Defective by Design

A Letter to Warner Chairman Edgar Bronfman

Dear Chairman Bronfman,

Recent weeks have brought major changes in the music industry as it relates to online digital music distribution. Apple and EMI have now committed to distributing without Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), and there have been similar announcements from other online music stores and retailers. Last week brought news that Universal Music may be opening up some of their catalog to DRM free sales too.

At Warner Music, you have not budged in your support for DRM. After the EMI announcement you even suggested a hostile takeover of EMI to prevent the music going DRM free. Last week you filed a lawsuit against AnywhereCD.com to stop them from distributing MP3 files to customers who had already bought that music on CD from a Warner Music artist.

As opponents of DRM, we can tell you that these actions are misguided.

In the last year thousands of people have gotten involved in the campaign against DRM, to help raise awareness about this issue and to work for the better alternative - no DRM. DRM is defective - it simply doesn't work. DRM hobbles the technology we buy making it more expensive and limiting its utility. DRM is also a threat to the freedom we have to control our computers and electronic devices. By and large people have said “I will buy music online. I will pay for it and support the artists. But not if that music has DRM in it. Not if the industry treats its customers with contempt.”

We urge you to reconsider Warner Music's support of Digital Restrictions Management. DRM is widely recognized at this point as anti-consumer and broken. Indeed the only people who get their music infected with DRM are your paying customers. As potential customers we can tell you there is NO added value in DRM to us. We are boycotting your products because of the DRM.

We the undersigned urge you to drop DRM from Warner Music's digital distribution. Put the energy that has been spent attempting to lock down the audience towards developing new artist music and innovating new products and services for the music fan.

Regards,

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