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Apple's DRM Whack-a-Mole

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the ouch-ouch-ouch-ouch dept.

Music 352

Mateo_LeFou writes "Gulf News has a nice piece exposing the last couple generations of Apple's DRM strategy (you didn't really think they were abandoning DRM, did you?). Article focuses on how quickly the tactics are worked around, and how nasty the latest one is: purchased iTunes now have your personal data in them. Author suspects that this is to prevent you uploading them to a network."

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352 comments

Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458429)

I'm just going to ignore the DRM circumvention garbage that comprises the first half of the article, considering Steve Jobs is by far the most influential person in music, media, and computing to call DRM out for what it is.

The first half of the article is nothing but an anti-Apple rant, actually insinuating that Apple is on a mission to not let their users burn music to CD, which is completely and utterly false.

Then, the article drops this gem:

Turns out that Apple has been embedding its files with user information. iTunes customers have been downloading files that contain both their names and their email address.

"Turns out"? Let's continue...

How long this has been going on and just why Apple has felt compelled to do so is still a mystery - the company so far has refused to comment

A mystery? This has been going on since day one, and has never been a mystery. And even if it is a "mystery" on the non-DRM files, it was never a mystery on the DRM files, was never hidden, and was never secret. This has been known, never obfuscated, and obvious to anyone who clicked "Get Info" on anything purchased from the iTunes Store, ever.

but the reason seems obvious.

Oh, please. Do tell.

The embedded data won't prevent anyone from listening to their music files ...which is what I thought the purpose of calling for no-DRM was. You know, so we could all use our files we legitimately own on any device.

but it might deter them from uploading them to a file-sharing server.

O, the humanity! Really??? It might deter people from that?

Well, let's take a look at the logic, here. It was never secret on the DRM files, and it's not secret on the no-DRM files. But, Apple also never overtly publicized it. So, if it's not even talked about, how is it a deterrent, exactly?

But the message is clear: take our songs public, and we'll take you public.

Oh, that's the message, is it? So we've been calling for no DRM for ages, so we can legitimately and legally use our music files, and now people have problems with not being able to do things with them that are strictly illegal? If you want to bash copyright or the fact that you can't legally share anything and everything with anyone with no repercussions, do that. But don't blame Apple because an incidental name and email address is in a file that you shouldn't be uploading anyway.

And to all the idiots who think this could be somehow "used against them" without their knowledge, it would be easily, easily provable that someone never made such a purchase from the iTunes store. But that's a different argument entirely. All these fringe examples of how something MIGHT be able to abused that makes all sorts of suppositions that aren't necessarily even true - that Apple put the information there for this purpose, or that it would ever even be used that way, by anyone, or that falsifying no-DRM tracks from iTunes and then uploading them to P2P networks will suddenly become routine harassment - are starting to get old.

Sure, encrypt the data. But you know what? if it was encrypted, do you really think all the people howling about this wouldn't be complaining even more? After all, it's still identifying information, and now it's encrypted! Maybe the RIAA has the key, and they're all going to come after you! Why is Apple hiding this information??? Does anyone really think that wouldn't happen?

My favorite quote of all this was from an EFF attorney; to paraphrase: if someone steals your iPod, the thief would have the name and email address of the rightful owner!

Oh, yes, I agree: what a nightmare scenario that would be!

Right click, Convert to AAC/MP3/etc. (4, Informative)

chasingporsches (659844) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458453)

and don't forget that you can just right click the non-DRM file now and convert to another format that DOES NOT have your user information embedded in it. it's a very simple, fast process for the paranoid.

Re:Right click, Convert to AAC/MP3/etc. (2)

Carrot007 (37198) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458543)

It's DRM free, not lossless, why pay more for higher qualiy if you are going to re-encode it?

Re:Right click, Convert to AAC/MP3/etc. (5, Interesting)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458631)

Why would re-encoding even be required? In the absence of DRM, couldn't you just pass the AAC stream unchanged into a new MP4 container with no personally identifying information or even just delete that information from the existing MP4 file?

Re:Right click, Convert to AAC/MP3/etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458661)

It is called sed

Re:Right click, Convert to AAC/MP3/etc. (1)

slughead (592713) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458901)

and don't forget that you can just right click the non-DRM file now and convert to another format that DOES NOT have your user information embedded in it. it's a very simple, fast process for the paranoid.

Also, don't forget that you can now legally delete said information from the file legally, since it's not bypassing DRM.

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (2, Insightful)

bombastinator (812664) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458461)

Regardless of political overtones the mere fact that the data has been found means that it will rapidly be changed or stripped out. One more update to playfair, big deal.

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458533)

Bzzt. playfair intentionally doesn't strip the name/email address info from drm files when it liberates them.

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (2, Insightful)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458913)

The grandparent's point is that it would be trivial to modify Playfair to remove personally identifying information from files.

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (5, Informative)

Blondie-Wan (559212) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458591)

"Found"? It was never hidden. It was plainly visible, clearly intentionally, from day one. I'm absolutely flabbergasted people think this is some insidious new development or that it's been sneaked in in hopes people won't see it.


Have the people expressing shock and outrage never used iTunes, or what? Seriously, the purchaser info is RIGHT THERE in the same tab in the "Get Info" window that displays the track length, play count, file format, bitrate, and other data that's clearly, readily, deliberately accessible to users, and IT HAS BEEN EVER SINCE THE STORE OPENED IN 2003.

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458579)

Oh noes. Apple's name is being tarnished. Dave Schroeder to the rescue!

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458629)

Nice response, AC faggot.

Can you dispute anything in the post, whereas nearly everything in TFA is wrong?

No?

Then STFU, cocksucker.

