Feeds

Congress moots mandatory DRM scheme

Napster shall speak unto iPod - or else...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The US Congress is pondering laws to force digital music companies to use a single, unified DRM system, in order to allow songs purchased from any download service to run on any hardware.

The House of Representatives' intellectual property sub-committee met yesterday to discuss such a move, proposed by Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, and Howard Berman, a Democrat from California.

Their beef is the ongoing incompatibility between, say, Napster's download service and Apple's iPod. The shiny white music player will happily handle songs downloaded from Apple's iTunes Music Store and protected with Apple's FairPlay DRM system, but not DRM'd Windows Media Audio files, for example.

"This interoperability issue is of concern to me since consumers who bought legal copies of music from Real could not play them on an iPod," Smith said at the hearing, Internet News reports.

Apple apparently wasn't there to add its two cents to the debate - Smith described its failure to appear as a "mistake" - but other industry players, including Napster CTO William Pence, along with consumer groups and public policy bodies, were present to tell the Congressmen to leave the emerging digital music market alone.

Essentially, opponents argue that it should be for the market to decide which services - and thus which DRM systems - dominate.

"Marketplace forces will continue to drive innovation in the DRM arena with attendant consumer benefits - new ways to enjoy digital music at a variety of different price points - while gradually solving the interoperability problem," said Pence, for example.

In short, when the business needs interoperability, we'll get it. And, it has to be said, right now consumers seem keener on lower prices than compatibility between digital music services. Real Networks' attempt at bridging its own Rhapsody download offering and FairPlay doesn't appear to have boosted the company's sales significantly. Indeed, its move last summer to slash prices for a three-week period probably did more to build Rhapsody's customer base than the launch of the DRM translation tool, Harmony. ®

Related stories

Apple Japan opens buy-by-phone iPod shop
Phone DRM too expensive, say carriers
'White Bud' guerilla targets one iPod at a time
iTunes store 'hole' open again
Apple plugs PyMusique iTunes 'hole'
DVD Jon: buy DRM-less tracks from Apple iTunes
EC ends Microsoft DRM probe
DRM comes to mobiles

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.