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Music Pirates Won't Rush To iCloud For Forgiveness

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the forgive-me-steve-for-i-have-sinned dept.

391

An anonymous reader writes "Lots of people have suggested there's a loophole in Apple's new iCloud that will allow people who illegally download music to somehow 'launder' their dirty music files, getting a nice clean, and legal, license to the music stored on iCloud. This argument is flawed for two main reasons. The first has to do with how the laws of copyright work and the second is to do with why people share or download music (and movies) in the first place."

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Useful for audiophile pirates, though (4, Interesting)

winterphoenix (1246434) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449000)

One thing the article missed was the fact that iTunes match will allows users to download 256kbps versions of the music in their libraries, regardless of the bitrate the user originally had. I know a lot of people who would be willing to pay $25 to upgrade their entire music collection to that bitrate, regardless of whether their collection was obtained legitimately or not.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (2, Insightful)

Lunaritian (2018246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449028)

True audiophiles listen to lossless though.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (1)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449110)

true, but as a percentage of the population there aren't too many "true audiophiles". There are, however, plenty of people who claim to be audiophiles (meaning that they rip their music at the best bitrate of the day).

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (1)

winterphoenix (1246434) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449116)

Good point. Maybe "wannabe audiophile" was a better term. Either way, there is definitely a subset of people I know not willing (or too lazy) to re-rip/re-download their entire collection to get a higher bitrate but would still like to have it. iTunes match sounds like it will be automatic enough that I imagine they'd make use of it.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449286)

I'd say a "wanna be audiophile" is someone who wishes he could afford a better sounding stereo.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450182)

I'm definitely in that camp. I'd love to have a few hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on all-tube gear, analogue-only media equipment (EVEN CDs). and oxygen-free 47-braid virgin copper cable insulated with the skins of baby minke whales.

I wouldn't actually waste money on that crap, of course. I'd just love to be able to afford it, so I can spend the money on stuff that actually matters to me. YMMV.

And yeah, I can sometimes hear the difference between 128kbps and VBR, but only on home entertainment gear (even mediocre). On my smartphone, the earbuds are such a loss acoustically that it's distinguishing between a crappy rip and an awesome one verges on fantasy.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450016)

I'm not familiar with the details but what happens to the 256 bit collection if I stop paying the yearly $25 fee? Also does the matching move over my lyrics and other metadata. Some times I filled in fields like Composer etc. If it stays with me or I can download it that alone is worth the fee. I have 2500 songs mostly in 128 bit MP3, all of them legally ripped.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (2)

winterphoenix (1246434) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450146)

According to this article [gottabemobile.com] , the iTunes match copies are iTunes Plus tracks, which are DRM free. I have no idea about the metadata, though I'm sure it wouldn't be extremely difficult for someone to write a script to merge two sets of ID3 tags.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (1)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450154)

Current understanding - which could be completely wrong as Apple haven't said exactly what happens - is that the copy in the Cloud will go away, but not any copy on one of your devices.

So, you won't be able to re-download it from the cloud any more, but assuming you've pulled a copy from the Cloud into iTunes before your sub expires, you could always get it from there.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449146)

Correct. True audiophiles use $100 speaker cables too. There's unfortunately no word that means "normal person who wants his music to sound good without buying into the woo" [skepdic.com] .

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (2)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449240)

There are practical reasons for lossless, however. Where lossy media hurt is a generational loss -- maybe on my desktop or on devices which support it, I'd prefer Ogg Vorbis. Maybe if I had an iPod, AAC would be better. My feature phone likes MP3, and that's also useful if I want to share it with people. And maybe someone wants me to burn a CD, and maybe they will then rip that CD into their own lossy format.

AAC 256k sounds fine. But generational losses do eventually add up, and disk space is cheap, so there's no good reason to put up with them.

And no, I don't have $100 speaker cables. I'd much rather have $100 headphones.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449564)

The nice thing about digital sound is that you no longer need such expensive equipment (except your speakers/headphones). That's good for us normal folks who don't have mountains of cash, bad for audiophiles. In the analog world, the more you spent, the better it sounded. A $500 turntable sounded far more lifelike than a $50 turntable. With digital, there's no audible difference between a $500 CD changer and a $20 CD player. High quality amplifiers have gotten so cheap that what used to be a $2,000 amp now is more like $50 (like all electronics; an IBM PC with no hard drive, 4 mz chip and 64k memory was $5,000. A twenty five inch TV cost $600 in 1976, these days you can get a 42 inch high definition flat screen for less).

An LP on a high end turntable through an amp with less than 1 db of distortion or noise played through a pair of four-way enclosures with eighteen inch woofers, a pair of different sized squawkers, a tweeter and a supertweeter will fool you into thinking it's a live performance; that's what hifi (high fidelity) means. It will sound better than the same record in CD format (provided the original studio tapes were analog).

