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Bruce Willis Considering Legal Action Against Apple Over iTunes Collection

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the yippie-ka-yay dept.

Media 570

First time accepted submitter oobayly writes "It appears that Bruce 'Die Hard' Willis isn't too impressed that he can't include his iTunes collection in his estate when he dies. According to the article: 'Bruce Willis, the Hollywood actor, is said to be considering legal action against Apple so he can leave his iTunes music collection to his three daughters.' Such a high profile individual complaining about the ability to own your digital music can only be a good thing, right?"

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570 comments

It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (4, Insightful)

harryfeet (2721737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214065)

I'm quite sure Steve Jobs would have given everyone as much access to their own content as they wanted, but that it is actually the record labels and/or RIAA demanding these rules.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214141)

lol yea sure he would have, the same douche that would flip bits in an os installer so you had to buy a new computer if you wanted to run the newest SUB VERSION of the same os you already had would have let you keep your i-tunes collection and forgo all those extra sales.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214313)

Yeah he was such a douche he even made the music DRM free. Idiot.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214395)

Yeah he was such a douche he even made the music DRM free. Idiot.

...as long as you don't want your estate to have access to it. This story is about the ultimate Digital Rights Management, your right to own what you paid for and do with it as you see fit.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214463)

According to the article, the music is apparently NOT DRM free. If it were, this wouldn't be a problem.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214537)

Read it again. It is DRM free, but it's not license free and the license says you can't transfer ownership.

They can copy the files, but it's illegal.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214253)

I'm quite sure that the thought didn't even enter Steve's head. It was never his problem. He was in the business of selling appliances. Content was the hook to sell hardware. It's not that complicated.

That his customers were short-sighted enough not to consider that DRM-protected content is non-transferable, was a bonus.

Contrary to customer reports, Steve was not a saint. He was a businessman.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (5, Insightful)

siride (974284) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214345)

I don't see how taking advantage of other people's stupidity doesn't still make you an asshole.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214441)

I don't see how taking advantage of other people's stupidity doesn't still make you an asshole.

It's one of the primary definitions of "asshole".

But what's really unique and forward-thinking is doing it in such a way that people build shrines to you.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (1)

kd6ttl (1016559) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214369)

Maybe "Content was the hook to sell hardware" was true at one time, but nowadays it goes both ways.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214423)

What, really? Seriously, there are people who look at the latest ipods and go

"I just gotta have me one a those"

"What for, Mel?"

"Dunno. It's so sleek and purty"

...and then go out and look for the latest Justin Bieber track to put on it?

...ok now that I think about it, maybe it does happen on that. I weep for us.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (3, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214305)

Yeah, St. Steve would never do anything bad.

It's Apple Enforcing Their Agreement with the RIAA (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214307)

I'm quite sure Steve Jobs would have given everyone as much access to their own content

I think Apple does give people access to their "own content" as much as they want. If you write a song and record it in garage band, you're pretty much free to do whatever you want with it. The problem here is that Willis has purchased songs digitally (probably a lot of them) and now in his mind this is equivalent to him buying vinyl records and compact discs. The problem now is that this license for listening to music was sold to him and the enforcement of this license is quite unfavorable to the consumer -- there is no second sale, there is no inheritance, there is no transferability period.

as they wanted, but that it is actually the record labels and/or RIAA demanding these rules.

You are more than correct but what you fail to understand is that the RIAA did not do business with Willis. The RIAA did business with Apple and Apple did business with Willis. Willis is going after the correct party here because something was sold to him and he had misunderstood the agreement that he signed -- the same one everyone has to "sign" every time the iTunes software is even updated. I've bitched about this so many times on Slashdot [slashdot.org] but I think that Willis is going to lose when it comes to down to the ToS. Although, I do not remove the blame entirely from Apple because their sales technique and the public understanding of their 'product' is largely misguided if not lying. The public thinks they are purchasing the same thing they did when they bought a CD but now it's digital, it's smaller, compact, more elegant, etc. But that's not true, you're missing a whole bunch of rights that came with buying a CD including the ability to pass a single copy of the CD on to your daughter or liquidate it in the estate sale. At anytime Apple can revoke your right to listen to this CD and I still buy physical copies of music for many reasons -- this being one of them.

