updated 12:30 pm EDT, Mon July 20, 2009
RIAA declares DRM dead
Long-time proponent of digital rights management (DRM) protection for music files, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has finally acknowledged that DRM has become obsolete, according to a recent report from TorrentFreak. DRM prevents buyers of digital music tracks from copying them to other devices in an attempt to curb illegal copying. But now, with major music retailers abandoning the format to appease the wishes of the paying public, RIAA chief spokesman Jonathan Lamy says the protection's death is now a matter of fact.
"DRM is dead, isn't it?" he said in a magazine interview.
The organization had initially considered protection necessary as it assumed many purchasers would simply redistribute their songs without the guards in place. Some stores selling unprotected music still use watermarks in songs to identify their sources and discourage piracy.
While some services still sell music protected by DRM, such as Nokia's regular and Comes With Music stores, major stores like Apple's iTunes, Amazon, Napster and Walmart have all given up protection in favor of unprotected files that usually play across multiple computer platforms and handheld devices. The withdrawal of DRM from some stores, like MSN Music, has caused problems as the companies threatened to pull the servers authenticating DRM before customers were ready, blocking access to purchased songs for anyone who would have to switch to a new PC or reformat an existing model.