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458987)

ur an AC faggot too

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (5, Insightful)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458585)

Hear hear! I nominate "Area man oppressed, end to freedom to swing his fist where neighbor's nose begins" as the new title for this presumptuous, trifling article. People fighting the good fight for fair use hardly need the company of the no-social-contract crowd. So the file has been branded as yours. That steps on your legal rights how? And while laws may be right or wrong, the ones governing uploading of someone else's copyrighted work without permission are wrong... how?

Thanks for ripping this article a new one. Comments like this make Slashdot valuable, rather than the way the social anarchist whining seems to get a free pass to the postings.

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (5, Insightful)

Belacgod (1103921) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458603)

IAWTC. Filesharing is illegal, and any DRM that doesn't reduce legal functionality is alright in my book. I can put these files on my ipod, computer, other computers...that's all I need. Anyone who complains about this has revealed themselves as no advocate for freedom, but an advocate for theft.

File sharing is NOT illegal (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458677)

It may be illegal to share some files, but the practice of file sharing by itself is NOT illegal. Don't go around claiming otherwise.

Re:File sharing is NOT illegal (2, Insightful)

pasamio (737659) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458931)

I'm pretty certain its illegal to share any of the files one would acquire through this method. This is calling out a specific example (iTunes Store) where sharing the property gained is very much an illegal act. Did you read the posting title? (I'm assuming you didn't actually read the slashdot body heaven forbid the article itself)

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458649)

Thanks for hitting the FUD out of the park, Dave.

It's beginning to annoy me.

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458667)

Besides, the information has been in the DRM files for at least the last two or three revisions.

Apple's Encoded ID data is reasonable and fair. (5, Insightful)

lucius.aemilius.paul (1113721) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458819)

I agree entirely with this poster. The original article is neither well-reasoned nor well-organized.

As I see it, the Apple encoding lets you do whatever you want with your purchase, as long as you are willing to take responsibility for it. If you believe that music should be free, there's nothing to stop you from standing up for your belief and posting your downloads anywhere you want.

If you do, you will earn public recognition --- and perhaps the admiration of those who don't want to pay for their own downloads --- for sticking by your principles. You may also earn the recognition of the music's copyright owners, and that may be less enjoyable. But if you're not willing to accept the latter recognition, then you don't deserve the first.

Fortunately there's an easy solution; just don't post your downloads. I doubt that anyone will punish you for refraining. You can still enjoy them however else you choose and much more easily than you could before.

Peter

Re:Apple's Encoded ID data is reasonable and fair. (2, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458849)


Amen! This is a very good thing that Apple have done. If they can just be persuaded to now open their store to Linux users, then it will be perfect for me. But all round, this is fine. The article writer and editor to accepted this should be ashamed of themselves.

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (5, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458821)

A mystery? This has been going on since day one, and has never been a mystery. And even if it is a "mystery" on the non-DRM files, it was never a mystery on the DRM files, was never hidden, and was never secret. This has been known, never obfuscated, and obvious to anyone who clicked "Get Info" on anything purchased from the iTunes Store, ever.

EXACTLY.

This is about as 'evil' as the time I bought a book on special order. The staff had put a paper insert inside the front cover with my name and phonenumber, presumably so that they knew who had ordered it. But they didn't tell me!! And it was personally identifying!!... why if I had started committing crimes with that book the police would have had my name and number!! I'm never buying a book from that company again! /sarcasm

My favorite quote of all this was from an EFF attorney; to paraphrase: if someone steals your iPod, the thief would have the name and email address of the rightful owner!

Heaven help the poor sap if someone were to steal his cellphone. or his wallet. or his briefcase. or his laptop.

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (3, Informative)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458917)

Yours was the only post this thread needed. And first post too! If I had mod points I would mod you up.

Oh, and one more thing... Please /. editors, sometimes no news is better than a random rant from a clueless person.

you just keep on lickin' Steves ass? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458951)

You just keep on lickin' Steve's ass no matter what apple does, right?

Re:Couldn't be more ranty, or wrong (2, Interesting)

gruntled (107194) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458963)

I have to say, putting in a name and email address is much less invasive than some other systems designed to deter file sharing. For example, back in 1997, Liquid Audio introduced a system that embedded the credit card number used to purchase the file within the file itself. Obviously, you'd have to be a loon to share a file like that.

Even so, I don't think it's inappropriate to be concerned about including personally identifying informamation (PII) like a name and an email address. While this sort of thing wouldn't be of any concern to the vast majority of users, there are a number of examples where such seemingly innocuous information has led to tragedy. As long as users are fully aware of the implications and can accept or reject such techniques, I don't have any problem with it.

In English? (2, Funny)

jginspace (678908) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458433)

Could we have that in English please?

Re:In English? (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458605)



Somebody who doesn't understand what DRM is, objects to their customer information being embedded in the file that they purchase. There are three responses to the embedded information - one is to say that the information is easily stripped if you want to do that. This does not account for the possibility that a harder to strip version will be introduced later. Two (my own reaction) is to say it's absolutely fine as it doesn't affect my enjoyment in any way at all and I'm quite happy for Apple to watermark files that I purchase to discourage sharing. It happens with PDFs I buy all the time. The third response it to irrationally leap up and down about conspiracy and DRM the way that this article and summary does.

Retards (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458435)

Personal info has always been there. Didn't anyone notice that Apple is selling DRM-free tunes now? It's not Apple's fault if DRM is there. If it exists, it's because the record company wanted it there. Don't like DRM? Don't buy from those companies. Simple.

Nasty? (4, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458441)

Apple gives you a no-DRM file, and slaps a watermark on it so that, if you're so inclined to share it with wild abandon, they can ID you.

That's not nasty. That's fair. It's YOUR music file, and there are no technical limitations on what you can do with it. if you do the one thing you're not allowed to do with it, they'll be able to (*gasp!*) track down that you did it.

