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Apple Hides Account Info in DRM-Free Music

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the tabs-keeping-tabs dept.

Music 669

Alvis Dark writes "Apple launched iTunes Plus earlier today, the fruit of its agreement with EMI to sell DRM-free music. What they didn't say is that all DRM-free tracks have the user's full name and account e-mail embedded in them. Is this to discourage people from throwing the tracks up on their favorite P2P platform? 'It would be trivial for iTunes to report back to Apple, indicating that "Joe User" has M4As on this hard drive belonging to "Jane Userette," or even "two other users." This is not to say that Apple is going to get into the copyright enforcement business. What Apple and indeed the record labels want to watch closely is, will one user buy music for his five close friends?'"

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Just like a used car (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327837)

There is always a little line written in 4 point at the bottom.

Re:Just like a used car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328015)

I've never purchased a used car with writing on it. Is this some new fad?

Perhaps you meant that it's just like "buying" a used car and having to sign all that paperwork?

Re:Just like a used car (1)

jswigart (1004637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328119)

4 point font saves bandwidth! Think of the tubes!

The advantage then of buying real CD's (3, Insightful)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327851)

Is that you can buy them and give them to your friends, whereas the music download sites seem to be headed toward preventing you from letting anyone else play your purchase.

Re:The advantage then of buying real CD's (4, Insightful)

furball (2853) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327963)

How does having my name associated with a file I paid for prevent my friends from playing my purchase?

Re:The advantage then of buying real CD's (3, Insightful)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328053)

If my name and itunes account info start showing up on music all over P2P sites, the evil RIAA may come knocking on my door.

Or for that matter, if I've got music my friend gave me in my library and itunes locks me out because I might be pirating music. It just depends on how much sucking up to the RIAA that Apple does.

Re:The advantage then of buying real CD's (5, Insightful)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328109)

So what happens when you just replace the name and email address? Or blank it out? Does the file not play? At best this might discourage casual copying or allow them to "punish" those who do it. It pretty obviously won't discourage anything, since they're not making it known and most "casual" copiers won't even know their name and email address are in the file. Serious "pirates" (AAAAAARRRR) will just replace the names anyway. Or rip from a CD like they do now anyway. How is this even news?

Re:The advantage then of buying real CD's (4, Insightful)

Vicissidude (878310) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328217)

Giving the songs to five of your friends has never been the problem. They haven't really cared much if you made a mix tape or mix CD and given them away to people you know. You certainly have the right to do that and no one has really tried to stop that. In fact, they encourage that by distributing blank media and recording hardware.

Even selling used CDs hasn't come under fire. There are plenty of record stores that buy and sell CDs.

No, the problem has been uploading the songs to some P2P network and allowing millions of your "friends" to download the song. That is what they're really trying to stop. The difference between the five and the million has to do with the numbers. You are likely to have five friends, not a million. Five copies don't hurt the companies, but a million copies do. That never came up before since you would never buy a million blank CDs to copy and pass around to complete strangers.

Re:The advantage then of buying real CD's (1)

Drachemorder (549870) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328269)

I believe the record labels actually do assert that giving a copy to your friends is illegal and wrong. I disagree with them in the strongest possible way, and I think that is the strongest representation of their greed you'll find, but they DO say that.

The disadvantage of non free software. (2, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328307)

[Real CDs] you can buy them and give them to your friends

So long as you don't rip them with iTunes. A violation of trust is a something that sticks with the violator. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

[Russian Accent] Never have to find music... (3, Funny)

sehlat (180760) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327855)

music always know where to find you.

Re:[Russian Accent] Never have to find music... (2, Funny)

DCstewieG (824956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327913)

In Soviet Russia, DRM-free music shares you!

apologies...

Trivial to remove (4, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327869)

You can right click on the file and convert it to mp3, which would erase all tracks.

This shouldn't matter anyway.

Re:Trivial to remove (4, Funny)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328047)

You can right click on the file and convert it to mp3, which would erase all tracks.

