are others (eMusic and Amie Street) who are developing thriving music services without DRM.

There have been other recent articles that predict the demise of DRM: DRM Fading for Music: The Year in Review form the EFF and Ailing music biz set to relax digital restrictions at Yahoo News.

It appears to me that the one thing that all consumers want is to be able to play their music when they want, where they want and on the equipment of their choice. So the producers are either going to have to come up with an omnipresent DRM that is totally interoperable and transparent or abandon all DRM.

Business Week reports RIAA President Cary Sherman as saying, “We are focused on interoperability” however there is no mention of enterprises such as the Digital Media Project that have spent the last three years working towards an open, interoperable, DRM platform. So how focused are they? I can’t help wondering if any one DRM system will ever achieve ubiquity and this, by default, will make the alternative, a DRM-free world (the P2P solution?), a more likely reality.

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