Re:Nasty? (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458517)

The second it gets hacked (probably very soon) you can claim in court that someone else could easily have faked your name. Even otherwise you just call a technical expert to testify that someone could easily write code to re-write the information to be fake. (IANAL)

Btw> I'm not making a startement on whether it is write or wrong, I'm simply questioning whether it is enforceable to sue someone for copyright infringement with this as evidence.

Re:Nasty? (2, Interesting)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458725)

The second it gets hacked (probably very soon) you can claim in court that someone else could easily have faked your name. Even otherwise you just call a technical expert to testify that someone could easily write code to re-write the information to be fake. (IANAL) Btw> I'm not making a startement on whether it is write or wrong, I'm simply questioning whether it is enforceable to sue someone for copyright infringement with this as evidence.
You can claim whatever you like. The fact is, the likelihood of someone correctly guessing that you have purchased a specific song from iTMS, and, though I don't know if there's a time/date stamp (but I would assume there is) getting that correct too, is pretty darn infinitesimal. I think this could qualify as "beyond reasonable doubt."
Either way, Apple's never claimed they will do this. The MPAA has strong-armed people into paying their settlements on far less incriminating evidence than a users' name actually being attached to the file. Chances are Apple has included this information to comply with their licensing terms for selling DRM free music.

Re:Nasty? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458623)

That's not nasty. That's fair. It's YOUR music file, and there are no technical limitations on what you can do with it. if you do the one thing you're not allowed to do with it, they'll be able to (*gasp!*) track down that you did it.


Finally, a voice of reason.

Re:Nasty? (5, Insightful)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458659)

It's not even a watermark, it's just a couple of plain text metadata atoms (the MPEG-4 equivalent of ID3 tags).

This is basically the digital equivalent of printing your name on the receipt and putting it in the bag when you buy a CD. No one's forcing you to keep the receipt if you don't want to, and no one's going to read it but you anyway unless you choose to staple it to a public bulletin board for some odd reason.

I'm incredibly disgusted with the negative spin many people online have managed to put on Apple's move to sell DRM-free music. If you ever wonder why so many companies screw their customers, I think this illustrates one of the reasons. There's no upside in *not* screwing your customers; a lot of people can't or won't even recognize it when they're given everything they wanted.

Re:Nasty? (2, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458903)

Off Topic a bit, but I can't resist.

"If you ever wonder why so many companies screw their customers, I think this illustrates one of the reasons. There's no upside in *not* screwing your customers;"

Indeed this is true. I worked for a couple of years as a car salesman. I tried for the longest time to be a courteous and helpful salespserson and didn't get anywhere. One day, I was in a fairly pissed off mood, completely not related to selling cars, but just generally pissed off at the world. I was out to screw the world that day.

I had my best day, selling four cars with the greatest margins of my sales career. Additionally, those customers were the most satisfied, when the process was over.

Suffice it to say, I think most people WANT to be screwed! They want it, and will thank you afterwards for screwing them over.

I quit shortly after that, not able to live life screwing people. I probably could have made a great living had I been able to continue being "pissed at the world".

Re:Nasty? (1)

Delkster (820935) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458995)

This is basically the digital equivalent of printing your name on the receipt and putting it in the bag when you buy a CD.

Not exactly -- more like equivalent of printing the name on a piece of paper and then somehow sticking it into a corner in the last page of the cover leaflet. It's attached to the thing itself and if you never happen to take a look at that page, you may never know that your information is passed on if you decide to somehow transfer the CD to someone else, for example selling it.

It may not be a big deal if the information included isn't that private in the first place, but it's still not completely right to compare a receipt that is not attached to the item itself and where it's immediately obvious with a single glance that your information is there (so you can be careful with it if you like) to a file where the information is attached and passes on unless explicitly removed and where you have to actually do a bit of something to find out that the information is there in the first place. They aren't the same thing.

Re:Nasty? (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458665)

It's not a watermark (there may be a watermark as well, but no one has found one yet). A watermark is something embedded in the actual data, changing it in an identifiable way. The tracks from the iTunes store simply encode the name and email address of the buyer, and the time of purchase in the standard metadata tags. This is fairly trivial to remove, if you want to bother. It's like a receipt; it allows you to prove that you purchased the track if you need to, but doesn't do anything more.

Re:Nasty? (4, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458973)

It's not a watermark (there may be a watermark as well, but no one has found one yet).

Actually, people already have found that Apple isn't using a watermark or steganography technique, either:

http://www.macrumors.com/2007/06/01/apple-using-st eganography-in-itunes-plus-songs/ [macrumors.com]

The file differences are why some originally thought that Apple might be using steganography. It turns out, though, that the AAC data is 100% identical and that the differences were a result in different metadata (modification dates) in the files:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=3696625 &postcount=123 [macrumors.com]

So, Apple is indeed not using steganography or other hidden watermarking on the files.

Re:Nasty? (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458723)

Technically a "watermark" alters the sound itself in some unique way, although immeasurably to human ears. But I see your point.

Re:Nasty? (5, Informative)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458751)

Apple gives you a no-DRM file, and slaps a watermark on it so that,
No, they didn't.

I know this is /. and all, but how about at least getting the basic facts right?

One, it wasn't added, it had been there before.
Two, it's not a watermark, it's some embedded text.
Three, the text is even embedded in plain text format.

Re:Nasty? (5, Insightful)

NtroP (649992) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458763)

Apple gives you a no-DRM file, and slaps a watermark on it so that, if you're so inclined to share it with wild abandon, they can ID you.

Except there IS NO watermark. There is only your name and email address, unencrypted, in a part of the file that's supposed to contain meta-information. This is no different than Canon deciding to put my name and email address in the EXIF data when I take a picture. Watermarking would mean modifying the actual photo (or music) portion of the file so that the identifying data was intrinsic to the media itself. Apple has done none of this.