Its not trivial if you have a one button mouse! ;)

Re:Trivial to remove (1, Redundant)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328171)

Of course by doing that you've just degraded the quality that you just paid an extra 30 cents for! This is because you're transcoding from one lossy format to another.

Re:Trivial to remove (1)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328197)

You can right click on the file and convert it to mp3, which would erase all tracks.

What makes you think that Apple wouldn't maintain this data if you are right clicking inside of iTunes. Even if they don't now, they certainly can in the future. Most of these container formats have ways to hide comments and such in them. Most transcoding should respect those values so be careful.

Use an external mp3 transcoder to be sure and verifying the results.

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327873)

That doesn't sound bad at all to me. So what if my information is in my DRM-Free music?
I'm not going to put it up on P2P sites!

And since it's DRM free they can't "disable" my songs because I gave my friend a copy of one of my MP3s, and I'm pretty sure you can easily bring up fair-use when sharing with one friend in court.

meh..

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327933)

And since it's DRM free they can't "disable" my songs because I gave my friend a copy of one of my MP3s, and I'm pretty sure you can easily bring up fair-use when sharing with one friend in court.

And next time you play them, iTunes will connect to riaaenforcer.net with the username in the file, which will report that a "Mr. Anonymous Coward" gave away some of his music, and demand that iTunes therefore delete all of yours from the harddrive.

Re:So? (1)

enderak (557146) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328057)

What happens when your computer or mp3 player gets stolen and 6 months later there's files all over the p2p nets with your name on them. How could you prove you weren't the one that put them on there in the first place?

Re:So? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328207)

How could you prove you weren't the one that put them on there in the first place?

Why would you have to? Demonstrating that your computer was stolen would be easy. Any court would assume that it's more likely that a criminal would be sharing the files than a legal purchaser. iTunes have no santions to employ apart from cancelling your account. The RIAA can't do a thing.

Apple, Sony, Microsoft.. (0, Troll)

The Hobo (783784) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327883)

Let's see how many people are outraged when Apple does something like this, as opposed to say, Sony or Microsoft. I'm definitely not approving or defending any company doing this kind of thing, but I do expect a bit of a disconnect as to the reaction. Call me cynical.

Re:Apple, Sony, Microsoft.. (1)

Live_in_Dayton (805960) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328037)

I agree. Where is the outrage? You're paying the extra amount to have it DRM free. Can I pay super-extra to have it not contain my email address?

Re:Apple, Sony, Microsoft.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328061)

Actually I don't care if anyone does it.

Re:Apple, Sony, Microsoft.. (4, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328081)

I dunno... Finger printing a media file ain't even close to a root kit on the evil scale.

Re:Apple, Sony, Microsoft.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328103)

This story appeared on Digg this morning. Pretty much everyone who brought up the privacy implications of storing this info in the files was dugg down. Then again, considering that Digg tends to attract the double digit IQ demographic, I'm not really all that surprised.

Re:Apple, Sony, Microsoft.. (4, Insightful)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328227)

Why should I be outraged? Why do I care if my name is in a file that I purchased? Please explain.

Re:Apple, Sony, Microsoft.. (1)

tji (74570) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328243)

If you see this as the same as Sony putting a rootkit on peoples' PCs, you might need to re-assess the situation.

If you have an example of a Sony or Microsoft program that gave unrestricted access to media, please offer it up.

the acid test (5, Insightful)

crayz (1056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327885)

Apple puts this metadata in all the iTMS songs. Unless you're actually planning to break the law by sharing the songs, I don't see what the problem is. In fact this issue seems like a good way to distinguish between those who are against DRM because it restricts their rights to legally use their music, and those who actually just want to pirate music but use rights-based DRM arguments as an cover

Apple isn't keeping tabs on anyone, and it would be trivial to remove this data from your songs. But the question remains why anyone feels violated by this

Re:the acid test (5, Insightful)

needacoolnickname (716083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327957)

...this issue seems like a good way to distinguish between those who are against DRM because it restricts their rights to legally use their music, and those who actually just want to pirate music but use rights-based DRM arguments as an (sic) cover


Excellent point. So sad you will be yelled at for 40 posts and be called an Apple Fanboy.

Re:the acid test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328135)

Had Microsoft done this, you and the grandparent would have been the first to call them out on it. It is far too much to expect Apple zealots to hold Apple to the same standards they hold everyone else to.

Re:the acid test (1, Insightful)

pem (1013437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327973)

I dunno, seems like a great way to frame somebody to me.

If you purchase music from iTunes, and somebody who doesn't like you knows a few of the tracks you bought, it seems they could create a fake chain of "provenance" which most judges in this country would agree proved that you violated copyrights.

No, your argument is as disingenuous as any old argument about "why should I care about if big brother is watching? I'm not doing anything wrong."

Re:the acid test (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327985)

1. Copy someone's music files
2. Share them
3. LOL! PWND.

Re:the acid test (1, Insightful)

projektsilence (988729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327991)

Not to be a troll, but this is sort of like the argument I always hear about the cameras the gubment puts up at intersections and along roads. If you're not breaking the law, no need to worry about these cameras, right?

... Just sayin...

Re:the acid test (2, Interesting)

wass (72082) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328125)

Actually, this is nothing more than the vague copyright that cartographers used for quite some time. They'd put obscure curves into the road, small enough they won't affect anyone trying to navigate, but large enough that they'd know if one of their mapmaking competitors merely copied their waypoint data.

If you're not breaking the law, no need to worry about these cameras, right?

Please explain how a username EMBEDDED into the AAC file itself is equivalent to a camera monitoring somebody?

Apple can't use the embedded username to monitor someone's computer. The only thing they can do is watch P2P sites and the like to see if any tunes on those sites were purchased from iTunes and they can identify the user.

Cue all the responses claiming "well someone could have broken into their arch-nemesis's computer to frame them" in 3..2..1..

Re:the acid test (0)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327993)

Unless you're actually planning to break the law by sharing the songs, I don't see what the problem is.

Ahem. You meant to say, "Unless you're actually planning to commit copyright infringement by sharing the songs, I don't see what the problem is."

Re:the acid test (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328087)

Morality of it aside, is there any question that copyright infringement is illegal (in US, UK, etc)? The GP didn't say allow stealing.

Re:the acid test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328117)

So are you saying that "copyright infringement" isn't breaking the law?

Re:the acid test (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328155)

Ahem. You meant to say, "Unless you're actually planning to commit copyright infringement by sharing the songs, I don't see what the problem is."

Committing copyright infringement IS breaking the law.

Perhaps you have conflated "breaking the law" with "committing a crime"? Copyright infringement is a violation of civil law, but not a criminal act.

Re:the acid test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328299)

"Copyright infringement is a violation of civil law, but not a criminal act."

So you found a way to skip the FBI warning on your DVDs?

Re:the acid test (3, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328273)

But what if you no longer wish to own that track (you got sick of it, or bought the wrong track, or whatever) and decide to exercise your right of first sale and transfer ownership of that one (1) copy of the track to someone else? You are certainly allowed to do that, and it is NOT copyright infringement. It doesn't even fall under Fair Use because you are transferring ownership of a legally-purchased artistic work, just as you would a CD, vinyl record, book, or VHS tape. Also, what if you buy a bunch of tracks off of iTunes for your friend for his or her birthday, burn them to CD (destroying your local copies of course, even though it may otherwise fall just inside of Fair Use) and give them to your friend? It's a gift; ownership was transferred LEGALLY. However, the record companies will cry foul because Jane Doe will be seen playing tracks purchased by Joe Sixpack.

I hate to be the one to tell you this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328291)

...but copyright infringement is breaking the law.

Apple updates sending AppleTV into a loop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328009)

According to the Apple support forums, unplugging and rebooting your apple TV today will cause major problems, most likely due to the unit phoning home....beware

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID= 977667&tstart=0 [apple.com]

Re:the acid test (5, Insightful)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328063)

Sounds like a variant of "If you've done nothing wrong then you've nothing to fear!" to me.

Re:the acid test (1)

Weston O'Reilly (1008937) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328271)

It is more like leaving your wallet at the scene of a crime, but in this case the ease of modifying the tags creates instant reasonable doubt. Apple isn't doing anything to track or monitor you, so the "nothing to hide" analogy doesn't work here.

Laws (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328277)

Isn't that the entire basis of the concept of the Rule of Law?

It's different if there's an invasion of privacy, but we haven't seen any such invasion.

Re:the acid test (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328105)

It's no problem at all until someone else get a hold on your copies, and distribute them around with your nametag on it. I mean they're casual music files, they're not exactly your most highly protected asset. And if they don't want to use it, why bother at all? I think it will be far too unreliable to be of any use though.

American laws do not apply outside the US (2, Informative)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328123)

It's perfectly legal for me to buy a CD and make copies for all of my friends, and it would be just as legal for me to do the same with these files.

Re:American laws do not apply outside the US (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328265)

Just curious, which country are you from? And can you point me to the laws or legal rulings in your home country that back up your claim?

Re:the acid test (5, Insightful)

qortra (591818) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328159)

DISCLAIMER, to all you Apple fanboys, I'm not trying to defame your deity here; I'm merely isolating one statement of the parent's to critique it.

Unless you're actually planning to break the law by sharing the songs, I don't see what the problem is.

Ugh, Terrible Terrible logic. Consider the following statements.

"The government should be allowed to search people's home on a whim, because if they are law abiding citizens, they shouldn't mind the government searching through their stuff."
"People should not be allowed to take the fifth because if they are law abiding citizens, they should have not reason to hide information."

Privacy is actually important: saying anything of the form "people don't need privacy 'x' if they don't plan to break the law" is almost always a mistake.

Re:the acid test (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328293)

"The government should be allowed to search people's home on a whim, because if they are law abiding citizens, they shouldn't mind the government searching through their stuff."

Your privacy is still violated.

"People should not be allowed to take the fifth because if they are law abiding citizens, they should have not reason to hide information."

Their basic right to presumption of innocence is still violated.

What harm does it do me if all files on my hard disk are tagged as belonging to whoever bought them? My privacy isn't violated, my presumption of inocence isn't violated, my freedom of speech isn't violated. My right to pursuit of happiness remains the same.

Re:the acid test (5, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328191)

> Unless you're actually planning to break the law by sharing the songs,

Or buying them for a friend, or have had your PC/MP3 player stolen, or sold the songs on after you bought them, or had your PC/Wireless router hacked and files stolen...yeah, apart from that you should be ok.

Re:the acid test (5, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328223)

Apple isn't keeping tabs on anyone... But the question remains why anyone feels violated by this
Well I would argue that Apple is, indeed, keeping tabs on people. Whether or not they use that power for good or evil is another question altogether. Then again, it's not just Apple that we have to worry about. The world is more complex than that.

What if you lose your iPod and someone posts all your files on P2P networks? What if someone steals it? Even if "my iPod was stolen" is a valid legal defense, this still means that you are opening yourself up to legal threats (and costs) by using watermarked songs. Moreover, I don't like the idea of a portable device having thousands of internal copies of my real name and email address. (Yes, my wallet contains that information and a whole lot more--but I would still be bothered by the additional risk I incur when carrying around yet more personal information stored in a high-theft item.)

I don't know if people should feel "violated" by this watermarking of non-DRM tracks (after all, it is a whole lot better than fully-DRMed tracks)... but I do think there is some cause for concern even with watermarking. (Even for people fully compliant with the law.)

Re:the acid test (1)

bbernard (930130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328241)

"But the question remains why anyone feels violated by this"

Because it's another way to track me. Not to pull my tinfoil hat down so far that I can't see, but I simply don't need another way for somebody to get my information. I have a Slashdot login, but there's no profile info, because that's my choice. I have profiles with ISP's, but wherever possible there's no personal information available to the public, because that's my choice. It's just my choice to limit who gets that info, and how it's distributed.

