Steve Jobs' open letter about DRM has polarizing effect

Steve Jobs knew that his open letter on DRM last week would elicit a variety of responses. Jobs reasoned that since music companies were already selling the majority of music on unprotected formats, there were no appreciable benefits to wrapping music files with DRM.

One of the first executives from the “big four” music companies has gone on record regarding Jobs’ proposal of a DRM-free world. Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman said during a conference call last Thursday that Jobs’ letter did nothing to convince him that DRM was an unneeded technology.

"We advocate the continued use of DRM," said Bronfman. "The notion that music does not deserve the same protection as software, film, video games or other intellectual property, simply because there is an unprotected legacy product in the physical world, is completely without logic or merit."

While Warner may not be considering what Jobs proposed, the EMI Group may be a little more convinced. Both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported last week that the British music company might be investigating the possibility of offering its digital music free of DRM restrictions. Reportedly, anonymous executives have revealed that EMI is in talks with an array of digital retailers, including Apple, Microsoft, Real Networks and Yahoo for selling unprotected files.

EMI’s new age thinking of selling old school files is not an unprecedented move by the company. Last year, EMI experimented with the sale of DRM-free music, albeit in small qualities and selection, through Yahoo! Music.

Others have also responded to Jobs’ letter, including the RIAA, SanDisk, DVD Jon and Coral Consortium.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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