All this hand-waving is people showing their true colors. They are pirates at heart and simply want to complain. Most of the music on my iPod is ripped from my CDs. A lot of the music on my iPod is purchased (w/DRM) from iTMS. Some of the tracks on my iPod are from P2P networks, downloaded illegally. Do I feel guilty? No. Should I? Probably. But at the time I acquired those tracks they weren't available on iTMS. I've also discovered new bands through P2P and have since purchased their albums from either their web sites (if they had CDs for sale there) or iTMS when I found them there.

I have no intention of sharing my purchases publicly. I like the fact that music I purchase has my name on it. I put stickers on my CD and DVD cases too, specifically so that when I DO lend them out to friends or co-workers, they know whose it is and can get it back to me. I lend quite a lot of my music and movies to friends and use Delicious Library to track who has it and when it is due back. If they like what they borrow, they know they should purchase it for themselves. My tastes are somewhat esoteric, but I've gotten a lot of people hooked on some under-the-radar, good shows and bands this way. Did some of the borrowers rip my CDs when they got them? Undoubtedly. Did they then share those tracks on P2P? Maybe. But now, when I lend a friend a copy of an iTMS file I can tell them not to share it because it has my name on it and I purchased it legally. The people I lend to won't have a problem with that and neither do I.

The rest of the whiners need to STFU. They are just proving the RIAA right to think that all we want to do is pirate music and so we must be controlled like little children. I don't pirate music unless I'm not given an acceptable alternative. I've found my acceptable alternative and I'm glad it has my name on it. After all, I paid for it. It belongs to me. If I decide to sell it, I suppose I'll have to change the name, but then, If I decided to sell my engraved bracelet, my engraved wedding ring or my headstone, I have to have the name changed as well. Good thing I'm not planning on selling off my music collection any time soon...

Re:Nasty? (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458885)

"That's not nasty. That's fair. It's YOUR music file"

The problem is deeper and your statement point to it.

I don't want things I buy to be mine in that way.

I buy a CD. It is my CD. I don't want my name and address embedded in it though.

If I give it away as a gift, it is now not mine anymore. See the problem?

all the best,

drew

Personal data in them? (2, Insightful)

micksam7 (1026240) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458443)

So? It's not like you're going to upload them are you? It's sure not a concern unless you do.

However, I do think they should encrypt the watermark, or at the very least use some unique hash to prevent people from placing someone else's name there instead. I mean, things can happen surely.

Re:Personal data in them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458993)

... and Apple would be accused of hiding user info inside the files for some nefarious purposes (Apple sells the decryption key to {MP,RI}AA, iTunes tracks users and reports back to Apple, etc. etc.). Let's face it, people aren't going to stop complaining nor stop coming up with conspiracy theories.

So... (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458451)

Remove said personal information from the ID3 equivalent before uploading said file. Or is this information in some weird watermarking system I don't know about?

Re:So... (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458495)

Remove said personal information from the ID3 equivalent before uploading said file. Or is this information in some weird watermarking system I don't know about?

No. There is no weird watermarking system (though some people do suspect Apple of using hidden watermarks or steganography).

The information is stored in international standard MPEG-4 "atoms". In fact, they're even preexisting atoms for the purpose of storing name and email address. They're not secret, and not hidden.

If people are hell bent on uploading their files after they've purchased them, there's a number of ways the identifying information can be removed.

Plenty of people around who say, "But what if I then change the name and email to that of my most hated enemy and upload those??" though. Yeah. Okay.

Re:So... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458633)

Hmm. Let's think about this a minute. How long until the first illegal music files watermarked to Dave Schroeder (das@doit.wisc.edu) turn up in P2P?

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458729)

Hmm. Let's think about this a minute. How long until the first illegal music files watermarked to Dave Schroeder (das@doit.wisc.edu) turn up in P2P?

Running a little fast and loose with the term "watermarked" [wikipedia.org], eh?

So a name and email address in a standard MPEG-4 atom intended for such purpose is now a "watermark"?

Since Apple maintains the authoritative purchase history of all transactions with the iTunes store for all users (and is also user-accessible), it would be ridiculously easy to prove that purchase was never made.

Still nice to know that there is such hatred of Apple that you'd insinuate that someone disseminating correct information about Apple should be targeted for online harassment, though!

Re:So... (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458679)

Plenty of people around who say, "But what if I then change the name and email to that of my most hated enemy and upload those??" though. Yeah. Okay.
Don't underestimate the number of spiteful people from all demographics who will do exactly that. It seems like petty revenge, but it will happen just as commonly as other forms of "internet abuse".

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458843)

Don't underestimate the number of spiteful people from all demographics who will do exactly that. It seems like petty revenge, but it will happen just as commonly as other forms of "internet abuse".

You're assuming that's why name and email address are even there (e.g., instead of just as incidental purchase metadata that's always been there that simply wasn't removed when Apple started removing DRM. After all, why remove it?).

Also, you're forgetting that Apple maintains the authoritative records on all iTunes music store purchases. So unless you're going to say that people will be uploading no-DRM tracks that they know other people have purchased, or that someone will be stealing someone else's music (e.g., boy/girlfriend, friend, etc.) and then uploading to be vindictive, I mean, aren't there a LOT of ways to harass people if you're hell-bent on harassing someone? You're assuming that there is any legal standard that would allow someone who uploads no-DRM songs they legitimately purchased.

And remember, all of the big forces arguing against the inclusion of this information aren't even arguing for it to be removed; they're arguing for it to be *encrypted*. Which means it can still be decrypted. Which means that, whether there's any truth to it or not, people will still be accusing Apple of underhanded tactics, and probably would even suspect Apple was in collusion with the RIAA and is providing music industry groups with the keys to decrypt.