Violated by this? Perhaps not. However, it will be a differentiator as I decide where to buy my online music from now on.

PS, this isn't an Apple bashing session, it's a business practice bashing session. iTunes is the big kid on the block, though, so the story broke about them, since it has the widest impact.

Circumvention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327887)

Wouldn't it be trivial to write an application to replace your (or other people's) names from these file headers just by replacing the strings with "Benny Beanfart" or similar?

Re:Circumvention? (1)

Incoherent07 (695470) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327999)

Yeah, but the whole point is that it presents a bar to clear for "casual" users. The motivated ones will still find ways to pirate their music if they really want to (just as they could before), and the less motivated ones will enjoy the removal of lock-in and compatibility issues while still having something keeping them from sharing the files widely.

Very few security systems are designed to be impenetrable, just hard enough to penetrate that people won't bother.

Re:Circumvention? (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328181)

"Casual" copiers won't even know the information is in there so it serves NO purpose as a deterrent.

That was the deal, right? (1)

DimGeo (694000) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327889)

Wasn't the deal that DRM be replaced with some kind of watermark? Kinda nasty that with the plaintext name and e-mail though...

What about the DRM'd ones? (1)

needacoolnickname (716083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327891)

Is my info in there?

Don't tell me you can't find out just because the ones before were DRMd. People were breaking that since the first one came out.

Should it be there? No. But black eyes heal as this one will when they remove it from future songs they put up.

Re:What about the DRM'd ones? (1)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328187)

Back when PlayFair and then Hymn came out, there was a clear note in the readme saying that your account info was still in the (un-DRMed) file, and thus you shouldn't go sharing your now-freed files.

Just strip it out (1)

haluness (219661) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327899)

Can't be too difficult to code up a utility to strip out such tags (?)

But then I've just moved to a Mac so I don't know my way around too well yet

Re:Just strip it out (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328237)

The easiest (but most time consuming) way that I know of to strip out any DRM, Watermarks, extra info, etc. from music files to to just convert them to a different lossless format. ie: convert DRM'ed MP3's to WAVE files, then you can convert them back to MP3's.

Without taking the time to think it all of the way through, this is just the first example that popped into my head- there are probably better and/or quicker ways, but you get the idea.

This is the RIAA's plan (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327901)

It will prevent anyone but you using the music, will help them track down file sharers, and will increase the value of CD's ...

What no one thought of is that if you lose your iPod, without much effort you will become the RIAA's brand new Public Enemy Number One...

Sigh

Re:This is the RIAA's plan (1)

theTrueMikeBrown (1109161) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328049)

ouch!

Never thought of that.

It should be the new automagic defense against being caught.

"You are hereby charged with sharing music online"

"Honestly sir, I lost My iPod!"

"what's that right there?"

"nothing... um... I found it again later"

I don't have a problem with it (5, Insightful)

aunchaki (94514) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327903)

This doesn't really bother me. I buy music and don't give it away, which is as it should be. TANSTAAFL!

Reasonable (1)

Baricom (763970) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327909)

This seems completely reasonable to me. I'm willing to trade watermarking for DRM, and am happily downloading my first iTunes purchase ever as we speak.

I do have one concern: if somebody does a legitimate transfer of their music (deleting all of the copies they own in the process), what happens if the new owner decides to put the stuff on a P2P network?

non-transferable (1)

DreadSpoon (653424) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328021)

As I don't believe you're currently buying rights to the file, but still just buying a license to use it (or, at least, that's how the RIAA wishes it worked), said situation is "unsupported." If you no longer want a song, delete it, don't give it away. There is no way to prove you deleted the files and didn't keep a copy, somewhere.