However, with a low end (more affordable) system, the CD will always sound better than an LP. The low end turntable will lack bass, since it will be attenuated to reduce rumble, and will lack treble to make up for the lack of bass. It may also have speed slightly off and may even have a tiny bit of flutter (but you usually only get flutter from tape). It will also introduce distortion and may not have very good separation. Cheap CD players, on the other hand, send the same numbers to the DAC as as an expensive one, and until it reaches the analog DAC the cable the signal runs through doesn't matter at all; it either works or doesn't.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (2)

woolpert (1442969) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449692)

An LP on a high end turntable through an amp with less than 1 db of distortion or noise

Yea, because the amp is the weakest link in that chain. LOL

It will sound better than the same record in CD format

This is nothing more than an unsubstantiated claim that LPs are capable of fidelity beyond what 16bits @ 44.1 kHz PCM can deliver.

Where, exactly, do LPs have the advantage?

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (1)

ydrol (626558) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449798)

Dont even need expensive headphones to get audiophile quality (assuming headphones Less that 40 euros delivered.
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=hd+688b [google.co.uk]

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449806)

I agree! My Bose ear buds do the job quite nicely and I don't have to worry about what kind of speakers I have attached to the $100 speaker cables.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (4, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449378)

Audiophiles get a bad rap for spending money on things that nobody can really tell a difference between, but really it's all a sliding scale of how much "better" (or "different") do you want to get vs. how much money do you not care if you spend.

I bought the $200 headphone cable for my $400 headphones back when I had money to burn (ah the good ole days). Was it noticeably better than the $12 cable that comes with the headphones? yes. was it $188 better? Hell fucking no. not in my opinion anyway.

Are my $400 headphones better than my $250 headphones? maybe. probably. not by very much though. Are both of them better than my $100 headphones? yes. Are $1200 headphones better than anything I own? Probably... but also likely not by very much.

Just like any given hobby, the first small/medium sized chunk of money into gets you 90% of the ultimate potential quality, and then you can spend hundreds more to get to 95%, then thousands to get to 99%, and then possibly never get to 100% no matter how much you spend.

When you hear audiophiles rave over "how much product X is than product Y", what they're generally doing is disregarding that first 90% of quality that everybody has, and talking about the differences, the remaining 10% or so. Because that's not clear to the casual reader, they look like idiots for spending $100 on a cable that makes almost no difference. Perhaps they are spending irresponsibly if that money should be going elsewhere to bills, etc... but if they have the money to spend, who is to say that whatever enjoyment they're getting out of their super low oxygen, quadruple shielded, magnesium tipped, fluorescent purple cables isn't worth every penny they spent, to them at least?

Note, I'm not talking about the people who are off the scientific deep end and debating which brand SATA cable attached to their hard drive produces the best sounding mp3s.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (5, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449616)

I have a PhD in Digital Music Conservation from the University of Florida. I have to stress that the phenomenon known as "digital dust" is the real problem regarding conservation of music, and any other type of digital file. Digital files are stored in digital filing cabinets called "directories" which are prone to "digital dust" - slight bit alterations that happen now or then. Now, admittedly, in its ideal, pristine condition, a piece of musical work encoded in FLAC format contains more information than the same piece encoded in MP3, however, as the FLAC file is bigger, it accumulates, in fact, MORE digital dust than the MP3 file. Now you might say that the density of dust is the same. That would be a naive view. Since MP3 files are smaller, they can be much more easily stacked together and held in "drawers" called archive files (Zip, Rar, Lha, etc.) ; in such a configuration, their surface-to-volume ratio is minimized. Thus, they accumulate LESS digital dust and thus decay at a much slower rate than FLACs. All this is well-known in academia, alas the ignorant hordes just think that because it's bigger, it must be better.

So over the past months there's been some discussion about the merits of lossy compression and the rotational velocidensity issue. I'm an audiophile myself and posses a vast collection of uncompressed audio files, but I do want to assure the casual low-bitrate users that their music library is quite safe.

Being an audio engineer for over 21 years, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. While rotational velocidensity is indeed responsible for some deterioration of an unanchored file, there's a simple way of preventing this. Better still, there have been some reported cases of damaged files repairing themselves, although marginally so (about 1.7 percent for the .ogg format).

The procedure is, although effective, rather unorthodox. Rotational velocidensity, as known only affects compressed files, i.e. files who's anchoring has been damaged during compression procedures. Simply mounting your hard disk upside down enables centripetal forces to cancel out the rotational ruptures in the disk. As I said, unorthodox, and mainstream manufactures will not approve as it hurts sales (less rotational velocidensity damage means a slighter chance of disk failure.)

I'd still go with uncompressed .wav myself, but there's nothing wrong with compressed formats like flac or mp3 when you treat your hardware right

--
BMO

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449782)

*golf clap

I was going to give you a "cool story bro", but that's actually a rather impressive piece there, I award you one internet.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449872)

Bullshit

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36450132)

woosh

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (4, Informative)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449910)

I bought the $200 headphone cable for my $400 headphones back when I had money to burn (ah the good ole days). Was it noticeably better than the $12 cable that comes with the headphones? yes. was it $188 better? Hell fucking no. not in my opinion anyway.

No. Headphone cables have no effect on sound (as long as they are not torn or shorted).

