Universal Thumbs Nose at Apple

Label to lift piracy protection—except on iTunes downloads
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2007 9:40 AM CDT
Amy Winehouse performs at Lollapalooza at Grant Park in Chicago on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2007. The three-day festival, headlined by Pearl Jam, includes 130 bands. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Universal Music will ditch the anti-piracy software on music it sells through most outlets, making it easy—but still illegal—to copy its tunes. In what one analyst calls “a bold-faced move to blunt Apple’s influence,” the plan conspicuously excludes iTunes. The company says Apple is a “control group” in its study of piracy, the LA Times reports.

Universal will monitor downloads through January, testing suspicions that digital rights management software curbs sales more than illegal file sharing. The label of artists ranging from Amy Winehouse to Fifty Cent to Johnny Cash is the second major after EMI to offer protection-free music. If results are good, the other top players are likely to follow suit.