This is exactly what DRM should be. (5, Insightful)

casualsax3 (875131) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327921)

The whole point of DRM is to stop people from pirating it. If your name is attached to it I'd say that's a pretty good deterrent. Beyond that, you can download the music, burn it, transfer it from your home PC to your office PC - you can do what you want with it... the only restriction is that you can't illegally share it online. It's focusing on punishing people who share music illegally, while at the same time not hassling the end users who just want to use their music. This is exactly what DRM should be.

Re:This is exactly what DRM should be. (1)

AndyboyH (837116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328145)

agreed.

I upgraded all the songs I could to iTunes+ format - it cost me £4.40. I know that I can burn them as many times as I like (I guess watermarking the CDs would break the red book audio format?) and I can share them between my work PC, my home macs, and potentially with my girlfriend. I've got no intention of giving them away to strangers, although I'm happy to provide a 'mix tape' to my friends if they're interested.

This seems the reasonable, sensible solution to provide sufficient revenue protection for music companies, without being obtuse or unnecessarily limiting what a user can do with them. Here's hoping the music companies take note, rather than burying their heads in the sand, singing 'la la la' and demanding menaces money from everyone that has a P2P client sharing something with a name similar to any song/album released ever.

Re:This is exactly what DRM should be. (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328157)

*whips out hex editor...*
*clicky clicky clicky*
*search for $MYNAME...*
*clicky clicky clicky*
*replace with 'Bill Gates'...*

And we're on our way to file sharing! Yay. God job they have these deterrants.

Re:This is exactly what DRM should be. (1)

mikee805 (1091195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328251)

Its not DRM its a watermark.

Re:This is exactly what DRM should be. (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328263)

It serves no deterrent purpose if the people it *might* deter (it wouldn't anyway) don't even know it's there. The "casual copiers" won't know that their name and email address are in the file so it serves no deterrent purpose. The serious "pirates" will either strip it out or go for a direct CD-rip which will give a more widely-usable file format without the loss of quality you'd get from converting it. Seriously, you have to either be an idiot (and probably an apple fanboi too) to claim that there is any legitimate purpose in this.

Seventh post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19327923)

Seventh post!!

Why would anyone have a problem with that? (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327925)

You buy music for your personal use, which includes fair use such as sharing it with your spouse or playing AAC files under Linux or on non-Apple devices. If your music gets stolen, wouldn't you want Apple to notify you and help you close that security breach as well a punish the thief?

More details, please (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327927)

I'd like a few more details, please.

Do they "hide" it in the files, or put it into the comment fields? There's a difference there, especially if you want to accuse them of underhand dealings.

The article is also pretty crappy on the suggestion to convert to MP3. Why should I do that? A simple binary find&replace will be faster, safer and result in no quality loss or recoding troubles.

So a little more info on this before painting anyone as a devil would be cool.

Beats the hell out of DRM. (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327939)

I find it a little hard to get worked up over this. I don't find the idea of watermarking particularly offensive, as long as it's not done in such a way as to degrade the content (which all "analog preservable" watermarking does), and it's not part of a DRM scheme (e.g. 'no copy' flag). Watermarking that only identifies a user and can be used to track down someone sharing files after the fact ... I can live with that.

The difference to me is that it's not trying to stop someone from doing something illegal, before they even do it. That I find very offensive, and is the whole point of DRM. I believe that the computer should let you do anything you damn well please, even if it's illegal, but that you should take the consequences later. Trading DRM for watermarking would be a huge step up, since the watermarking really doesn't affect anyone who isn't putting their tracks on P2P networks. However, we also need to realize that watermarks can't be viewed as inherently trustworthy -- what's to keep me from framing you by putting your account information on a bunch of music and then sharing it? Practically, I'm not sure how useful watermarking really is. But if it's the price for getting rid of DRM -- which treats everyone like criminals, regardless of whether they're doing anything illegal or not -- it's OK by me.

"Casual Piracy" (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327945)

The entertainment industry is obsessed with the idea of "casual piracy," or the occasional sharing of content between friends.