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449452)

Speaker wire is so low impedance and the signal so strong that even something from monoprice is plenty fine. The "true audiophiles" you are talking about are the brain dead kind. There actually are a breed of informed audiophiles who do the math and don't blow money on magic pixie dust components (several people over at head-fi [head-fi.org] seem to have their heads on straight). The place to really focus on cable is analog interconnects (if any). Replacing my cable from DAC -> Amp actually did make a very obvious difference that anyone would be able to hear.

Maybe you are right and the term audiophile has been tainted beyond repair. I still like to use the term without all the implied negativity though.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449356)

True audiophiles listen to lossless though.

Downloaded through gold gas sealed ethernet cables.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (1)

Littlebluedevil (564616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449542)

True audiophiles listen to lossless though.

True audiophiles listen to vinyl.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (1)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449916)

True audiophiles only listen to live performances.

Re:Useful for audiophile pirates, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36450042)

true audiophiles keep bitching about the compression fact. STOP BITCHING !

(1) The Law (2) Trying not buying. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449518)

(1) "iTunes Match, which, at a cost of $24.99, matches a userâ(TM)s existing music library against the 18 million tracks held in iTunes store, will work on the basis of assuming that you have a legal version of the music on your disk. It will have to do this to stay in keeping with the copyright laws in the US which are similar to that in Australia. "

I don't see how Apple will know whether my MP3 rip is legal or not. The author's reasoning is flawed, because I suspect iTunes will treat copied songs the same as legal songs. But I agree with (2). Most people, including myself, are merely testing stuff before buying it, in order to avoid buying crap. Like Transformers 3. If downloading is stopped, they won't suddenly run to the store and buy thousands of songs.
.

>>>I know a lot of people who would be willing to pay $25 to upgrade their entire music collection to 256k

You may be right, but I don't fit into that category. As long as the song is equal to the quality I'm used to hearing (analog FM radio), less than 256k is fine with me. If it falls below 128k MP3 or 32k AACplusSBR, then it gets annoying but most of the time the quality is "good enough" for casual listening.

Plus if I really want quality, CD is the way to go. It's lossless and if it's a Greatest Hits CD you get ~15 songs for less than a dollar a piece.

So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449002)

Who gives a rats ass? Seriously.

Re:So? (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449652)

Who gives a rats ass? Seriously.

They'll give a rat's ass when they figure out that with iCloud in OSX 10.7 Apple is building the walled garden around you. Further, that this iCloud is the entire reason there's even going to be an OSX 10.7.

I hope you didn't think it was for the users' benefit...

Forgiveness? (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449008)

Exactly how many pirates really care about "forgiveness"? While greater than 0, /me thinks they are overestimating the crushing guilt caused by pirating music from Sony and others.

Re:Forgiveness? (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449064)

I don't see how doing this would relieve the guilt in the first place. You still haven't payed for the music. And people who pirate don't fear lawsuits.

Re:Forgiveness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449230)

I don't see how doing this would relieve the guilt in the first place. You still haven't payed for the music. And people who pirate don't fear lawsuits.

Except for the $25 a year you're paying to take advantage of this service.

Re:Forgiveness? (0)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449326)

0$ of which goes to the artists.

Re:Forgiveness? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449438)

0$ of which goes to the artists.

[citation needed]

Re:Forgiveness? (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449588)

I'm always surprised by this argument. Most of the rest of the money goes to working stiffs, most of whom are in IT making the transactions possible. I guess the Slashdot IT people don't like getting paid.

Just because you don't like the middle man doesn't mean that you don't need him, or are not him.

Re:Forgiveness? (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449802)

That's true for paying the people who provide the iCloud service in this case (and if you want iCloud that's great). But this isn't a purchase service at all, you don't get music you don't already have out of it. So it might be de jure legit to pirate music then get it from iCloud*, but it's still de facto piracy, and has the same moral issues as going to pirate bay in the first place.

*If there was ever an argument that our IP laws need to be burned, pissed on, and rewritten from scratch that even the content providers would listen too this has to be it.

Re:Forgiveness? (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450070)

0$ of which goes to the artists.

Just like if you bought a CD. Apple has paid most (all?) the labels in order to provide this service. If the labels refuse to pay their musicians that's not Apple's problem.

Re:Forgiveness? (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449614)

Well, you haven't paid the original artists for the music, but you've paid someone. And apparently that's all the law really cares about it. So long as that "someone" has some kind of agreement with the record labels to be able to grant "licenses" all willy nilly on their behalf. The whole system is ridiculous.

As someone who does download illegally, I don't fear lawsuits so much as being permanently banned from my broadband provider. But they don't care if at some point I buy a legal copy of something. They only respond to letters from content owners saying my IP was used to download some content from bittorrent. They're not going to care if I say "Oh, but I paid Apple $25 to make it legit. Please turn my internet back on!"

Re:Forgiveness? (2, Interesting)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449184)

Exactly how many pirates really care about "forgiveness"? While greater than 0, /me thinks they are overestimating the crushing guilt caused by pirating music from Sony and others.

I'd pay, but not for forgiveness. I download music illegally because that is the only way to get music where I live. The stores don't stock non-mainstream stuff, so if I want Pantera I need to go online for it. Amazon now sells MP3 files that will run on my Linux computer and I buy them, but before Amazon I had to download illegally. I have in fact purchased albums that I once downloaded illegally, now that I can. But I'm doing it slowly, one a month or so. I still have quite a bit to catch up.

