The music industry and Apple may be approaching a kind of détente over digital music and Apple's iPod.

The music industry, led by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has been pressing for strict copyright controls. The RIAA believes digital rights management is essential to protect its investments.

The RIAA supports a bill sponsored by US Senator Ernest Hollings. This mandates copyright-protection technology in all digital devices, including computers.

Stop it Now, CNN reports, the RIAA has complimented Apple's efforts to encourage its users “not to steal music”.

Hilary Rosen, RIAA chairman and CEO, said: “Apple is definitely one of the computer makers that cares about the legitimate music market and has spent time and resources working with the record labels on online-music delivery systems,”

Mentioning Apple's “don't steal music“ plea, she says: “I'm convinced it wants fans to enjoy music online in a legitimate way, and has invested resources to make that a reality.”

Apple's interest Apple CEO Steve Jobs told CNN: “Apple owns a lot of intellectual property itself. We own one of the two operating systems in the world. And so we believe in the protection of intellectual property. But that has to be balanced by consumers' fair-use rights, and there's a balance in there somewhere and everybody wants to swing the pendulum one way or another. With iPod, we struck a middle path.”

Apple announced iPod for Windows last week, to the delight of Needham and Co. analyst Charles Wolf, who believes Apple may get 20 per cent of a billion dollar market with the move.

Jobs believes that, consumers should be able to buy music, put it on a computer, burn custom CDs, and play it on portable music players.

“You know, people equate burning CDs with theft. Most of the time it's not. Burning CDs means you want custom compilations,” he explained.