Sad, because non-evil labels [magnatune.com] actually encourage sharing your music with friends [magnatune.com] .

I just wish I had friends to share my music with. =( No one else I know can stand Artemis [magnatune.com] , whose music sounds like a mix of Enya and trip-hop to me.

how long (1)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327953)

until P2P software is simply updated to automatically replace the user id field with "sjobs@mac.com" on all outgoing files?


I'm thinking probably not too long.

Hidden? (1)

jellocat (605820) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327955)

Hidden in plain sight? While certainly not mentioned during the announcement, it does not seem there is anything hidden here. Unless there is data hidden in the track (stego style), this is quite a non-issue for those who want to take it off through an iTunes user-installed script (coming any day/hour now).

Balls in Apple's Court (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327961)

Apple's policy reminds me of the joke about the nervous dental patient letting the dentist drill only once the patient had grabbed the dentist's balls, saying "this is gonna hurt you more than it's gonna hurt me".

Anyone you share your music with has to be trusted to protect your personal info. If they can't, they probably can't be trusted with Apple's music info. Not a bad strategy for making privacy mutual.

Now if copyright law would just do the same. Anyone who copies my personal info outside the transaction for which I sent the personal info should be in violation of my copyright and the limited copyright under which I sent the info. Too clever - it will take a Constitutional Privacy Amendment to give laws like that the momentum they need to get passed.

so: I see a market for a program... (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327971)

That strips out that info and re-saves the file. It wouldn't fall under the DMCA because you're not messing with the Digital Rights Management itself - you're messing with Apple's addition of your personal info, which I don't believe is their property to use in that regard, or, if it is, you certainly have the right to manipulate it on your own machine.

Afterall, you're not trading the file to anyone - you're just manipulating data on your own PERSONAL computer.

RS

So what? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327977)

For people who aren't planning on using the absence of DRM to break the law, its not a problem.

For people who are planning on using the absence of DRM to break the law, since there is no encryption, erasing or altering the information in the copies they distribute ought to be trivial.

So, um, who really cares? This is pretty common in DRM-free purchased PDFs, I don't see why it would bother people in DRM-free purchased music.

sounds reasonable... (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327979)

...but in come the privacy concerns, of course.
1. is that information easily read from the files, or does it take a decryption key which, presumably, only Apple has?
2. regardless, what would Apple / EMI do with that information?
2a. Assume they don't use it to track down those who are liberally sharing music... are they using it for advertising purposes?
2b. Tracking purposes?
2c. Social networking (of the evil kind) purposes?

And, of course, cue the replies...
"removal tool in 3... 2.. 1..."
"let's replace it with Steve Jobs's account info!"
"let's put garbage data in there and flood the system with noise!"
etc.

Re:sounds reasonable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328107)

"removal tool in 3... 2.. 1..."
"let's replace it with Steve Jobs's account info!"
"let's put garbage data in there and flood the system with noise!"


they were all mentioned before the countdown started...prophetic, or just playing the odds?

you decide!

Where are these fingerprints? (1)

ChrisMounce (1096567) | more than 7 years ago | (#19327995)

Has Apple specified how the user info is stored and how it may be extracted/doctored? If not, has anyone reverse-engineered it?

emacs hexl-mode ... (1)

smcdow (114828) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328003)

... should be enough to solve the problem until someone releases a one-liner perl script to strip away the account info.

Well... (1)

muecksteiner (102093) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328017)

as an occasional iTunes customer, I can't say that I really object to that kind of thing being done. There probably is no need for it, but it's not really problematic, either.

After all, if I buy music online, I really do not buy it to put those files on a P2P network - but for my personal use. And, maybe, to occasionally share one or two songs with friends, probably to give them a sample of some new album I bought and like. But beyond that? Why should I care that all the audio files on my playback and storage devices have my name imprinted in them?

Especially if I can get rid of that information in the files if I really want to?

This is really not a "big brother" type of situation, at least not as long as the iTunes application does not start snooping around for "probably stolen" non-DRM files. But for various reasons I'm fairly sure Apple knows better than trying to pull something like that off. The backlash would be destructive, to say the least.