If the *AA's wanted to prevent illegal downloading, they would have provided a legal option years ago.

Re:Forgiveness? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449382)

Where do you live that you can get Internet access but can't get CDs delivered? In most of the world, the roads are built before the network cables...

Re:Forgiveness? (1)

DigitaLunatiC (452925) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449860)

I can't speak for the parent, but I live in Myrtle Beach (not exactly a ghost town) and it's unbelievably hard to find metal albums here. Same thing in the upstate of South Carolina. Stores stock what the majority of their customers demand - pop, rap, classic rock, country, top 40 type stuff. If they can't move Pantera albums what do you think the chances of them stocking the shelves with some of the more obscure European power metal bands are?

Anyone who has different tastes from the majority of the other patrons is going to have a hard time finding music. Yes, there are probably roads near him, but if he has to drive to a different city (likely not very nearby) to purchase an album I can't say I'm in the least bit surprised he wouldn't be willing to.

Re:Forgiveness? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449982)

I think GP was saying "go to amazon. order the CD you want. it'll get delivered in a few days".

When I lived in DC (major metropolitan area with millions of residents), there was only one store I was aware of that stocked european metal, and the sold for $18 apiece. I eventually just started ordering from amazon. Even with shipping they were coming in significantly cheaper, and I had a selection that was way way better. The only downside was the wait.

Re:Forgiveness? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450012)

Which doesn't answer my question. Amazon has been delivering CDs for over a decade, and their range is pretty much anything that's still in publication. So, where can you get enough bandwidth to download songs, but not get deliveries from Amazon or a similar company? The argument that people pirate music because music that they like is not available doesn't really make sense. Not available at a price that they agree with, or in a format that they want maybe, but 'local shops don't sell it' doesn't really make sense as an argument for piracy.

Re:Forgiveness? (-1, Troll)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449902)

I download music illegally because that is the only way to get music where I live. The stores don't stock non-mainstream stuff, so if I want Pantera I need to go online for it. ... If the *AA's wanted to prevent illegal downloading, they would have provided a legal option years ago.

I stole my car because it was the only way to get the type of car I wanted. The local car dealerships don't stock non-mainstream cars, so when a traveler passing through my town was driving the car I wanted, I stole it. If the car companies wanted to prevent car theft, they would have built a car dealership in my town.

Just because you want something that your town doesn't have isn't a justification for stealing it. You chose to live where you do. If anybody other than you is to blame at all, it would be the local music stores for choosing not to stock non-mainstream music.

I have no love for the *AAs, but they're not to blame here.

Re:Forgiveness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449988)

trololololol

Re:Forgiveness? (1)

jasonq (244142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450142)

self righteous prick

Re:Forgiveness? (1)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450160)

I download music illegally because that is the only way to get music where I live. The stores don't stock non-mainstream stuff, so if I want Pantera I need to go online for it. ... If the *AA's wanted to prevent illegal downloading, they would have provided a legal option years ago.

I stole my car because it was the only way to get the type of car I wanted. The local car dealerships don't stock non-mainstream cars, so when a traveler passing through my town was driving the car I wanted, I stole it. If the car companies wanted to prevent car theft, they would have built a car dealership in my town. When you pirate a track, you do not take it away from someone else. So your car analogy (or the shoplifing analogyin the *AA ads) fails, and screams troll to anyone on slashdot (I guess I just took your bait). And one reason piracy is so widespread is that for once, the rest of the population mostly has the same gut feeling as the slashdot crowd. It does not feel like stealing. It is not stealing. Is it illegal? In most jurisdictions. Is it unethical? Sometimes. But it is not theft.

The *AA ads try to equate it to stealing (with the slogan "you would never steal a ..." repeated for a bunch of items) precisely because most of the population disagrees, and because they know that if they did perceive it as theft, many people would stop pirating.

Re:Forgiveness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449548)

> Exactly how many pirates really care about "forgiveness"?

Only the Catholic pirates.

Google tells me there are 614 of them (https://encrypted.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22catholic+pirates%22+-greek) once you exclude the "Greek Merchants".

The one thing I fear - more prosecutions (1)

SengirV (203400) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449724)

How many of us have receipts for the music we purchased years ago? I've given/thrown/sold away most of my CDs I could once I ripped my CD collection. Once my collection goes in the cloud, and the powers that be match some of my songs to be EXACTLY the same as some other people, I'm sure there is a chance I get a knock on the door asking me to produce the receipt for the song(s) in question, as well as all the other songs in my collection. If I can't, then BOOM, I"m getting sued.

This is going to a be a prosecuting attorney's wet dream - Everyone's music collection to sift through, in order to find similar songs and thus, people to prosecute.

I don't see how this is going to end well for the users of this service.

Re:The one thing I fear - more prosecutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36450054)

If you throw/give/sell your CD, you can't keep your digital copies. Period.

