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Apple CEO Steve Jobs challenged major record labels to strip copying restrictions from music sold online, but their trade group fired back, suggesting the company should open up its anti-piracy technology to rivals instead, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report quoted Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, as saying this would eliminate technology hurdles that prevent music fans from buying songs at Apple's iTunes Music Store and playing them on devices other than the iPod.

'We have no doubt that a technology company as sophisticated and smart as Apple could work with the music community to make that happen,' Bainwol said in a statement.

Jobs earlier called on record labels to abandon their requirement for online music to be wrapped in digital rights management technology that prevents unauthorized copying, the Associated Press report said.

The DRM protections prevent the iPod from playing music bought from many other competing online stores.

Jobs said eliminating such restrictions would open up the online music marketplace.

The major record labels, Universal Music Group, EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, control some 70% of the music market and have maintained that DRM safeguards are needed to stave off rampant piracy.

Calls to Apple were not returned.

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