Monday, April 02, 2007

The DRM cat is out of the Bag!!

EMI announced today that it is taking the software restrictions off some of its digital music songs sold via download sites and selling these as "premium" versions. Apple's iTunes store will start selling the EMI tracks in the "premium" format in May.

Every song in its catalogue will be available in the "premium" format which will be of higher quality than those it offers now. These will be free of digital rights management (DRM) software and will cost $1.29 (99p). Itunes users will also be able to upgrade previously purchased EMI songs and albums for 30 cents (15p) a track.

By contrast albums free of DRM and those with it will be the same price and Mr Jobs stated that he expects that other record companies would soon follow EMI's lead.

What this means is that we are clearly entering a new digital phase were the DRM field will be levelled but the battleground will be a bit more fraught. What is means for other copyright sectors such as publishing is uncertain but if the rules change in music its hard to see them not changing elsewhere.