BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 17:43 GMT
Warner drops locks across Europe
red hot chilli Peppers
The red Hot Chilli Peppers are among the artists available
Warner Music has signed a deal with media site to offer its music without copy protection.

Customers in the UK, Ireland, Spain, France and Germany will be able to download albums by artists such as Madonna and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

The MP3 files can be played on nearly all music devices including Apple's best selling iPod. is the first European site to offer Warner's music free of Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems.

The label had previously signed a deal with Amazon to sell its tracks in MP3 format. The service is currently only available in the US although this is expected to change later this year.

Lock pick

The music download market is dominated by Apple's iTunes, which sells most of its music in a proprietary format that can only be played on Apple devices such as the iPod.

Users can copy downloaded songs to a CD and then copy the disc back on to the computer so that the songs can then be moved to other portable devices - but the quality of the music is affected.

The firm has also experimented with DRM-free music services. Last year it launched its premium rate iTunes Plus service, but it currently only offers EMI tracks. also offers EMI music, and is reportedly in discussions with Sony BMG and Universal.

If it secured those deals it would boast all of the big four music labels and could offer a credible competitor to Apple's service.

James Bates of research firm Deloitte called the deal "significant".

"Today's announcement may be a tipping point in the general move to DRM-free data," he said.

Amazon reports bumper Christmas
27 Dec 07 |  Business
The DRM maze for consumers
11 Dec 07 |  Technology
Amazon debuts digital book reader
19 Nov 07 |  Technology
New Time Warner boss to take over
06 Nov 07 |  Business
New green light for Sony-BMG deal
03 Oct 07 |  Business
The obstacles in a DRM-free world
01 Oct 07 |  Technology

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific