Despite the Apple and EMI announcement that the major label plans to dump DRM, the technololgy still has a part to play in future – but the battle between corporations and consumers must end.

A major new study from Strategy Analytics concludes that the music and video industries will continue to use rights restricting technologies in order to furnish new businesses, such as subscription-based services.

The report – A Roadmap for DRM: Business Impact for Content Owners and Technology Vendors>/i> – draws on interviews with senior executives in the media, entertainment and consumer electronics industries,

In order to remain valid, DRM will have to sink into the background of the value chain, enabling new choices for consumers, while also opening up new revenue streams for creators and content owners, says the firm,

"In the right form, DRM can help expand the size of the music and video markets," said Martin Olausson, director of the Strategy Analytics digital media strategies service. "Ultimately, DRM is needed to harness the commercial value of the `rip, mix, burn and share' culture".

"It is time to shift the focus of the debate over DRM beyond the misleading polarity of 'corporations' versus 'consumers'," adds Dr Andrew Currah, report author. "Ultimately this is a commercial rather than a technological problem. In the coming years DRM will be redefined and fine-tuned - not eradicated completely, as many have suggested."

The future of the technology stands in clearer standards, commercial diversification and improved consumer choice, the report explains.