A little offtopic, but I felt it appropriate (2)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449862)

Once in a while maybe you will feel the urge [google.com]
To break international copyright law
By downloading MP3s from file-sharing sites
Like Morpheus or Grokster or Limewire or KaZaA

But deep in your heart you know the guilt would drive you mad
And the shame would leave a permanent scar
'Cause you start out stealing songs and then you're robbing liquor stores
And sellin' crack and runnin' over school kids with your car

So don't download this song
The record store's where you belong
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don't download this song

Oh, you don't wanna mess with the R-I-double-A
They'll sue you if you burn that CD-R
It doesn't matter if you're a grandma or a seven year old girl
They'll treat you like the evil hard-bitten criminal scum you are

So don't download this song
Don't go pirating music all day long
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don't download this song

Don't take away money from artists just like me
How else can I afford another solid gold Hum-Vee
And diamond-studded swimming pools
These things don't grow on trees
So all I ask is, "Everybody, please..."

Don't donwload this song (Don't do it, no, no)
Even Lars Ulrich knows it's wrong (You can just ask him)
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should (You really should)
Oh, don't download this song

Don't donwload this song (Oh please, don't you do it)
Or you might wind up in jail like Tommy Chong (Remember Tommy)
Go and buy the CD (Right now) like you know that you should (Go out and buy it)
Oh, don't download this song

Don't download this song (No, no, no, no, no, no)
You'll burn in hell before too long (and you'll deserve it)
Go and buy the CD (Just buy it) like you know that you should (You cheap bastard)
Oh, don't download this song

Launder? (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449032)

Have I missed something? Why would someone who downloaded their music want to "launder" it? Maybe in world where we are forced to prove that our music was legally obtained, but I have not heard of anyone being put in that situation.

Re:Launder? (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449818)

Agree, and I would like to add, if you downloaded you music, you can still be sued for that regardless if you "legalized" it somehow. Except than now, you can also be sued to falsely claim that you owned the music when uploading it.

All you have with iCloud, is a little bit more chance than some copyright holder will want to have a closer look at your collection.

o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (2, Interesting)

haxwk (2268722) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449068)

This iCloud thing (haven't heard much about it, I don't follow apple products) just sounds like a way for Apple to legally collect information on stupid music pirates (and probably who has ripped back-ups on their computer) that they can sell to record companies. It's like Steve Jobs saw the South Park episode "Human CentiPad" and figured it would be a good idea to coax people into unknowingly agreeing to let Apple screw over. This program is going to scan your files with the pretense that everything is legal. But of course if it finds anything that doesn't have a proper license it's probably illegal, and therefore Apple would be "inclined" to report to the authorities.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (4, Interesting)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449148)

I'd be shocked if that were the case. I think that this is really just a way for Apple to reduce storage costs. They've got this great new data center, but they don't want to fill it up with 500 copies of every song in their music library, encoded in all different formats and bitrates.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449166)

This iCloud thing (haven't heard much about it, I don't follow apple products) just sounds like a way for Apple to legally collect information on stupid music pirates (and probably who has ripped back-ups on their computer) that they can sell to record companies. It's like Steve Jobs saw the South Park episode "Human CentiPad" and figured it would be a good idea to coax people into unknowingly agreeing to let Apple screw over. This program is going to scan your files with the pretense that everything is legal. But of course if it finds anything that doesn't have a proper license it's probably illegal, and therefore Apple would be "inclined" to report to the authorities.

So, by your rationale, if I bought a CD, ripped it to iTunes (all legal so far) and then had iCloud "scan"my library, they would tell the record companies that my ripped (and legally bought) copy of the album, in fact isn't legal, because it wasn't purchased form iTunes?

Next time, read the subject matter that is being discussed, b/c your point it totally invalid.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (0)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449352)

Ah, but buying that copy of the album doesn't entitle you to rip a copy. You licensed a CD version of the album, not a data file. The media company would want to be able to sell you a second copy (possibly at a bit of a discount so as to seem less ridiculous) for your MP3 player.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449620)

Laws differ for each country. And if it was such a big problem for the media companies, CD ripping would have disappeared from iTunes in earlier versions.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (2)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450026)

In the United Kingdom, making a private copy of copyrighted media without the copyright owner's consent is illegal: this includes ripping music from a CD to a computer or digital music player.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/6457369.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449994)

Um.Actually, you are wrong! It is completely legal to copy any music that you have "licensed", that is why CD burners and MP3 rippers are not illegal, the only thing that is illegal is to copy the music and give it to someone else. That is why pirates get busted and not just anyone who owns an mp3 player. I mean if it were illegal to rip MP3s from a CD that one legally purchased then I would be in big trouble because I don't buy MP3s I rip them from CDs and records that I already "licensed". So, before you go and make ridiculous statements like copying music is illegal please actually know something about the law. :p

Thanks, and have a nice day.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (1)

srh2o (442608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450156)

The record companies disagree with you. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios v. Grokster Ltd. http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/04-480.pdf [supremecourt.gov] "The record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it's been on their Website for some time now, that it's perfectly lawful to take a CD that you've purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod."

