Regular readers will know that in my view there is a clear trend towards selling MP3 files with no copy protection – ie with no DRM. Artists and record companies will hope to make back any revenue lost to piracy from increased merchandise and concert sales. Independent record labels (admittedly those with the least to lose) have been coming round to this position, whilst the majors have been more resistant, although there have been some signs that there stance might soften.
The FT reported this morning that to soften opposition to its proposed acquisition of EMI, Warner has agreed to “fund a digital rights licensing platform for independent labels”.
IMHO this is a clear step backwards in the progression towards unprotected music. I think they will find that what they are trying to do will be harder than pushing water uphill.
On the same day Viacom have cut a deal with Joost which shows they believe in their DRM platform and advertising plans. This is an endorsement of P2P as the delivery method for broadband TV and maybe a step towards finding a DRM model that works for video.
As an aside I wonder if the delivery platform needs to be so tightly coupled with the service provider – this is the case with leading broadband TV players like Joost and Bablegum, but it doesn’t necessarily seem to be the best way forward. Building a service on top of BitTorrent would be another option.