Major record labels to ditch copy protection for digital downloads?

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straightJacket.jpgThe music industry has spent this week living it up in Cannes at the MIDEM conference, and there are some intriguing rumours coming out as a result.

Pick of the bunch is the notion that within the next few months, at least one major label may start selling digital songs in unprotected MP3 format.

That means you’ll be able to copy them to as many devices as you want, burn them onto CD as often as you like, and bring down the global music industry by posting them on internetweb MySpace forums. Something like that, anyway.

“There is a groundswell, and I say that on the basis of private conversations,” Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks, tells the New York Times. “It will happen between next year and five years from now, but it is more likely to be in one to two years.”

Indie labels already sell unprotected MP3s, as do some download services like eMusic. But for a major label or two to start doing this would be a seismic change in the music industry’s attitude to digital.

What’s more, you have to wonder what it’d mean for Apple’s iTunes Music Store, which still places all manner of restrictions on what you can do with songs purchased through it. Could Apple, too, remove its copy protection, which would allow users to transfer its tracks to non-iPod players and mobile phones? Fingers crossed.

(via the New York Times)

Stuart Dredge