During the “2007 Digital Strategies” Q&A session, EMI’s Barney Wragg — the architect of the major’s recent decision to drop DRM protection technologies from its entire catalog — found himself defending the move while flanked by Universal Music Group’s Amanda Marks and Sony BMG’s Thomas Hesse.
“We haven’t given up on DRM and interoperability,” Hesse said. “If you have to trade interoperability for DRM, it’s not the right move to make. Getting back to a protected world is difficult. We don’t want the whole world to be a college dorm, where all product can just be cloned without limitation.”
Marks comments were less biting. “The goal is interoperability,” she said. “For us, we are concerned about the length of time to achieve that through technology means. The 64K question is…if you take away the speed bump that DRM represents, will the consumer than have no moral compunction to sharing the music they purchase with their entire high school or college dorm. We all agree that having more competition in the retail space…would be a good thing. The question is will those sales go up more than the shrinkage that we would experience.”
Smirking through the exchange, Wragg simply responded: “The industry has backed itself into a corner that is untenable,” he said. “Everything that goes out on CD is without DRM…The protection that is being offered by DRM really services only to frustrate the consumer.”