BetaNews: As far as treating people online goes, there's always the issue of fair use and digital rights management. My understanding is that Virgin Digital music downloads are only licensed on the machine were the purchase was made. As far as DRM goes, how flexible is Virgin willing to be and is it willing to look beyond Microsoft and its Janus secure clock technology?
Zack Zalon: No music service controls the digital rights surrounding the music - even if we do have some flexibility in terms of the technology that we choose. It is the right holders, whether it is artists, publishers or record labels that actually are in control. What we do have is control over the technology to such a degree that we can provide an experience that over time, we think, will hide the ugliness of the DRM and bring a little bit more of an open experience to consumers.
That's gonna take a while and we are not alone in that desire. DRM wise, Microsoft happens to have what we think is the best and most flexible digital rights technology. If there's another one that comes out that we think is stronger, more reliable and even more entertaining for customers to use, we would be happy to adopt that as well.
Part of the problem with digital rights management right now is that people are not spending enough time focusing on seamless synchronization, and so what that does is exposes the issues around digital rights instead of hiding them in the background where they belong. We've spent a considerable amount of time on a suite of synchronization support technologies and device support technologies that we call Device IQ.
Device IQ is almost a philosophy for us in that the goal is to create an experience between software and hardware that is simple enough so consumers never realize that the DRM is there. And that becomes increasingly more important over time as Janus exists, but it's still very important now as people are encoding their own CDs into libraries and buying a tremendous number of songs through the 99-cent per song system. Getting it onto a device is something that we feel is very important.