This won't be happening "commonly" at all. This is just another mock-objection by people who'd find problems with Apple no matter what they did. Apple has done more now to advance the no-DRM movement than any other commercial entity involved in music, media, or computing. (Yes, more than any other company or vendor or (mainstream) music provider.)

Is the fact that your name is in a song that you purchased for your own use really that big of a deal? Especially considering this same information has been in all tracks ever purchased from the iTunes store for the last four years?

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458805)

No. There is no weird watermarking system (though some people do suspect Apple of using hidden watermarks or steganography).

Get the same song from two different iTunes accounts. Run it through a binary comparison. Check. Remove atoms with name and e-mail, check again. Steganography is the method for hiding data in other data, but there's absolutely no way to hide unique data in two pieces of data which should be 100% identical. Either this could be dismissed easily or proven easily, so if there's no credible story I'd say that this is just a crackpot idea.

Re:So... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458857)

Better yet - total cost for this research : $1.98

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458969)

No, it would be way more expensive. Apples DRM-free songs are over 30% more expensive then the ones with DRM (figure that: get your song, plus DRM, and pay less! :-))

Re:So... (1, Redundant)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458877)

People have done that:

http://www.macrumors.com/2007/06/01/apple-using-st eganography-in-itunes-plus-songs/ [macrumors.com]

That's why they thought that Apple might be using steganography. It turns out, though, that the AAC data is 100% identical and that the differences were a result in different metadata (modification dates) in the files:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=3696625 &postcount=123 [macrumors.com]

So, Apple is indeed not using steganography or other hidden watermarking on the files.

Re:So... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458989)

Part of what's fueled the rumors is that some people did that and simply stripped the name/email and ran a checksum, found they were different. However, further investigation showed that the data appeared to be the same between the two files, but there were numerous additional pieces of metadata tags that were different. AFAIK, no one has really parsed all the metadata that Apple uses to know whether anything else in there might serve to identify users, but certainly it's possible that there are valid reasons to have different metadata, eg. if it stores date created/modified in the metadata.

Now, of course even a "date purchased" field could possibly allow Apple to identify a user under some conditions. Given a couple more songs presumed to be on the same account, they could narrow the list further. If the songs are unpopular enough, you might only need a couple songs to identify someone uniquely. Not knowing what, exactly, is in the metadata, it's impossible to tell how easy it would be for Apple to identify the purchaser.

Of course, none of this should scare anyone very much. Even if Apple could identify the purchaser easily, such an identification would require that (a) the file was widely distributed enough that Apple got ahold of it, (b) that you didn't scrub/transcode the file enough to hide/remove the identifying information, and (c) that Apple cared or was compelled to care.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458981)

Plenty of people around who say, "But what if I then change the name and email to that of my most hated enemy and upload those??" though. Yeah. Okay.

What's to prevent them from adding the information to files they obtained elsewhere, from non Itunes sources?

About the article... There is something to see here, folks: a clueless idiot getting worked up over something along the lines of shoes being made in left and right pairs- and socks aren't!

Monetary gain (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458455)

Let's see now, how to gain cash over the weekend - I know! The hottest topic in the computing sphere right now has to be Apple - with the keynote at their conference tomorrow. Let's do a hack-job on them...

Strike one - let's paint Apple as stupid - pretend that the company famous for 'rip, mix, burn' don't understand that the code *they* built into iTunes can remove the DRM. [ed - are you sure you're going somewhere here ?]

Strike two - we'll pretend that the bug [playlistmag.com] in iTunes was put there maliciously. We'll claim that Apple were caught out by their users being too clever [ed - I thought Apple acknowledge [Roy B's post] [apple.com] this as a bug, they *are* human you know]

Strike three, they're out. They *embed* your email address into these "supposedly DRM-free" tracks! How are you supposed to upload and spread them around the net if they identify who did it ? That's it! Game over for Apple! [ed - but surely the people who *buy* iTunes music are the people who *don't* download free music from the 'net]

columnist: Trust me, ok, it'll make for loads of ad-hits. $$$ man!
ed: ok, ok. You know the territory, I'm just the business guy

Quite apart from the fact that the personal metadata has *always* been embedded, it doesn't prevent the exact same method of protection-removal if you really want to upload your tracks - lay it down to CD as audio, rip it, "share" it.

Perhaps what we have is simply that Apple didn't *remove* a piece of metadata that was always there, they just delivered on their promise to allow you to migrate your music to wherever you want to play it. But that's not a story that'll deliver ad-revenue...

Y'all just oughta be glad it's not *me* in charge... I'd have embedded the email address as an easy thing to spot & remove, and *also* embedded the binary user-GUID, spread around in the metadata block. Once you *thought* you'd removed all trace of your name, I'd still be able to track who'd uploaded files - enough files... time to emulate a ton of bricks. Given the pay-for timestamp and the appearance-on-the-network time, I ought to be able to tell who's just "sharing" files as a policy after a while...

Simon

Re:Monetary gain (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458599)

Um ... don't forget ... this is /., where most posters don't even read the summary let alone the article. I'm sure his ad revenue on a Sunday morning will be enough for him to buy an album on iTunes. ;-)

Re:Monetary gain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458737)

Let's do a hack-job on them

Fuck, even hatchets are obsolete?

Re:Monetary gain (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458761)

FYI, a "hack" is slang (in the UK) for a crappy journalist. Hatchet would have fitted too, though...

Simon

Idiocy Alert (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458481)

Article focuses on how quickly the tactics are worked around, and how nasty the latest one is: purchased iTunes now have your personal data in them.

