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US Dept. of Justice seeks inquiry into Total Music

updated 01:10 am EST, Fri February 8, 2008

US DoJ inquiry, Universal

Universal's Total Music service is the subject of Federal inquiry after the US Justice Department sent a letter to the Universal Music Group requesting information about the planned service. Yahoo News reports that this follows a similar letter obtained by Sony BMG - neither label would comment, and letters sent to the Justice Department went unanswered.

Total Music is an idea that Universal has been entertaining for a while, after increased friction with Apple over the sharing of profits and the proprietary DRM format the company uses to protect tracks. Universal chief Doug Morris referred to this sales model as being ensnared by "golden handcuffs".

In May of last year, Apple launched iTunes Plus, a DRM-free catalogue of music featuring select artists from EMI's talent roster. Universal passed up Apple's service in favor of Amazon, RealNetworks, and several other established online music retailers, offering a selection of DRM-free content over a six month trial period.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    DRM

    Finally some justice, its just unfair business practice that iTunes doesn't get the DRM free tracks.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: drm

    unfair business practice? You mean like not letting anyone else to create hardware or software to play music from your store? Oh, right, that's OK because it's Apple.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: drm

    That's just the whole point, Apple wants to sell DRM-free music but Universal and others won't let them. Ordinary CD's and other online stores have the same drm-free music so why is Apple forced to add drm?

  1. TheBum

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    collusion

    Record companies are perfectly free to pick whom they want to distribute music, but that freedom ends when companies start colluding with each other. My first thought when I heard of Universal wanting to partner with other record companies on a music service smelled of collusion and I suspect the Justice Department is thinking the same thing.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    DRM

    If Apple was allowed to sell DRM Free music then the music sold on iTunes would work with any player Testudo. Its the music industry forcing the limits on Apple not Apple.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: drm

    If Apple was allowed to sell DRM Free music then the music sold on iTunes would work with any player Testudo. Its the music industry forcing the limits on Apple not Apple.

    No, any player with AAC support (which still isn't high in numbers) would be able to play it.

    And the record companies aren't preventing apple from licensing FairPlay. That's all Apple. They want to keep it close to the vest for as long as possible to make sure they keep their hold on both sets of users.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: drm

    AAC is a free format and is easy enough to recode to MP3 but you do make a point for the movies, Apple indeed won't license there fairplay to everybody on the street. Only some of the big players in content distribution have a deal.

    The playground is different with movies, everything from DVD to online has some sort of copy protection and Apple isn't treated differently.

    Microshit and unReal put no effort at all in DRM-playback for osX so they don't have to whine about Play-Fair(!).

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: drm

    AAC is a free format and is easy enough to recode to MP3 but you do make a point for the movies, Apple indeed won't license there fairplay to everybody on the street. Only some of the big players in content distribution have a deal.

    Apple will NOT license fairplay to ANYONE. There are no 'big' players vs. small ones here. The only people I know who've got anything 'fairplay' was the Fox deal of putting FairPlay content on the DVD. But this is meaningless. You still need a Mac or Windows machine with iTunes to get it, followed by an iPod as the only portable device to watch it.

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