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (1)

haxwk (2268722) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449396)

My argument simply stems from my distrust of cloud computing. You're right that what I'm talking about doesn't have much to do with the actual article, I was just talking about the idea of iCloud in general. And I already said I don't know much about iCloud or what it actually does. I just know that Apple is not going to launder music for people. If there's some way to verify a file's licensing, they will. And if some kind of incriminating information comes up from checking these files, Apple is going to definitely take advantage of it. It's the equivalent of letting a cop into your home just talk and then him busting you because he found something illegal. And he would have every right to; in fact, he would see it as his "duty". I'm just saying that it's probably not a good idea to let Apple anywhere near the pirated music you may have on your computer.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449496)

How can they check for a file's licensing? I may have bought an MP3 file from Amazon (messing with the metadata, which I can do, will screw up the signature of the file), I may have downloaded it from "another source" (random website, P2P, Torrent, etc), I may have ripped it from a CD that I borrowed and I may have ripped it from a CD that I bought.

There's also plenty of CD-ripping software out there, so there would be thousands of valid file signatures, even if you limit your search to "legal rip from purchased CDs". Different metadata also screws up the signatures, so it's basically impossible to distinguish legal files from non-legal ones.

The only thing that I know for sure is that all the tracks I downloaded from OverClocked ReMix won't be upgraded to AAC@256kbps.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (1)

haxwk (2268722) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449630)

Is it even legal to alter the data of a licensed file? If Apple were to use the metadata to identify the file, then changing that metadata could be seen as a form of "circumventing copy-protection software". I'm not saying this is reasonable at all. But I'm sure that most /.ers are aware of some of the exploitation of vaguely defined laws that goes on in copyright court. If it's possible, and it generates profit, then there's reason to fear it.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449706)

The only thing that iTunes won't let you do is re-encode an older 128kbps, DRM'ed iTunes-bought file into another format such as MP3. But you can still burn to an audio CD. If they wanted to prevent the alteration of the metadata of a licensed file, iTunes would be the first program to block it.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449178)

They can't verify that you did not rip from a CD you own.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449182)

That's exactly what I thought. Apple most likely has already made a deal with MAFIAA et. al. that whenever Apple runs into tags like "riPpeD by AsTROturF" it's a definite proof that it's an unlicensed copy and they'll submit the tags, filename and the person the files belong to to MAFIAA. Most people don't realize that these rippers almost always leave a tag of their own behind for some unfathomable reason, and thus when these people upload their files somewhere they're just exposing themselves to legal proceedings.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449578)

step 1. get foobar2000, load up any music you own, open file properties, delete extraneous meta tags. (hell empty out the comments tag if you're really paranoid).

step 2. save.

step 3. breathe a sigh of relief. nobody can prove where anything you own came from as it no longer has any identifying tags and the file size is now different than any existing pirated copy.

you can even do it on every file at once if you're careful about which tags you modify.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449224)

The computer can't see the difference between a tune that you downloaded from some random website/via P2P/torrent , a tune you bought from a competing service, a tune one ripped from a CD you borrowed and a tune ripped from a CD you bought.

And since users can mess with the metadata, you can't use those to detect anything either.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (4, Insightful)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449700)

This will not happen.

News flash: Steve Jobs is very, very good at business.

Getting your clients sued for 100 times their net worth is very, very, very bad for business.

QED.

Re:o hai, it's just me, Big Brother (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449950)

How would they tell whather or not it "had a valid license"? (I put that in quotes becuse I don't license music, I buy CDs). It isn't illegal to rip my CDs and store them on my hard drive or play them on an MP3 player, and the numbers burned into a copied CD are exactly the same numbers as the numbers on the factory CD it was copied from.

And I have a boatload of analog music, both LPs and CDs, that I sample and burn on CDs. There's nothing illegal or immoral about that -- I paid for the LPs and cassettes and the use of the content already. And some CDs that were originally recorded in analog and remastered for CD sound like utter crap; a Led Zeppelin Presence CD burned from an unscratched LP sampled from a high end turntable will have better frequency response, separation, and dynamics (especially the dynamics) despite the fact that CDs are capable of superior dynamics and separation than LPs. The guy from the band Boston really blasted the digital mix of their first album, last I heard he was re-mixing it. The CD of that album is REALLY short on dynamics, which seem to be completely missing on today's music (ironic since CDs are capable of better dynamics than analog).

I just don't see how they could tell if it was legal or not.

However, I personally see no use for iCloud; I have wifi, bluetooth, and cables so interdevice operability isn't a problem. I just can't see paying to have someone else store my digits when on-site storage is so cheap.

Can this possibly be secure? (4, Interesting)

Zone-MR (631588) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449084)

So let's get this straight... iTunes will allow you to replace a pirated copy of your music with an official download, presumably identifying the original track based on audio fingerprinting and/or file hashes.

I can't think of any way in which this could be designed not to be broken. I'm expecting people will quickly figure out a way to trade hashes/fingerprints, bypassing the requirement to even bother downloading a pirated copy. Or maybe if the threshold is low enough we'll get a Shazam-like app - that records snippets of music then presents them to iTunes as a ripped track for replacing with a HQ version.

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (1)

sgbett (739519) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449172)

And Apple bills each of those users $25 per year...

Thats the whole point. The new music model is not pay per $file, it's charging by association. They (apple) don't care whether you listen to 1 tune or a million. Provided you pay your annual fee.

