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Apple Chief Calls for Removal of Digital Music Piracy Protections

The head of computer giant Apple has called for major record companies to start selling songs online without copy protections.

Steve Jobs posted an article on his company's web site Tuesday advocating the removal of digital rights management (DRM) software built into music files sold on Apple's iTunes online music store. Music sold online through the company is fixed with software that prevents consumers from copying the files for distribution.

Critics complain that copy protections on music sold on iTunes forces consumers to use Apple's digital media player, iPod - the only device that can play music purchased from the store.

Jobs said that DRM is an ineffective piracy control and noted that only three percent of the music on the average iPod is purchased from the iTunes store.

According to Jobs, Apple licenses the rights to distribute music mainly from four major record companies, Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI.

Last year, Apple strongly criticized a proposed French law that would remove DRM from online music, saying it would encourage music piracy.

In recent months, consumer rights groups in several European countries, France, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden filed complaints against Apple for selling music that is incompatible with its competitor's music players.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.