Warner Music chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. issued a pro-DRM message on Thursday, largely a response to recent comments by Apple chief Steve Jobs.
“Let me be clear: we advocate the continued use of DRM in the protection of our and of our artists’ intellectual property,” Bronfman said during an earnings call Thursday morning. “The notion that music does not deserve the same protections as software, television, film, video games or other intellectual property simply because there is an unprotected legacy product available in the physical world is completely without logic or merit. We will not abandon DRM, nor will we disadvantage services that are successfully implementing DRM for both content and consumers,” the label head promised.
The reaction follows a similar message from label group RIAA, which recently rifled back against the Jobs call for open formats. Both counterarguments focused on interoperability, regarded as the higher goal. “By far the larger issue for consumers in the music industry is interoperability,” Bronfman said. “As a content company, we, of course, want consumers to seamlessly access our music and to use the music they have purchased on any platform and with any service, physical or digital. The issue is obscured by asserting that DRM and interoperability is the same thing. They are not.” The Bronfman comments echo a philosophy expressed by other executives, namely that a well-crafted, universal protection system delivers a better alternative to open formats. That has led to industry calls for Apple to license its FairPlay protection system, though Jobs has steadfastly refused that suggestion.