Of course they run a side business in making it pretty easy/convenient to get whatever tune you want added to your 'available library' for just cents. They've priced it to the point where ill often just buy instead of going to the trouble of scouring newsgroups for a decent copy.

Seems to be working pretty well for them, and the record industry *still* hasn't caught on. Talk about stupid...

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (1)

JeremyBanks (1036532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449214)

AFAIK it doesn't let you download the song, it just lets your stream it, if you pay an annual fee.

A bit less abusable.

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (1)

Zone-MR (631588) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449272)

According to the announcement, once music is added to iCloud it can be downloaded onto iTunes and mobile devices, in DRM-free 256kbps AAC format. They don't support streaming.

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449324)

"The haven't announced yet whether their future unreleased service will, at launch or at some point in the future, support streaming."

FTFY

They may well not support it on day one - Apple has a long history of playing it relatively safe on release-day. They probably will support it at some point in the future, because its both an obvious advantage and a reasonably trivial technical feat to do so. But that's nowhere near as sensational/interesting a comment, is it?

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449448)

As I understood it. If you upload music and it can be matched to something that is sold in iTunes then it doesn't go towards your iCloud space. Nothing in relation to the legality of that file came up. If anything I would guess you are more likely to be found out using this part of the system.

The other part was the streaming service. It would read your local files and match them to files that are up in the iCloud. You can then stream those files for an annual fee. At the end of the fee you can no longer stream and you still have the same local files you started off with. If your local files are low quality you still get access to the high quality streams while paying for it.

So this allows the Music companies to get money from people who stole the music.

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449744)

No, it doesn't even get uploaded. It is probably based on just the meta data.

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (1)

b.emile (1222958) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450102)

Wrong, Apple will let you download any track that it has "matched" in your library in 256 Kbps AAC, which should be quite abusable. See my response to the OP.

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449270)

i don't know how much of the cut the RIAA companies are getting but in this case it's more than $0

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (1)

dq5 studios (682179) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449430)

The RIAA are getting $150 million upfront and 56% of the $25/yr fee.

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449762)

I don't get this. Does anyone really think there's not an Apple database hosted in NC that will not contain a list of music you own if you use this service? It will list what you purchased, what was matched, and what was uploaded. Probably with hashes of each. One judge's order and you'll have to justify your "acquired" music.

That said, I don't care, and will still use the service.

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449948)

Sigh.

Basically if you really want to go this route, bulk convert all your mp3s to 32k thus destroying any hash/watermarks/etc checks that are on your pirated music, then use apple's icloud service to get a fresh new copy.

Why would you want to? Beats me. Who cares if it's 256k.

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (1)

b.emile (1222958) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450058)

Assuming it's based on what they purchased from LaLa, it's fairly trivial to get them to give you a good copy of an arbitrary track. I tried this when LaLa debuted their "cloud music service", which would scan your library, matching tracks by, as far as I could tell, tags only. I took a random MP3 file, re-tagged it to a track that I didn't own, and ran the Lala scanner. Sure enough, it showed up on Lala as a track that I owned and could listen to an unlimited number of times online. Of course at that point Lala didn't let you re-download matched tracks as Apple will, so it was limited. But I'm forced to assume that if you have the patience, you could get Apple to give you 256Kbps MP3s of albums you don't actually own.

Re:Can this possibly be secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36450114)

It's worse than that. It's reported Apple use ID3 tags to do so. Presumably I edit the ID3 tags on any MP3 and watch Apple place a legit copy in iCloud for me. Very exploitable.

We are not the target demographic (2)

jijacob (943393) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449096)

256kbps aac is definitely higher quality than most people would ever need, and professionally ripped audio tracks are probably better quality than what most of the target demographic for this feature will have. Apple is not aiming at the few on private trackers that download flac of V0 MP3s.

Re:We are not the target demographic (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449684)

Sadly, you are probably 100% correct.

Most of the target demographic probably isn't even really sure what "256kbps" means only that it's higher than what they have now, and "higher means it sounds better, right"?

Luckily, 256kbps AAC (when done right, which we have no proof apple is doing of course) sounds transparent to the vast majority of listeners on the vast majority of songs, even on good equipment. the fact that most of the target demographic is probably listening on stock civic speakers with a 500w subwoofer, or even (god forbid) the stock white earbuds, they probably couldn't tell the difference between 256kbps and

I wonder if it's true CBR 256kbps or if apple is actually leveraging the power of a modern codec and doing something like Q 0.66 VBR (~256kbps). I'm rather inclined to believe the former rather than the latter, even though there isn't a whole heck of a lot of a good reason for anybody to use CBR for anything anymore (use ABR if you absolutely must have a target file size for some random reason).

Re:We are not the target demographic (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450028)

256kbps aac is definitely higher quality than most people would ever need, and professionally ripped audio tracks are probably better quality than what most of the target demographic for this feature will have

That depends on your definition of "most". How encompassing is that, exactly? Those who like to listen to Jazz and high hats don't really like the sound of crushed glass (which is one of the most common artefacts of MP3s, and one of the hardest to avoid).

