The Register has a good article about this. Soon, partly thanks to Apple, DRM (at least on music) should be going.
In case you don't know, DRM (Digital Rights/Restrictions Management) is what stops you from playing lots of the music you download legally on the device of your choice. It means you can't play iTunes music on a Zen and can't play music you download from your phone on your eyePod. Or car, or friends computer, etc.
Important things to note:
- DRM makes it harder for the average consumer to do what they want with their music. It does not stop piracy - pirates can always crack DRM. In fact, even with DRM, it is still easier to download a song illegally than it is legally. The illegal song will work on any phone / computer / MP3 player.
- There has always been lots of music downloadable (free and paid for) which does not have DRM. e.g. eMusic. Though this is only music which hasn't been signed by large record companies.
This is all good news for us customers because it means it will be easier to buy music and easier to play music.
The bad news is that online video downloads have only just started becoming popular and they have even more DRM than music downloads.