I'm the sure the RIAA would have loved to dispatch a gestapo to your estate sale and destroy your vinyl and cassettes when someone died but they didn't. And that meant that these things retained value. Now that they're on the "iCloud" or whatever, they can do that without looking like Nazis so they definitely will and Apple won't have any say in the matter. Don't give Apple a free pass though, they're laughing all the way to the bank as you sign a ToS explaining how your rights are diminutive compared to physical media yet you spend like you're buying a physical entity.

Buy physical media, extract it to your computer and then shelve it. Otherwise you need to understand that what you're "buying" from Apple or Amazon or whomever is non-transferable and at the very least temporary in that you are mortal.

Re:It's Apple Enforcing Their Agreement with the R (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214399)

is non-transferable and at the very least temporary in that you are mortal.

Can a corporation purchase these licenses, and can the corporation be transfered to other relatives?

The DMCA allows non-mortal 'beings' to hold copyright and transfer it indefinately, why should corporeal beings be at a disadvantage when it comes to the same thing.

Re:It's Apple Enforcing Their Agreement with the R (1)

tooyoung (853621) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214435)

Don't give Apple a free pass though, they're laughing all the way to the bank as you sign a ToS explaining how your rights are diminutive compared to physical media yet you spend like you're buying a physical entity.

I'm certainly not going to give them a free pass. Rather, I'm going to spend my money at other retailers of RIAA music, like Google and Amazon, who do allow me to pass on my purchases to my family. Oh, wait they don't.

Re:It's Apple Enforcing Their Agreement with the R (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214513)

Pirate Bay it is then. You can re-download as many times as you need to and you can pass it on without a problem.

Re:It's Apple Enforcing Their Agreement with the R (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214521)

The problem here is that Willis has purchased songs digitally (probably a lot of them) and now in his mind this is equivalent to him buying vinyl records and compact discs

No. You seem to understand the problem at some level, but you are presenting it very sloppily and inaccurately.

The problem is that he didn't purchase at all. Whether it was digital or not, is completely irrelevant.

The public thinks they are purchasing the same thing they did when they bought a CD but now it's digital

CDs are digital too. When you inaccurately present the difference as "digital" then you miss what is really happening: lack of a sale. "Digital" is not the word you're looking for; "buy" is.

Buy physical media, extract it to your computer and then shelve it.

I agree, but only because non-physical media is not yet for sale, or only rarely. If they ever start selling (as opposed to licensing) files, that will be just as good (except for the lack of a "free backup included").

He purchased. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214557)

Even if you go all bollocks and say "he just purchased a license", then those licenses are part of the estate.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (4, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214339)

But as a consumer, you're not dealing with the RIAA directly. Your licensing agreement is with Apple, so I believe they're the people you would need to sue. If Apple is forced to change the terms of their licensing, then it falls back to them to negotiate terms with the record labels and deal with the fallout.

Personally, I'd like to see an overhaul of copyright law to deal with the realities of digital content, instead of hacking through it piecemeal on a case-by-case basis. I guess that won't happen, though.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214381)

Interesting.
I just had a debate with another slashdotter (bws111) about authors' rights. I said when an author like JRR Tolkien dies, his heirs should no longer get paid, because the kids are not the ones who did the work. Only the original laborer should receive money.

The other slashdotter said the Author's kids should be paid. I wonder how he feels about iTunes songs? I suspect he wold be opposed to the idea that songs can be passed generation-to-generation because it would cut into his earnings. And also:

Because I've found authors/artists often expect their work should continue receiving money for 110 years (almost six generations), but they want to terminate the customer's use of the work as soon as possible. Like ten if they could get away with it. It's an unfair and double standard.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (2)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214501)

The problem with the concept of "stop payments to the estate as soon as the original author dies" is that it creates an incentive to cause an early death to authors to get their products for free. Thus the idea to either couple the term to the date of first publication or to extend the terms long enough after the death of the author to make it unprofitable to send out the killer squads.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (2)

Morty (32057) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214543)

Both the rights and the content should be inheritable. The rights because they are part of the incentive for authors -- if the author dies young, the author wants his/her family to be provided for. The content because it's just like any other property from an inheritance and trasnferrence perspective, with the sole proviso that it cannot be *copied*.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (1, Flamebait)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214409)

Are we talking about the same Steve Jobs? The most famous ass in the entire world of tech and all-time champion of locked and proprietary software?
If anyone in the entire world would willingly lock down user's rights it would be Apple and Steve Jobs.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (0)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214493)

Are we talking about the same Steve Jobs? The most famous ass in the entire world of tech and all-time champion of locked and proprietary software? If anyone in the entire world would willingly lock down user's rights it would be Apple and Steve Jobs.

