[JURIST] Apple Inc. [corporate website] CEO Steve Jobs called on four of the largest record companies who distribute their music through iTunes to allow Apple to sell music without anti-piracy protection in an letter placed on Apple's website Tuesday. Jobs presented a series of "alternatives" for the future of digital music sold through Apple, and encouraged record companies to abandon the use of anti-piracy measures, known as digital rights management (DRM) [Wikipedia backgrounder], saying "DRMs haven't worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy." Jobs said that the overhead required by the use of DRM may be preventing some companies from using it, writing that "if such requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players."
The removal of DRM would also help to ease the pressure Apple has felt from many European countries who have brought lawsuits against Apple alleging that DRM systems have prevented consumers from being able to listen to iTunes-downloaded music on other media players, and have therefore stifled competition. In 2005, a French consumer group sued both Apple and Sony alleging that the companies limit consumer choice [JURIST report] by preventing downloaded songs from being played on other media players. Last summer, France enacted copyright legislation [legislative materials, in French; JURIST report] allowing French regulators to force Apple to make its iPod player compatible with songs downloaded from other Internet music stores, and downloads from its iTunes service compatible with other players. The New York Times has more.