EMI Reportedly Ends DRM Talks

From The Seattle Times

EMI Group and online music sellers including Microsoft halted talks aimed at removing copyright protection from songs because they couldn't agree on the size of an advance payment, people briefed on the offer said.

EMI, the third-largest music company, demanded an upfront payment to compensate for its risk in releasing the music without software that prevents copying, the sources said. The retailers countered with a lower offer, which EMI rejected, and negotiations are now on hold, they said.

Discussions included Microsoft, Apple, RealNetworks, Yahoo! and Amazon.com, and a deal with some of them seemed close two weeks ago, the people said. CD sales slid last year, giving the idea traction as record companies look to reverse their fortunes. An announcement with EMI had been planned for as early as Feb. 9, one of the people said.

"It's a setback," Harold Vogel, an independent media analyst in New York, said in an interview. "That this industry fights every change tooth and nail is not helping reverse the tide."

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