And you have any evidence for that? By evidence I mean things that don't get torn apart in a millisecond by anyone with a brain? MacOS X _still_ doesn't have any protection that prevents you from running copies on any number of Macs you want.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (4, Informative)

CapuchinSeven (2266542) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214515)

Yes. The same Steve Jobs that said he wanted music in iTunes DRM free and then managed to make it happen. That one.

Re:It's not iTunes or Apple, it's RIAA (5, Funny)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214553)

Are we talking about the same Steve Jobs? The most famous ass in the entire world of tech

Indeed, you have to wonder who designed his slacks.

It is licensing, not the RIAA (2)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214455)

No, it's iTunes. When I buy music through means other than iTunes (CDs), some of those labels are RIAA members too, but they have done nothing to prevent me from transferring the CDs. Thus, it's an iTunes problem, not a publisher problem.

It sounds like the mistake Willis made, is that he's licensing music instead of buying it. I have never licensed any music and never will. I'll switch to piracy if they ever stop selling. The good news is that even as late as 2012, music is still for sale. They aren't telling paying customers to fuck off, yet.

But they do offer the "fuck yourself" option to foolish customers, and it looks like Willis took the bait. Avoid iTunes and similar services, buy music like you always have, and you'll avoid this problem.

It isn't about the music... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214083)

It's about sending a message.

Good for him.

Nonsense (0)

trancemission (823050) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214105)

If he fails - the masses will except it....

PR much?

Re:Nonsense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214167)

Accept, not except. Learn to English, faggot.

Re:Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214235)

Perhaps English is not the poster's first or even second language - in my case it is the fourth language I learned. This is a site for nerds, not for English majors. So there is no need to insult him.

BTW: learning Latin might be more useful in the case of "except" vs. "accept", the ancient Romans had prior art.

Re:Nonsense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214321)

Their are more important things than English speaking. Learn to except it in you're life.

Re:Nonsense (2)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214471)

Maybe he meant it like this:

try:
        sue(Apple)
except:
        masses(Bruce is not almighty)

Soooo... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214107)

... we have finally found a socially beneficial use for a cheesy action movie star. Now let's find one for bankers ...

Re:Soooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214231)

... we have finally found a socially beneficial use for a cheesy action movie star. Now let's find one for bankers ...

We have: fertilizer. Works a treat - my garden never looked so lush.

In 15 years time music wont operate this way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214109)

So building a large collection with Apple will basically be a right off, in financial terms.

I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214117)

iTunes music has no DRM. You can do anything you want with it.

Re:I don't understand (2)

malkavian (9512) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214143)

No DRM, just 5 "installs"? Hmm.. Sounds like DRM to me....

Re:I don't understand (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214213)

He means the music itself you chucklefuck. To download the music you might have to get the application that lets you download it. Not a big stretch.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214481)

Wow. What a fucking retard.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214577)

... just 5 "installs"? Hmm.. Sounds like DRM to me....

There is no such restriction on the music downloads.

Re:I don't understand (4, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214375)

Not having DRM and being licensed for you to do anything you want with it are entirely separate concepts.

Re:I don't understand (0)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214535)

iTunes music has no DRM. You can do anything you want with it.

I just have to reply to this. I don't know what f-ing idiot modded this down to 0, but it is exactly the same thought I have.

EVERY single song I have downloaded in the past 3+ years from iTunes has been synced to my Linux DVR and plays there just fine.

I really don't get this issue. I know digital inheritance rights is trending right now, but with music its already game over for the record companies.

All the music I have is DRM free, I can play it on multiple platforms, I can make (and this is important) backup copies of it. And I can give it away.