Holy crap! I haven't seen this poorly of researched or obviously clueless article in a while. Apple isn't suddenly adding your personal data to songs. They've always done that. They just did not remove that when they pulled the DRM.

Author suspects that this is to prevent you uploading them to a network."

Well since such behavior would be illegal in almost every country Apple does business, I'm not sure why people should be so concerned about it. If you're obeying the law, this affects you not at all. If you're breaking the law, well, you're probably not paying to buy music in the first place so you won't have any of this music. If for some reason you are buying songs and intentionally republishing them without a license, well hopefully you're not so idiotic that you can't strip this data off. This data is nothing to worry about in my opinion. It is plaintext and easily removable. If you are a criminal you should be worrying about watermarking of files, which Apple may or may not be doing and which all the other music stores may or may not be doing. That is something a lot harder to detect.

Personally, I'm just not illegally publishing copyrighted works (and not buying from Apple either) so I don't see why I'd care. Note, this is not DRM in any way. DRM stops you from taking actions. This simply might make it easier to discover who took an action after the fact. This is no more DRM than your own upload logs are.

Well it's clear.. (5, Insightful)

Rytr23 (704409) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458491)

That Mateo_LeFou is an utter moron if he/she can be describe this as a "nice piece". And Taco is just trying to get people all up in arms for posting it.. I beleive the first post perfectly illustrates the innaccuracy and trollish nature of the "article". Nothing to see here..move along

Re:Well it's clear.. (1)

befletch (42204) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458595)

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

But of course Taco isn't stupid, and even the summary is obviously trolling... thank god Ars hasn't gone off the deep end yet.

Please someone create a tool (2, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458493)

to insert a new name and email address so Steve, Bill and a couple of RIAA execs can become the biggest uploaders in the history of filesharing.

Re:Please someone create a tool (1)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458673)

Or we could all download from the same account, like these guys [cockeyed.com]. (Now if there was a possible way to do that with iTunes...

Come on Taco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458499)

This has been discussed how many times in the last month on here?
And you post this piece of flamebait?

Why do you think your readership is down? People have long since
left /. for more intelligent and timely conversation elsehwere.

It's stored in plaintext... (4, Interesting)

FFFish (7567) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458509)

...which makes it so damned easy to find and erase that one must conclude that the personalization has *NOTHING* to do with DRM. Honest to god, even the most retarded programmer would encrypt the information so that it isn't easily discovered.

Re:It's stored in plaintext... (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458835)

So? Overwrite the info, then. Better yet, put Steve Jobs' info in there.

Doesn't convert to MP3 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458519)

1. The convert to MP3 menu does not work for these tracks.
2. They're more expensive
3. You can't hear the difference, only 1 in 10 could and it was statistical noise.
4. You can fit fewer tracks on a player because they bigger.
5. Apple are playing a game here.

I'm in favour of watermarking tracks with the sale ID, but Apple looks to be playing a game here, I still can't sign up to iTunes and get music for my MP3 players at the same prices as iPod users.

Re:Doesn't convert to MP3 (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458937)

2. They're more expensive

Well, you're getting a higher-quality, DRM-free song. That's worth more.,

3. You can't hear the difference, only 1 in 10 could and it was statistical noise.

I can hear a huge difference. My music player handles unencrypted AAC files, so the new ones sound like music, and the old ones sound like, well, silence.

4. You can fit fewer tracks on a player because they bigger.

That's what "higher-bitrate" usually means. Scratch that: always.

5. Apple are playing a game here.

Yes. It's called the "charge more for enhanced product" game that every company since the history of capitalism has played.

There's a serious point here (3, Insightful)

Budenny (888916) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458561)

There is a serious point here. Not particularly about Apple or music. The question really is about electronic media and traceability and reading/viewing/listening habits. To get the potential issue, you have to fast forward a few years. Now most of the press and pamphlets and magazines have migrated online. Some minority book publishing has also. At this point, every book, record or mag anyone buys online has, imagine, a name and address in it that is verified to a credit card.

Do you really feel completely comfortable about that? Do you for example feel comfortable knowing that that little radical publisher whose mag you subscribed to, and that has just been raided for some good or bad reason, has put your name and address in everything you bought from them? Lets say you live in some country where there had just been a change of regime.

I don't. It seems that if someone wants to write his name and (email) address in his books, or on his record or DVD covers, fine, he should be free to do it. But I cannot see the vendor writing it in the copy as a default in a way that needs tools to take it out again.

Its not about Apple - to the extent that this is just repetition of an old story about Apple its silly. But there is a serious question underneath this. To what extent do we want to be buying online exactly the same anonymous stuff we buy physically? This is not a silly question at all.

Re:There's a serious point here (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458669)

First off, every business values their customer list. It is people that have proven an interest in their products (old and new) and therefore an excellent source of sales. So when you buy your hardcopy book from some radical publisher they likely have your name on their customer list anyway. There is no getting away from that.

Cash sale? I suppose if you go and actually visit a book dealer that stocks the book and there is no "loyalty discount" program and nothing else that could possibly be used to connect you with the purchase. If you buy two items and one of them has any sort of registration this information can certainly connect you with your other purchases. In today's world you are going to get on a customer list if there is any way possible to do so. Don't like it? Don't buy stuff in first-world countries.

The customer list would seem far far worse than your name in the item itself. This is a zero-work precollected list of people to harass for "the authorities."

Of course, the best reason for not wanting any tracable information in the item itself is redistribution. If you want to share with the planet, you don't want your name in it. And of course you want to share with the planet - the geek view of how the world works makes redistribution essential. By preventing the original merchant from profiting further after that one sale you spread greater wealth further and faster. The harm it does the original merchant is irrelevant - they shouldn't have sold digital goods if they didn't want it shared.

It is today within the power of net-savvy people to remove any profit from digital goods transactions. All they have to do is exercise that power.

