Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Apple Drops Copyright Protection on Songs

The New York Times - SAN FRANCISCO — In moves that will help shape the online future of the music business, Apple said Tuesday that it would remove anticopying restrictions on all of the songs in its popular iTunes Store and allow record companies to set a range of prices for them.

Beginning this week, three of the four major music labels — Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group — will begin selling music through iTunes without digital rights management software, or D.R.M., which controls the copying and use of digital files. The fourth, EMI, was already doing so.

In return, Apple, whose dominance in online music sales gives it powerful leverage, agreed to a longstanding demand of the music labels and said it would move away from its insistence on pricing all individual song downloads on iTunes at 99 cents.

Instead, the majority of songs will drop to 69 cents beginning in April, while the biggest hits and newest songs will go for $1.29. Others that are moderately popular will remain at 99 cents.

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