Its just like physical media. I own the song now, I can put it on whatever machines I want, but if I lose it, then its gone. Just like a CD or a record. The fact that I can make perfect copies make it harder to lose. Its actually gracious of Apple to let me redownload a song if I lose it.

Now, I would actually love to see this issue expanded into movies and music videos. Those come with DRM and I do NOT buy those from iTunes for exactly that reason. This issue IS a problem where movies and videos are concerned. Movies and videos need to be DRM free too.

Re:I don't understand (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214545)

Don't some people still have the DRM music?

As I recall you had to pay extra for the + versions and even then when it all went DRM free, some tracks were not available and the ones that were had to pay a few cents extra for.

DRM free (5, Informative)

mkraft (200694) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214129)

iTunes music is DRM free. He doesn't need to sue to leave it to his daughters.

TV and movies (5, Informative)

kenorland (2691677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214157)

iTunes TV shows and movies, however, are locked up with DRM and can't be transferred.

Re:TV and movies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214275)

I wonder how much of that DRM'd content is his own. That's an angle that I hoped would be explored someday: That a company's DRM might put a cryptographic lock between you and YOUR OWN creative work. What happens when you are forbidden by law to copy something that you actually own all rights to?

Re:TV and movies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214337)

I doubt he owns all rights to any of the TV and movie he's appeared in. It's not like Moonlighting or Die Hard didn't have huge backers.

Re:TV and movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214277)

summary (and article) says the issue is music, no mention of tv shows and movies.

Re:DRM free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214311)

He can't leave it to his daghters in the legal sense; as in leaving it to them in his will. That is what I think he's suing over - and maybe use his movie star money to help the rest of us out in challenging this "you're really borrowing the song" clause in the iTunes agreement.

Re:DRM free (1)

DMiax (915735) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214341)

As I understand it what he wants and he cannot do per license is to write in the testament that he is leaving it to the daughters.

Re:DRM free (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214387)

The files being DRM free, and the license being fully transferrable to anyone to do as they will with are entirely separate concepts. Linux is DRM free, that doesn't mean I can distribute a binary copy of it and refuse to give out the source.

Re:DRM free (1)

nine-times (778537) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214405)

Well first, there are some tracks that Apple never made DRM-free, but I suppose that's a minor issue. Also, while being DRM-free allows you more freedom on a practical level, leaving those tracks to your family members may still violate the license, and therefore be illegal. You might say, "who cares?" but maybe Mr. Willis wants to make a point, and has the money to do so.

Personally, I feel like digital content occupies a very murky area of "property" that needs to be cleared up and fixed. I'll be glad if this forces some kind of a legal resolution on whether you really own these things, or whether the media companies will have to come out and explicitly say that their marketing is deceptive, and you aren't really buying anything when you "buy" digital content.

Re:DRM free (2)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214411)

I'm guessing he's doing it on principle, as he doesn't want his daughters to formally be criminals. If I was rich I would also use my money to help fight for principles, and I don't think that's a bad thing, I'm not sure why you think that's a bad thing. When someone fights for principles you attack them? That's low man.

Re:DRM free (2)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214477)

Yes he does. DRM-free just means you can make copies. It doesn't mean you can transfer ownership. Yes, Scout, Rumer, and Tallulah (!) can go to Dad's computer and copy his iTunes files, but those copies would be illegal and grounds for prosecution.

"purchased music is only borrowed" (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214139)

Bullshit. He owns the copies on his 'pod and can transfer it to whoever the hell he wants. What he does not own is the right to create more copies. That is what he needs a license for and that is what copyright is about.

Re:"purchased music is only borrowed" (5, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214469)

Copyright isn't the issue per se here. The restriction on copying here is a legal hack used to induce customers into buying a package of rights, which constitute a lot of the convenience of digital formats (no more carrying boxes of tapes car). What is at stake is passing on that package of rights, not the copy.

True, he could buy an iPod for each of his daughters, put his entire music collection on each iPod and leave it to them that way. He could even burn audio CDs and do it that way. But they wouldn't have the *rights* package he paid for. They could not legally transfer those copies to their own iPhones, a right *he* enjoys. They're back to carrying, not a box of tapes but a box of devices.