A.

I Don't Care (4, Insightful)

Otter Escaping North (945051) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328025)

Some will be pissed about this - there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Personally, I don't care if they put my name in the file.

I want DRM-free media. I've wanted it for a long time. I want to play my music where I want, how I want, on as many devices as I want. And the whole time I've wanted that - it's never been so I can give it away to people on the internet. No one who wants to pursue this as a way of doing business is going to believe any differently.

I love buying my music via downloads. I wish I could do that with movies (not the 320x240 video iPod stuff - I mean movies for my TV), but I run Linux, I have a non-iPod player, so I need platform-independent, DRM free media.

They want to put my name in it? Go ahead. I'm not putting it out in the wild - and with any properly run computer - accidental release shouldn't be likely either.

Re:I Don't Care (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328305)

Same here. I just want my music to play where I want it to play. I predict that this will probably increase the prevalence of AAC formatted music relative to MP3.

Why is this an issue? (1)

Ben Chu (24542) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328031)

Some people are never happy.

If you never share your music on any P2P networks this will never be an issue. You have your music, and you can make as many copies as you want for yourself. Legally.

And how will they know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328059)

What Apple and indeed the record labels want to watch closely is, will one user buy music for his five close friends?'

And how will they know this? Unless the music players start phoning home with the player's IP and the "watermark" info from the tracks. And if that's the plan, then that's a much bigger story here, no?

Account info has *always* been in iTunes purchases (1)

CatOne (655161) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328083)

For the DRM'd tracks, it was used for authentication. For the new ones, well, the info is still there though the DRM is gone.

Perhaps you'd like it removed and all data scrubbed and maybe an account info that said "pYrAt3 m333!!!!111!!"

my only question (3, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328085)

Does the license under which I "buy" these DRM-free songs permit me to strip this personally-identifiable information from the songs?

Balance is zero. (1)

jkro (1103265) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328101)

First too few colors, now too many bits.

Fine by me (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328195)

If I buy a car and they scribe "Property of Nagora" on the chassis that's fine. In fact, as long as they acknowledge that I have BOUGHT the product and own it they can label it as my property as much as they like.

TWW

Are you sure? (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328199)

That it's only the name and email address and not some unique serial number on some secret place, since they seem to modify the file anyway for every download.

It's not a question of getting spied on - well, it actually is, so effem! All this crap can really piss one off.

Maybe doing a binary compare of the same file downloaded under two users would clarify that?

Slow news day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19328205)

This is such a non-issue that I'm surprised people are taking this claim seriously.

First of all, that information has always been in music purchased from iTunes, protected or not.

Second of all, it's easily scrubbed metadata.

Reporting this like it's new and a serious issue is naive.

jhymn? (4, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328213)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this exactly how jhymn and other similar programs leave your files? IIRC, jhymn will remove the DRM from the file, but still leave your AppleID, etc in the file. It seems that the only people complaining about this are the ones who want to pirate music.

Grow up ! (1)

El Cabri (13930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328229)

I personnaly don't mind, that sounds like a reasonnable way to enforce the rights of the content owner while giving all the freedom to the customer, to use its purchase as she wants to.

I like this. (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328279)

This makes sense to me. And makes it less of a headache for me to manage my music. Of course, I'm one of those wackos who tries to purchase all of his music.

This means I can easily go through my collection and find music that I've borrowed from my friends and delete it if I decide it's not something I want to purchase. It also means I can tell the difference between what I have purchased and what I haven't. I have almost 8000 legal mp3s, so keeping track of them is no longer trivial.

one little problem with computer theft (1)

slonik (108174) | more than 7 years ago | (#19328283)

What will happen to a poor Joe Luser if his laptop with all his music gets lost or stolen and some kind soul uploads his 1000 music files onto P2P network. His name and email address is there for everyone to see. Apple and RIAA are after him. How will he prove himself innocent?
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