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Warner chief slams Jobs' DRM fight

Apple chief's copyright claim is 'without merit'

Warner Music chief executive Edgar Bronfman has rejected in no uncertain terms Apple chief executive Steve Jobs' suggestion last week that the major music label companies should abandon digital tunes copy protection.

Jobs' proposal, which the Apple executive floated in an open letter that called on the labels to let users download tracks without digital rights management (DRM) antipiracy protection, is "completely without merit”, said Bronfman..

"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."

Jobs said that Apple would drop its FairPlay DRM "in a heartbeat" if the major record labels would license their music without requiring copy-protection schemes. In his letter, Jobs criticised the labels - Warner, EMI, Sony and Universal - for demanding DRM on music sold online at the same time that they sell billions of CDs containing unprotected tracks.

"So if the music companies are selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free, what benefits do they get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system?" Jobs asked. "There appear to be none."

Bronfman was the first executive of a major recording company to publicly take on Jobs' idea. He urged Apple and the music industry to continue working together. "Frankly, manifestos in advance of those discussions is counter-productive," said Bronfman.


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