This really is a fascinating question, because no matter what is decided, one side comes out with more and the other less, than what they'd have got under the traditional analog scenarios. When music was on vinyl, giving that record to another person in effect transferred the rights to listen to the music, but the utility of that right degraded with the physical copy.every time the record was played. Thus you might well have inherited a copy of the Beatles *White Album* from your parents, but if you want to listen to the music regularly there's a good chance you've bought a digital copy. The physical album probably stays on the shelf and comes down only for special occasions.

If iTunes rights cannot be inherited, Mr Willis can't leave his offspring something he has paid for and enjoys. If they *can* he leaves them perpetual utility and the next generation sale won't be made. Of course maybe that's a good thing, given perpetual copyright extension.

Hmmm (1)

archieaa (961120) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214151)

It would seem that Die Hard meets Die Hard Drive Die. We've gone from you can't take it with you to you MUST take it with you, Ah Progress......

Makes sense (1)

DMiax (915735) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214161)

For centuries public/important figures have donated huge libraries to universities and other cultural institution or created foundations to manage their estate for the public good. It makes no sense that this opportunity disappears as we move toward digital content. Unless we go back to sane copyright terms and stuff starts to become public domain again, that is.

Oh please! Is this guy that hard up for attention? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214165)

He 'spent thousands of dollars on digital music'? Great, now he can spent hundreds of hours converting them to mp3s.

Re:Oh please! Is this guy that hard up for attenti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214283)

Less than hundreds of hours to convert them to MP3... assuming $0.99/tune he's got thousands of tunes. A program like dbPowerAmp can transcode to MP3 at over 100X (processing four at a time with a quad-core machine) so you're looking at tens of hours.

Re:Oh please! Is this guy that hard up for attenti (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214403)

He 'spent thousands of dollars on digital music'? Great, now he can spent hundreds of hours converting them to mp3s.

Typical slashdotter with the attention span of a gnat. Any music purchased on iTunes can be copied easily (you can completely legally remove all DRM that may have been on some music years ago by upgrading for something like $0.30 per song, or by using iTunes Match). The problem is to transfer _legal ownership_ of the music he purchased to his heirs.

Apart from that, it doesn't take even a minute to tell my Mac to convert all my about 18,000 or so songs in AAC format to MP3. The Mac will admittedly take a while to do so, but who cares?

Before the FUD and anti Apple rants gets posted (2, Interesting)

EGSonikku (519478) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214179)

ITunes music has been DRM free since 2009.

http://www.macworld.com/article/1137946/itunestore.html [macworld.com]

So he can't be bothered to just copy his music out of iTunes and do whatever he wants with it?

This sounds more like he wants to leave his iTunes *account* to his estate. It also sounds like he didn't read the iTunes Terms of Service before he agreed to it. Doesn't seem to me Apple is being the "bad guy" here, at least no more than 99.99% of every company out there, as an account you make is for YOU, I've never seen anyone else that allows you to transfer your account to someone else either.

Re:Before the FUD and anti Apple rants gets posted (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214303)

Because a contract should supersede very ancient expectations that a library or catalog can be bequeathed to one's heirs. This is indeed a government of the lawyers, by the lawyers and for the lawyers. Yes, Apple certainly is on firm legal ground, but if you consider its actions, and the actions of all the other 99.99% of companies, well, I'd say we're dealing a with a pack of society-destroying sociopaths, all protected by concepts meant to protect an individual's liberty, and not apply liberty based on the size of the bank account.

Re:Before the FUD and anti Apple rants gets posted (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214431)

I've been thinking about this whole 'a corporation is a person' concept. Can it be used against them? Isn't one company owning another slavery? Buying out a company and selling off its assets murder and dismemberment?

Re:Before the FUD and anti Apple rants gets posted (1)

fa2k (881632) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214347)

So he can't be bothered to just copy his music out of iTunes and do whatever he wants with it?

That's what Apple claims is illegal and a breach of the licence he got for the files.

Re:Before the FUD and anti Apple rants gets posted (1)

pla (258480) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214361)

So he can't be bothered to just copy his music out of iTunes and do whatever he wants with it?

