When DRM dies what happens to my restricted songs?

Summary:As the music industry transforms and ultimately ditches DRM--and it will happen probably sooner than we think--one question is left hanging: What happens to the tunes you bought already with DRM restrictions? On a feature at RealMoney (subscription required) called Columnist Conversation Michael Comeau asks an interesting question: "If DRM gets abolished, I wonder if Apple (AAPL) will allow people to download songs they've already purchased in the unrestricted mp3 format.

As the music industry transforms and ultimately ditches DRM--and it will happen probably sooner than we think--one question is left hanging: What happens to the tunes you bought already with DRM restrictions?

On a feature at RealMoney (subscription required) called Columnist Conversation Michael Comeau asks an interesting question:

"If DRM gets abolished, I wonder if Apple (AAPL) will allow people to download songs they've already purchased in the unrestricted mp3 format."

Hmmm. I'm not sure anyone has an answer to that one. Why? Most of us have been following the banter between Steve Jobs and the likes of Edgar Bronfman Jr. since Jobs' "Thoughts on Music" open letter. Others have been ranting about why DRM stinks. We could go into a lot of history here just over the last week or so, but Engadget has summed up the state of affairs nicely.

So let's cut to the chase. When DRM disappears what happens to the restricted songs I purchased at iTunes or another store? Is there a DRM kill switch? Am I stuck? Is there a bill of music downloading rights? Do I really have to burn a CD and then put it back in the library to get rid of the restrictions?

I have no clue. Even worse, who will decide what happens to my DRM-enabled tunes? Apple? The music industry? Bill Gates? Me?

DRM-enabled songs in a world with no DRM makes for an interesting conundrum that we better start pondering quickly. DRM's days are limited. [poll id=50]

Topics: Apple

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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