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Steve Jobs 'Thoughts on Music' - Asks for No Digital Rights Management

This afternoon, Steve Jobs posted an article entitled "Thoughts on Music" on Apple.com.

In the article, he addresses recent calls for Apple and iTunes to "open" the digital rights management system on iTunes to allow other digital devices to play iTunes music and to allow other music store media to play on the iPod.

He reminds readers that the iPod can play unprotected content, and gives background on the reason for digital rights management.

He then explores three different alternatives for the future:

1) Stay the course "with each manufacturer competing freely with their own 'top to bottom' proprietary systems for selling, playing and protecting music. "

2) License FairPlay to other companies. "The most serious problem is that licensing a DRM involves disclosing some of its secrets to many people in many companies, and history tells us that inevitably these secrets will leak. .... Apple has concluded that if it licenses FairPlay to others, it can no longer guarantee to protect the music it licenses from the big four music companies"

3) Abolish DRMs entirely. "If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music."

Jobs argues that DRM doesn't work effectively and believes that Digital Rights Management should not be required by music companies.

"Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly."

Apple has come under increasing pressure from some European consumer groups regarding FairPlay, perhaps prompting the article.