Local’s lead? Apple chief blasts copy-protection

In a move shocking both the digital and music worlds, Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs has called for an end to all copyright protection on all digital music sold over the Internet. In an essay posted yesterday on Apple's website called "Thoughts on Music," Jobs says anti-piracy measures "haven't worked, and may never work," so the "big four" record companies (Warner Music Group, EMI, Universal, and Sony) should embrace open, licensable formats. "In such a world," Jobs wrote, "any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players."

What Jobs neglected to mention is that such a business model already exists, due in part to some Charlottesville venture capitalists. As the Hook reported in a December 2006 cover story, online music vendor Snocap sells digital downloads of independent artists in the universally playable mp3 format. At the time the cover story, Snocap was just doing business with independent artists, but COO Ali Aydar said the "big four" were on the brink of signing on. "They see the power of this distinct channel," said Aydar.

An undisclosed amount of Snocap's startup money came Charlottesville venture capital firm Court Square Ventures. Court Square's Randy Castleman sits on Snocap's board.

In a related story, check out next week's Hook to see who won of the Hook and Snocap's "Charlottesville Online Battle of the Bands."