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In my latest Information Week column, I discuss the way that loose, single-vendor anti-copying systems like iTunes Music Store DRM are just as bad for the public (and even worse for the music industry) as tight, super-restrictive systems are:

The iPod is the number one music player in the world. iTunes is the number one digital music store in the world. Customers don’t seem to care if there are restrictions on the media Steve Jobs sells them — though you’d be hard pressed to find someone who values those restrictions. No Apple customer woke up this morning wishing for a way to do less with her music.

But there’s one restriction that’s so obvious it never gets mentioned. This restriction does a lot of harm to Apple’s suppliers in the music industry.

That obvious restriction: No one but Apple is allowed to make players for iTunes Music Store songs, and no one but Apple can sell you proprietary file-format music that will play on the iPod.