Apple / EMI Deal - Thank the EU?

I heard the news one hour before it was announced: Apple and EMI are going Digital Rights Management (DRM) free, albeit at a slightly higher cost and quality. One of my pet hates is people who bash the European Union, often citing I will admit its not glowing charachteristics. These same people never admit the things Europe does right, which may well be this hopefully landslide affect against destroying DRM. To quote The Register:

In the space of 24 hours Apple has gone from announcing an all-singing, all-dancing DRM-free deal with EMI, to facing the possibility of being slapped by EU fines of up to 10 per cent of the firm’s worldwide annual turnover.

And it is not alone - the major record labels, including EMI, could also be hit by the same fines.

As we reported earlier, the European Commission has issued a Statement of Objections “against alleged territorial restrictions in online music sales to major record companies and Apple”.

While although the EU certainly wasn’t the main motivation, I think that was profit, but nonetheless it should be given credit for the stick and carrot treatment of Apple and the record labels. I count the consumer organisations of Germany, France and the toughest one to Apple: Norway, as part of the Europe wide effort. Next the EU aims to get rid of different pricing structure of iTunes Store across the continent, which like transatlantic air travel, it could literally ‘open up the skies’.