MP3s to acquire DRM technology

— 3:13 AM on March 2, 2004

According to this story over at C|Net, the MP3 format could pick up some DRM baggage in the not too distant future.

Thomson and Fraunhofer, the companies that license and own the patents behind the MP3 digital music technology, are in the midst of creating a new digital rights management add-on for the popular format, a Thomson executive said Tuesday.
The move to integrate DRM into MP3s is apparently a bid to make the audio format more suitable for online music services and digital content distribution. With the RIAA and major labels showing little interest in audio formats that lack rights management technology, DRM may be the only shot Thomson and Fraunhofer have at reaping royalties from major online music services.

With the online music service scene currently split between DRM-protected audio formats from Apple, Microsoft, and RealNetworks, a DRM-protected MP3 format could further fragment the market. Still, it's hard to beat the MP3 name when it comes to brand recognition and association with music downloads.

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