The mobile industry is at loggerheads over the issue of Digital Rights Management (DRM), the technology which prevents unlawful copying or distribution of music files.
On the one side, some parties are calling for a unified standard which will help to prevent revenue leakage; on the other side are calls to drop the concept of DRM altogether to open up the industry.
According to a report in Telecom.com, the mobile data platform company End2End estimates that billions of dollars are being lost to revenue leakage because of confusion and negative experiences over DRM.
This sentiment is echoed by Patrick Parodi, chairman of the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), who says the lack of a reliable DRM framework cost the industry about $3-million in 2006.
It is expected that a new standard, OMA DRM 2.0, will alleviate the problems and allow operators to offer a new subscription-based business model.
Compounding the confusion, Steve Jobs recently called for record companies to abolish the whole issue of DRM for portable devices, maintaining that 90% of music worldwide is sold in a DRM-free format anyway.Meanwhile, Microsoft has lauched its own proprietary system, 'PlayReady', which industry observers say attempts to eclipse the OMA standard and risks further market fragmentation.