What difference does watermarking make? (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458807)

Do you really feel completely comfortable about that? Do you for example feel comfortable knowing that that little radical publisher whose mag you subscribed to, and that has just been raided for some good or bad reason, has put your name and address in everything you bought from them?

Hey, dude, if they were raided, the feds already got your name from them *already*. They don't need to dig your name out of a file to do that.

At this point, every book, record or mag anyone buys online has, imagine, a name and address in it that is verified to a credit card.

Which is why the untracable debit cards you can get at any grocery store in the US are so useful.

I mean, you're using them when you buy your porn aready, right?

Re:There's a serious point here (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458817)

At this point, every book, record or mag anyone buys online has, imagine, a name and address in it that is verified to a credit card.

So long as the data is just some text that I can scrub from these online purchases, it doesn't really bother me enough to think about scrubbing them. Of course, whenever you buy anything with a credit card, there's a record of that, and that record follows you (so to speak). That's not completely comforting, but I wonder if there's a system whereby we can have verifiable online purchases that can't be traced back to the purchaser. I'd worry that any such system would be abused for fraud.

Re:There's a serious point here (3, Interesting)

Jeremy_Bee (1064620) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458909)

This is indeed a serious point, and one obfuscated by all the hoopla that the author of this article (and others), is creating over other, non-issues.

It's a basic tenet of any sane, decent, information privacy legislation and (I believe already the law in Europe), that you cannot embed or record people's personal data in a "secret" way. If a person is buying a product that has their personal information embedded in it, they have to *know* this is the case.

I (like many people), was originally shocked to find out the user name and email is embedded in the file being unaware that this was in fact *always* the case. Despite all the folks here pointing out that it was always the case, how many regular users of iTunes and iPods are aware of that? If it isn't commonly understood, then it's as good as secret.

It seems to me that if the embedding is not presented to the user at the point of purchase in a clear, obvious, "in your face" EULA type of way, then Apple should be in violation of European law or at the very least going completely against the spirit of personal data protection and privacy laws. Having never purchased on iTunes, I am not aware if this is the case or not, but the large number of people that were not aware of the practice suggests that it is not advertised much at all.

The point is that a person has to be able to maintain their own privacy if they need or want to. If a corporation is secretly (or even non-obviously) embedding personal data in a file, the user has to know it's in there in order to be able to manage or maintain their private information. Clearly, most users of iTunes had and have no idea that their personal information is being stored and may be at risk and no idea that they should have been protecting it.

Show Info (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458569)

Just look at the properties of any downloaded iTunes music file (at least on Mac OS X, not sure how Windows Explorer is useful in this regard) and it lists the purchase date along with the name of the person who purchased it.

This is the case for DRM and non-DRM'd files, it's not something Apple added when they scrapped the DRM it's just something they didn't take out.

As it's trivial to alter then it's no way of tracking users, it's just extra metadata.

These guys are a joke (1)

Ikyaat (764422) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458577)

"Apple could cry foul that the end user license agreement (EULA) - it's that box you mindlessly click without reading - has been violated,"

Nothing like insulting your readers to generate positive responses. I personally read every EULA I accept.

Re:These guys are a joke (4, Funny)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458743)

I personally read every EULA I accept.
Why bother, I just let my cat stand on my keyboard; if my cat wants to enter into an agreement with $Software_Company who am I to stop her? Besides, here in the UK the validity of EULAs are dubious anyway. My under 16 cousins are installing software all the time, no one can seriously enforce the terms of a EULA on them as minors can't legally enter into contracts anyway.

Why not just repackage the AAC stream? (2, Interesting)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458635)

The watermark metadata is presumably in the MP4 container, so surely one could simply extract the AAC stream and repackage it in a new MP4 container? Or are they watermarking the actual AAC stream somehow?

-Stephen

Prevents Nothing (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458643)

My files were stolen. Prove me wrong.

Re:Prevents Nothing (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458825)

My files were stolen. Prove me wrong.

      That will be interesting when the RIAA sues Joe Blow for $1 trillion.

      Conversely - if they are putting personal information into the files and hope to retrieve it, then WE can retrieve it too. Be nice to have Joe Blow's address, SSN and/or credit card number. I wonder if Apple would be held liable as an accomplice in cases of identity theft - after all, it's not Joe Blow's fault his files got "stolen", but Apple put that personal info in them.

      Man oh man, play with "DRM" and get burned. Companies just can't win - they've been beating the same dead horse for almost 15 years now. When will they learn?

Re:Prevents Nothing (2, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458939)

That will be interesting when the RIAA sues Joe Blow for $1 trillion.

How about we wait until that happens? And even then, your problem is with the RIAA, not Apple. The fact that Apple puts name and email address in no-DRM files is irrelevant to any state of affairs involving the disposition of the files (stolen, uploaded tom P2P, etc.). If the information is illegitimate (e.g., bogus tags in files), it's easily provable. If it's not, then yeah, it's right back to, "My files were stolen. Prove me wrong."

Conversely - if they are putting personal information into the files and hope to retrieve it, then WE can retrieve it too. Be nice to have Joe Blow's address, SSN and/or credit card number. I wonder if Apple would be held liable as an accomplice in cases of identity theft - after all, it's not Joe Blow's fault his files got "stolen", but Apple put that personal info in them.

Except a name and email address isn't anywhere near any standard at all for "identity theft". So, no, Apple won't be held liable for anything, at all, in any case like this, even if they ever were to happen. A name and email address on a no-DRM music file is not an invasion of privacy and not an identity theft risk.

Man oh man, play with "DRM" and get burned. Companies just can't win - they've been beating the same dead horse for almost 15 years now. When will they learn?