What we can physically do, does not equal what we can legally do. You and I and 99% of Slashdot might not give two shakes of a rat's ass about what "they" will "let" us do, but you can't just leave blatantly illegal instructions in your will (and have them honored).

Also, iTunes contains more than just music these days, and their video content most assuredly does still have DRM.


More to the point, he probably doesn't really give a damn about his own collection, since fighting this battle will likely cost far more than just re-buying everything he has in his library three times over. I would have to suspect he wanted to pick a fight over what he perceives as an injustice, and "inheritance" gives him a possible standing to file suit.

So, you are saying that estate law governs? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214379)

Until your estate is divided up, your estate "is" you for most legal purposes. The executor is "your personal agent."

It sounds like state and federal estate law will/should trump any contract clause that says the account dies with the individual.

Absent specific estate law, I would think that most states have "case law" governing things like whether contracts partially or completely terminate on death and under what circumstances "terminate on death" clauses in contracts are or are not enforceable.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, but I've watched one on TV.

Re:Before the FUD and anti Apple rants gets posted (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214495)

ITunes music has been DRM free since 2009.

...

That's utterly irrelevant.

Just because it's "DRM-free" doesn't address the legal right to transfer ownership.

... Doesn't seem to me Apple is being the "bad guy" here, at least no more than 99.99% of every company out there, as an account you make is for YOU, I've never seen anyone else that allows you to transfer your account to someone else either.

Another swing and miss.

The question isn't about the account - it's about ownership of the content ON THE HOME COMPUTER after the account holder dies.

This is why you buy the CD instead (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214201)

Pragmatically, Bruce could afford to set a fund aside to re-purchase his library in one of his daughter's names, but I'm sure it's the principle of the thing, and in that respect he's right.

The moral of the story, something I discovered years ago, is that generally it's the terminally lazy and shortsighted who buy their music from itunes. Buy the real CD, import it into itunes, and it's yours forever. You even have a handy backup in the Tupperware bin in the closet. And your kids can get your entire music collection on a DRM-free hard drive that itunes will play, or a collection of cds that they can rip if they feel like it.

I understand, buying directly from itunes is often cheaper than buying a recent commercial CD. (With older music, of course, you can often buy the entire CD for the cost of a couple of tracks, but that's besides the point.) But one of the prices you pay for that discount is that the music is not yours. Oh, it might seem like it's yours, but try to give it away, and you find that it doesn't belong to you.

Re:This is why you buy the CD instead (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214271)

No, a CD is not equivalent to digital music. No one want to deal with CDs anymore.
That is why you torrent.

Re:This is why you buy the CD instead (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214367)

I don't torrent music.

Yes, it's easy and free and you can get more music than you could ever listen to in a relatively short time. But it's not worth it to me from a legal or moral standpoint.

But admittedly, that's easy for me to say -- I don't feel the need to buy the latest highly marketed CD at retail price. Pop music in particular tends to have a very short shelf life. Wait a few months (sometimes a few *weeks*) until the early adopters overplay their purchases, the shine is off the bauble, and titles start cropping up in bargain bins, severely discounted on amazon, or turn up at the dollar store. And the advantage of buying a CD for $1.99 is that if your research didn't pan out and it's junk, you don't feel as badly about giving it to your niece, or even throwing it away.

Re:This is why you buy the CD instead (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214327)

What if you only want one song off the album? That's when ITMS is a good option. Besides, it's DRM-free.

Re:This is why you buy the CD instead (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214465)

>>>What if you only want one song off the album?

Wait for the band or singer to release the inevitable Greatest Hits CD and buy that instead. That's what I do. Another option is to just rip if off youtube. (shhh)

Re:This is why you buy the CD instead (2)

nine-times (778537) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214429)

Pragmatically, Bruce could afford to set a fund aside to re-purchase his library in one of his daughter's names, but I'm sure it's the principle of the thing, and in that respect he's right.

Yeah, it really doesn't make a lot of sense unless he's trying to make a point. Obviously he doesn't like the way digital licensing works, and he's willing to pay some lawyers in order to raise awareness of the issue.

Re:This is why you buy the CD instead (1)

Intellectual Elitist (706889) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214539)

This is exactly what I do. It also has the advantage of letting you do the lossy compression on your own terms, so the resulting files don't automatically sound like shit.

