[en:Steve_Jobs|Jobs] has published a long article about [en:DRM|DRM (Digital Right Management)], [en:FairPlay] and Music: "Thoughts on Music". It's the official answer of Apple to the dispute (and lawsuit) borned in [en:Norway] against the DRM system of the [en:Cupertino]'s Company, and that is rising in other countries also.
S. Jobs explains three possible way to face up the problem of DRM and, in particular, the "desire" of customers to buy DRM-free music. Summarizing:
- We could continue in this Way: various kinds of DRM, various kinds of DRM-enabled player, various kinds of DRM-based stores. This implies to continue with NO-INTEROPERABILITY between a store of a particular brand with a player of another brand.
- Apple might share Fairplay-DRM technology. This implies, in case of problems or (for instance) changes to algorithms, the heavy and not-so-simple interaction between various kinds of Fairplay-licensed stores: at every update, Apple should inform and help other stores to update their self (in my opinion, the foreword of a tragedy!).
- Majors could abolish DRMs entirely. This might allows every user to play every buyed song on every player and to copy that song on every device they might want to. No limitation or coercion. Only freedom. Comparing the market of the biggest online store, [en:iTunesStore|iTunes], with the market of [en:CompactDisc|CD]s, it's evident that the DRM doesn't work: iTunes sells average 2 billions songs per year; the 4 majors of Music (Sony BMG, Universal, EMI and Warner) sells 200 billions in the same period. And every CD doesn't have any kind of DRM: easy to rip and share over the internet, also illegally and... in few seconds.
Obviously, I think that the better solusion might be the 3rd: with a lower price, the final user would prefer to buy and download a high quality song in a moment, rather than search for it on a P2P network. But, as in any human being thing, pirates still and will exist.