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Is It The End Of DRM As We Know It?

The digital media floodgates are starting to crack open.

Apple’s Steve Jobs’ call for less DRM for music, along with the Amazon/TiVo deal that will make it easy to download movies and Wal-Mart’s similar plan are all excellent signs that the content and hardware people are finally getting their acts together.

Jobs said in an essay posted on the Apple Web site,

“Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats,” Jobs wrote. “In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat.”

Jobs’ complete essay is here.

All Jobs wants to do is create a level playing field and to eliminate the digital equivalent of a format war that is now taking place in the online music business. His point that DRM software doesn’t really stop pirates and the fact that music sold in CD format is DRM-free truly makes his point.

How the music industry will react is not yet known, but MarketWatch reported the RIAA was not bowled over by the idea.

The Amazon/TiVo deal is something that truly strikes a chord with me. In fact it seems someone read my blog on this topic a few weeks ago and decided to help me out. Thanks, guys.

For this to work for me I will have to upgrade my current TiVo, which is integrated into my DirecTV box — something I really like, but is no longer available. But otherwise I couldn’t be happier.

Wal-Mart’s service is a bit different. It is more computer-centric and geared toward the portable video player market or for those people who’ve managed to figure out how to get content from their PC to their TV.

Still, this is a step in the right direction. When giants like Apple, Wal-Mart and Amazon start throwing their weight around good things can happen.