See Full Story
To online file-traders, it is the original, pure file format for digital music. To the recording industry, it is a pirate ship that has been the basis for copyright violation and lost revenue. Regardless of what it was and is now, the MP3 format is getting a facelift to include copy protection. The move -- reportedly underway by MP3 patent holder and licenser Thomson and Fraunhofer of France -- is already being criticized as a control grab by the record companies and other copyright owners.
Surely adding DRM to MP3 just creates yet another sound file format - the original MP3 does not go away. People who exchange music files will continue to use MP3 - maybe they are infringing copyright or even infringing the MP3 licence conditions - the existence of a DRMed MP3 makes no difference to the situation.
The significance of the introduction of DRMed MP3 is that Thomson and Fraunhofer will have a product to compete with other DRMed formats in the marketplace.
A big question is the fate of hardware devices that play MP3 files. Will Thomson and Fraunhofer cease to issue licences for them? Assuming that the licences are revocable, the manufacturers could simply change over to 'Ogg Vorbis' and Thomson and Fraunhofer would lose their licence fees.