'DRM is Dead,' Says RIAA

Dennis Faas's picture

The Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA, is infamous (or, depending on how you look at it, famous) for its prosecution of regular folk for downloading and ripping music onto personal computers. However, now it seems that the organization is willing to admit that their most notorious form of copy protection, DRM, is dead.

DRM, or Digital Rights Management, has been used for years to protect legitimate artists from piracy. For a long time, a band and its record company could use DRM technology to prevent the end user from passing an album or a song from computer to computer. The idea was that it kept people from buying one CD and passing it off to a thousand others, but it angered many music fans who felt that such distribution was their right.

RIAA Changes its Tune

Most retailers, including Apple and its iTunes, now agree. iTunes no longer uses DRM technology to limit the number of computers allowed to use an artist's material, despite a statement from RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol two years ago claiming that "DRM serves all sorts of pro-consumer purposes." (Source: dailytech.com)

Up until recently it appeared the RIAA held out hope for a resurgence in DRM, possibly betting that the music industry would rein in retailers like Apple. In addition, Microsoft's impending release of Windows 7, which it will seek to protect against piracy at any cost, is sure to put the issue of DRM back on the radar.

For now, it seems the RIAA is willing to admit defeat. During a recent interview on the subject, chief spokesperson for the RIAA Jonathan Lamy remarked, "DRM is dead, isn't it?" Lamy was heard to add that efforts to protect artists in the future would be free from DRM. (Source: tgdaily.com)

Is DRM Really Over?

Let's not write off DRM just yet, but it's clear from the fallout of that Jammie Thomas-Rasset debacle -- where a single mom was bombarded with $1.92M fines for downloading a dozen or so tunes -- that Digital Rights Management is too intrusive for a public comfortable with deciding for itself as to how it will acquire music.

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