Huh? This isn't DRM (by any understood definition of "DRM"). At all. It's not even clear that it was intended to be a "deterrent" to ANYTHING, since it's obvious, out in the open, and easily removed. Apple is doing more to move against DRM than any major entity in this realm ever has, in rhetoric and actions.

So, yeah, Apple "learned", and is following through.

A watermark is not DRM (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458683)

If I was to name the single most crucial characteristic of a DRM system, it is that it is the system governing my content rather than the courts. A watermark isn't restricting anything, I can reproduce, create derivates, distribute, perform, display, transform, comment, parodize, time-shift, space-shift, format-shift, backup and whatever else as much and as often as I want. If the copyright holders think I'm in violation of the law, we go to court where I might win, they might win but that is determined by law - not the few, if any activities the DRM system chooses to whitelist.

Candidate for Worst Article Ever (1)

TuballoyThunder (534063) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458685)

I wish I could use my mod points to mod the article -5, Idiotic.

All anti-Apple articles are like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458947)

Apple is the greatest company that has ever existed. Every time I see an article critical of Apple in any way, I immediately know it is a hack job full of exaggerations and lies.

Think Different. Think Better. Think Apple!

Highly speculative. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458697)

purchased iTunes now have your personal data in them. Author suspects that this is to prevent you uploading them to a network.

Perhaps. Or perhaps iit's because they wnt to analyse how many people do share tunes, or perhaps they actually think some people might want to know who the purchaser of the music was (A little like the about box in a lot of software). Or perhaps a programmer thought thye might as well since it would be as easy to add the information as not.

words... (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458715)

Author suspects that this is to prevent you uploading them to a network.
Author is an idiot. There's an important difference between discouraging something and preventing something. The important part being that DRM has lots of fallout and innocent bystanders shot (e.g. you not being able to hear your music on a different machine also owned by you), while discouragement has a human-choice element that prevents most of those troubles.

Besides, embedding personal info is not DRM. Wikipedia sums it up nicely:

Digital rights management (DRM) is an umbrella term referring to technologies used by publishers or copyright owners to control access to or usage of digital data or hardware, and to restrictions associated with a specific instance of a digital work or device.

Firehose this article to hell, please. (3, Insightful)

PMBjornerud (947233) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458721)

I encourage everyone to access the firehose and vote this article down.

Sad to say, but whoever wrote that article is clueless, and it does not deserve to be on slashdot (or anywhere else).

I can only think that it made the front page because it mentions both Apple and DRM in the title, causing lots of people to flag it up by reflex. It should be buried.

Uh, you're a little late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458897)

Once it's been published on Slashdot, the firehose does nothing, except maybe make you feel better.

Remove DRM so we can pirate music? (2, Insightful)

SySOvErRiDe (646513) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458795)

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but is the article saying that we should be putting our DRM-free purchased iTunes songs up onto file sharing networks?

I'm under the impression the whole point of DRM-free content was to allow users to legally use their purchased content to play them or convert them to any device we want. For Apple to put our names and email addresses into the DRM-free content seems okay to me, since I'm not going to be pirating the music out.

Re:Remove DRM so we can pirate music? (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458949)

The article appears to be saying so, but it is indeed in no way intended.

No-one said: I don't want DRM because I want to share it untraceably on the internet with millions of anonymous users. It is spun in this fashion, however.

B.

Apple is Pro-Apple (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458829)

If you think Apple and or Steve Jobs have any opinion on DRM you are insane. He is a business man and a succesfull one at that. He only cares about what will make him the most money and will use or not use DRM as required by the greatest possible profit stream.

If he was really for freedom for customers he would have long since forced disney to stop adding such basic stuff as region encoding or even plain impossible to skip commercials.

He has not.

At the moment his company is experimenting with a new product variation that for a premium offers customer an "enhanced" version. If it succeeds, good, the same product for more money at almost no increase in costs. If it doesn't well he tried, got a few headlines and the costs are minimal.

Steve Jobs is NOT anti-DRM or pro-DRM, he is PRO-Apples bottom-line and will say or do anything (legal) that makes that bottom-line look really good.

All you need to know about Steve Jobs is that the iPod line has a ridiculous profit margin yet is made under dismall circumstances in a low wage country with appaling human rights and working conditions that would shock a european. Well main european, mainland western european. Northen part.

He could easily afford to have the iPod produced in more accetapble conditions BUT that would hurt the bottom-line. So he chooses to do the absolute minimum needed to keep the humanrights watchers from having to much ammo and rolls in the profits.

Steve Jobs is NOT god. He is just another businessman, stop trying to pretend he is something else.

Captain Obvious (3, Insightful)

WwWonka (545303) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458847)

purchased iTunes now have your personal data in them. Author suspects that this is to prevent you uploading them to a network."

...author ALSO suspects that the big pretty boat in the movie Titanic will sink in the end.

Don't Flame me (2, Interesting)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458893)

Okay before anyone flames me for this, just as a precursor, I would just like to say I've read the other comments and as far as DRM, or apple trying to trick people or anything like that I agree is just stupid.

However, I do have the slightest concern that if apple is not using encryption for people's personal files on this sort of thing, I am a little worried where else they may not be encrypting this data, I mean if all this information is storedon itunes user infromation databases, I hope it is full encrypted, but it seems a little less likely now.

When Someone Writes Something So Stupid (1)

Tazz_ben (619965) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458899)

Maybe it's just me, but it seems that when someone writes something this littered with factual errors the best thing to do is just ignore it. By slash-dotting it we are giving the article some credence.

ISO Standards (1)

floki (48060) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458907)

I recently purchased a standard from the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO, www.iso.org) and they too watermark the document. The PDF is encrypted and at the bottom of each page your name and date of purchase is printed in light grey letters. Seems logical considering how expensive their standards are and how easily they would be copied.
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<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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