As for "professionally ripped", do you think that Apple hires audio engineers to do the ripping, or do you think they set up an automated ripping program and let a minimum wage slave feed it CDs?

Anyhow, 256 kbps is just silly. The file size difference between 256 and 320 is so small that you might as well go with 320. 1 hour of music will grow from ~113 MB to ~140 MB. Even with the smallest MP3 players of today (2 GB), that means fitting 17 hour-long albums instead of 14.
I do not think that difference will cause anyone to not buy from the service - I expect that the number of people who will avoid the service because they can't get 320 or FLAC is going to be higher.

I don't think this is the studio's real concern (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449122)

I would bet that the studios aren't nearly as concerned with any faux legitimacy this gives to already pirated songs as they are with the possibility of users sharing username/passwords for their iCloud accounts (sharing their entire music collections en masse). Jimmy re-downloading a song he's already ripped isn't nearly as bad for business as Jimmy sharing his 8,000 song music collection with all his friends.

Re:I don't think this is the studio's real concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449238)

I'm pretty sure that you are limited to about 10 devices that can be associated with a single iCloud account. So people will have to be more clever than just handing around usernames and passwords.

Sounds like a good deal, IMO... (3, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449336)

As a non-"Audiophile", but someone who appreciates decent quality rips, I can see a simple enough use for this...

Downloaded tracks often have questionable origins and quality - I've heard things that someone clearly recorded straight off FM radio, complete with censoring bleeps; Songs that sounded almost like they'd come from vinyl (hisses and pops); Songs that fade in and out at random; Songs with tags that look like a native speaker of 1337 just discovered the wonders of Unicode.

Now personally, if I like a track enough to care about any of the above, I'll just buy the album (not just a CYA comment - I violate copyrights not only shamelessly, but with outright pride; I very much believe in supporting artists I like, however). But as a way of converting a crappy rip into a nice shiny clean reasonably HQ and properly tagged file? My music library contains somewhere on the order of 30k files; I'd gladly pay $25 to replace all the crap automagically.

Re:Sounds like a good deal, IMO... (1)

Snocone (158524) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449522)

> My music library contains somewhere on the order of 30k files; I'd gladly pay $25 to replace all the crap automagically.

One note here, it seems from initial reports that your $25 gets you 20k songs max. I would suspect that's probably a licensing limitation, along the lines of iTunes allowing you to only burn 5 copies of a playlist to CD back in the day.

Still, I'm with you, $25/yr to keep more music than I can plausibly listen to in adequate for mobile quality handy in the cloud sure strikes me as a massively worthwhile deal for time saved compared to backing up and syncing to my half-dozen iDevices myself; and I'm pretty darn sure it's likely to strike a lot of other iDevice users the same way. Even leaving completely aside the whole amnesty debate.

Re:Sounds like a good deal, IMO... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449674)

There is a flipside to this of course; many CDs produced containing older music are low quality transfers of tape masters made 30+ years ago, I've hit quite a few "home made" transfers that have quite amazing sound quality simply because the hobbyist sound engineer took the time to lovingly bring back some great music from near death.

Re:Sounds like a good deal, IMO... (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449942)

It's true that the initial mp3 ripped more than six years ago were fairly low quality. The stuff that's available now is quite good quality (and some are ripped at rates too high to be of additional benefit).

I occasionally re-download stuff that I notice has skips in them. They're invariably songs that I had downloaded or personally ripped 6 or 7 years ago.

AAC? Meh. (0)

eager_b (1995278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449506)

I get that I can replace my huge collection of VBR MP3s with nice shiny 256K AACs. Since I am one of the few people in the world who does not own an Apple music player, however, why would I want to?

Re:AAC? Meh. (1)

LoganDzwon (1170459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449894)

iTunes music is 256kbps ABR AAC. You didn't mention your bit rate, so I'll assume you have 256kbps VBR mp3 encoded in LAME. AAC is a little better quality them MP3 at the same bit-rate. At the time old iTunes DRMed 128kbps AAC files were generally comparable to 192kbps MP3s. For info; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding#AAC.27s_improvements_over_MP3 [wikipedia.org] However, 256kbps VBR lame encoded MP3s are not going to sound any different then 256kbps ABR AAC. Also, I think your confused. AAC is not an Apple thing. It is an industry standard. Every digital music player I can think of plays AACs. To answer your question though, if you don't use iTunes, don't have any iOS devices, then you'd get nothing out this service.

Pirate is defined as ... (1)

mix77 (1114879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449896)

What?

Don't Fall For It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449986)

It's a trap! They'll run reports to find the users with the most "upgraded" songs and will cross-reference each song's fingerprint hash or md5sums to fabricate a piracy timeline of which users have identical illegal songs and build a picture of how pirated songs proliferate; ready to show to a paid-for judge.

Article Author is a giant FAIL (1)

Greymoon (834879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450002)

Any article that has the phrase "who illegally download music" as part of it's mantra is a FAIL. Downloading music is not illegal. Distributing copyrighted material without permission/license or ownership of said material is illegal. Get it right David Glance, Director Centre for Software Practice at University of Western Australia or STFU. Your bullshit don't fly.
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