ERA launches "MP3 Compatible" scheme

November 6, 2008 // 1:19 p.m.

Tags: #digital-restriction-management #digital-rights-management #digitalstores #drm #era #flac #hmv #itunes #mp3 #play #tunetribe #woolworths

If you want to be sure that your digital downloads aren't going to time out on you thanks to overly restrictive digital rights management, you might want to keep an eye out for the logo on the right.

First reported in BetaNews, the Entertainment Retailers Association has launched a new campaign designed to highlight music download services that offer songs in the cross-platform DRM-free MP3 format via the use of an “MP3 Compatible” logo.

Companies signed up to the scheme include Play.com, DigitalStores.co.uk, Tunetribe.com, and the digital download services offered by highstreet names HMV, Tesco, and Woolworths. Each of the companies has agreed to offer songs in MP3 format – and will display the logo to reassure customers that the content they buy is fully compatible with every MP3 player under the sun.

The download sites themselves are only half the story, of course: the Association is hoping to convince manufacturers to include the logo on their MP3-compatible devices to drive home the point to consumers eager to spend their hard-earned on digital music downloads for their portable devices.

As BetaNews points out, the logo is perhaps a little hard to spot on most sites: this is perhaps due to the scheme being a relatively new initiative. Given time, it's likely that the labelling system will be as commonplace as “HD Ready” logos are on our TV sets.

With more and more consumers becoming switched on to the dangers of ill-considered DRM schemes that actively restrict their rights, the scheme is likely to see a rapid take up – especially from download services wishing to differentiate themselves from the locked-down and yet still incredibly popular iTunes service from Apple.

Will you be keeping an eye out for the logo next time you buy a digital download or music playback gadget, or have you already moved on to something a bit better? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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