Goblins = Apple, Bruce = Harry Potter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214205)

"All I am saying is to be very careful what you promise Apple, Bruce. It would be less dangerous to break into Gringotts than to renege on a licensing agreement with Apple."

Bruce Willis' Music? Really? (5, Funny)

No Grand Plan (975972) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214219)

I refuse to believe even he would want to inflict 'The Return of Bruno' on someone anymore...

Missing information. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214225)

Anyone know what fine print he is talking about?
It would be nice to see exactly what they do say.
Also to those who are saying that the RIAA forces Apple to do this, what is the text of the contract that they force iTunes to abide by when using their music?

Re:Missing information. (3, Informative)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214383)

The link is right there in TA:

http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html [apple.com]

However, having quickly scanned through it, I don't immediately see where it states the licenses are non-transferable (it does state that APP licenses are non-transferable, but this is a separate section to the music).

Different from real property (2)

fa2k (881632) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214227)

It's bizarre at first sight, but it does make sense to treat it differently than real property. Does he intend, for example, that each kid gets a copy? Copyright infringement, he got 3 for the price of 1. It would be "fair" if a single copy could be passed on, and I really hope that will be the law.

Does he have a stading to sue? (2)

pesho (843750) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214295)

I imagine his movies are distributed under the same restrictive license. Is he also trying to loosen up the cpyright restrictions on his creations?

Re:Does he have a stading to sue? (4, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214511)

Sssh! On the off-chance that he manages to win the case over the licensing of digital music, then there would be a clear legal precedent for digitally distributed TV shows and movies too. While the movie business might lag behind the music industry in terms of digital distribution, it is slowly getting there and some of us would like to actually own, as opposed to "rent" or "license", our digital media. Unless Bruce has the world's largest music collection by a considerable margin, he must know that legal fees are going to cost him more than the collection is worth, meaning this is about the principle of the thing, and he's got the money to take it quite some way. I'm getting some popcorn in; this could be the best thing to come out of Hollywood for years.

Well, good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214323)

Give him a handgun, a bloody shirt, some ducttape, and let him tear RIAApple an new one.

Coming to a theater near you (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214333)

Deep voiced Narrator: 'All he wanted, was for his daughters to know his song..'
    (cuts to bruce willis in a cab on a california road)
BW:"Snow white aint bitin this apple" (He drives the cab at full speed off a ramp through an apple building, accompanied by obligatory explosions and guitar riffs)
Narrator: "This summer....The fruit will fall from the tree..."

The title Bad Fruit flashes acrosses the screen and the torrentverse goes wild in August.

Good on him (2)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214357)

Sure, there are ways around it, but that is not the point.

If anything, it will make it clear that we don't own anything. That companies own everything we think belongs to us.

I applaud him for making this public.

Why not leave the ipods with the music? (1, Insightful)

ccguy (1116865) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214419)

Can't Bruce just leave the actual ipods with all the music on them?

It's not like once Apple hears about his death the ipods will self destroy...

Chuck Norris (4, Funny)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214461)

The only reason Bruce Willis and not Chuck Norris is sueing is that Chuck Norris CAN keep his iTunes collection in the family heirloom.....

Couple of questions (3, Interesting)

fikx (704101) | about a year and a half ago | (#41214489)

I wondered what he is trying to accomplish, end of the day if he left his collection to someone: Is he wanting to be able to transfer the collection from his account to his kids account? Does apple allow that ?
If someone used the export or whatever to get it out of iTunes as DRM free files, can those be added to someone else's collection? what's the difference between an "official" iTunes file and an mp3 or such?
Just curious, I've stayed away from iTunes for the most part myself....

Willis deserves to be ripped off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214527)

Look Who's Talking, Look Who's Talking Too, Hudson Hawk, ...

Simple cure : don't buy media via iTunes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41214565)

Buy or borrow or rent CDs and DVDs, and rip from them.

There is plenty of software out there which facilitates bypassing DRM.

But of court the truth is that most of you just want something else
to whine about so you can attempt to fill your futile useless empty lives.

Now if you excuse me I am going to go sailing, a pastime which I can afford
because I work instead of complain.

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