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Privatunes Anonymizes iTunes Plus

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-don't-know-if-anonymizes-is-a-word dept.

Privacy 176

njondet writes "French-law.net reports that Ratatium.com, a French website specialized in technology news and software downloads, has just launched Privatunes, a free software that anonymizes DRM-free files bought on iTunes Plus. Last month's revelations that the DRM-free files sold by EMI on iTunes Plus came with user's full name and account e-mail embedded in them had raised serious privacy concerns. Ratatium.com explains (in French) that Privatunes is aimed at guaranteeing the privacy of users but also their rights as consumers to freely share and trade the songs they have purchased. However, the claim that this software is perfectly legal will surely be tested."

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A little self-important and misguided... (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662175)

From their site:

5 reasons to erase private information from my legally acquired iTunes Plus library:

Yeah. A name and email address. On an electronic file that you purchased. In name and email address fields in the clear. How...wrong.

1. Am I still a child who needs his pencilcase and schoolbag tagged with my name?

Utterly irrelevant to the discussion.

2. I bought the damn tune, but someday I may want to sell it (hey, how is it more stupid that selling old CDs ?).

It's not "more stupid" than anything. And since Apple is the first entity that's even allowing this possibility at all with mainstream music from mainstream labels on any meaningful scale, I guess I must not recognize your gratitude.

3. I just have a thing for privacy. Is it dirty?

No, but it's dirty when you think everything is automatically an "invasion of privacy".

4. How the heck do I know it's not gonna be shared on P2P networks by my 6 year old step sister???

How do you know the reason the name and email address is there is for tracking file sharers? How do you even know that would stand up in court? Why does everyone assume that's the reason it's there? Has it occurred to you that this might have been a concession to the labels to make them "feel good", or any number of other reasons? Has it occurred to you that since name and email address have always been included in all purchases from the iTunes store that, uh, maybe nothing has changed?

What if the EU mandates a system for returns and refunds someday from the iTunes store? Wouldn't your account name and email be an easy way for normal individuals to return songs? And before anyone says, "Well, it should be encrypted, then," can you honestly look at me with a straight face and tell me you wouldn't be even more upset that Apple was including unknown personal information, encrypted, in each song bought from iTunes? If it's there at all, it's actually preferable that it's plaintext, because then there are simple ways to remove it without anyone being able to claim that you're breaking some law for removing encrypted information or some other ridiculous thing.

"But it shouldn't be there in the first place."

I know, this is the part is a difficult situation since it is mandatory for all persons on earth to purchase from only the iTunes store. If only Apple didn't force you to buy no-DRM songs from iTunes.

Oh, wait...

5. I thought good customer-seller relationship ment something like... how do they say, "trust' ?

Why do you assume that an electronic item you purchased yourself from the iTunes store having your name and email address embedded in internationally standardized MPEG-4 atoms intended exactly for that purpose somehow equates to lack of "trust"? "Trust" to do what?

I thought the main argument against DRM was so that we could use our files anywhere we wished, on any device we wished. Now we can. Sure, it has your name and email address in it. It's not hidden. It's not a secret. It doesn't matter if most normal users don't realize this. It's still not hidden, nor is it a secret. Most "normal users" don't "realize" a lot of things.

And from the summary:

However, the claim that this software is perfectly legal will surely be tested.

Tested by whom or what? For what purpose?

The software is perfectly legal. Why is this even in doubt? It's a file with no DRM, and you're removing text that is IN THE CLEAR, IN PLAINTEXT in the file that YOU BOUGHT. Removing it by ANY MECHANISM is perfectly legal in any jurisdiction I can think of.

No DRM means just that: no DRM. No encryption. No reverse engineering. No DMCA provisions. Etc.

If you want to make an anonomyzing tool, great. But don't puff it up to be more than it is.

Again, my favorite quote that sums up the stupidity of the outrage over a name and email address being in a file you purchased, from a Gartner analyst:

"Some of the privacy problems, in light of this, is that anyone who steals an iPod that includes purchased iTunes music will now have the name and e-mail address of its rightful owner."

..............

Wow. Just, wow. I don't even know how to respond to that.

Note: Apple is NOT using steganography or any other mechanisms to secretly embed personal data, so let's just put that to bed before people come out of the woodwork with such claims. This has already been tested, and no-DRM files purchased by two different accounts are identical except for file modification dates, as expected.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (4, Insightful)

sqldr (838964) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662275)

Mod parent up. Apple extends a hand of trust to its users, and some idiot comes along and deliberately screws up the one argument I had against DRM:

* I'm not trying to steal/share it, I just want to be in control of it.

I was quite happy to put my name in there if it's enough to keep the music producers happy.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19663047)

exactly. Apple hands control of music over to the user (a good thing right?) and all people seem to be able to do is to attack them. WTF! How can they win? Why should they bother?

Truth is that the people who criticise them simply don't want to pay for the stuff they get. In other words they are thieves. In other words people who criticise Apple over this kind of thing are (most not all) abusing the internet and see it as an opportunity to steal other peoples work, instead of the opportuties for business and entertainment that everyone thought it could be. If the net loses its freedom then it will be there fault.

Apple have achieved their success by ensuring that there products do the job that there designed to do, and do that job far far better than any other company. Stop attacking them when they do something right, like no drm on tracks!! Grow up.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (1)

mattatwork (988481) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664407)

I understand the idea behind taking any trace of yourself out of the music downloaded from iTunes so you can then go on to put it on the latest, greatest P2P site. My question is won't the RIAA notice these high quality (256 kbit/s) files that are the exact same thing as what's available on iTunes and still subpoena the user distributing the music? It may not have your name, but if they can get your ISP to turn over your name from your IP address, you're still busted illegally distributing copyrighted music and they might tag something on for removing the user data in the file. It just doesn't seem like a major advance to me....

MOD PARENT UP (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662285)

He's not trolling or attempting to incite a flamewar. He's making several perfectly valid points about the knee-jerk reactions to Apple's DRM-less iTunes files.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (-1, Offtopic)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662379)

Aw, damn, I guess Dave Schroeder should have listened [slashdot.org] to [slashdot.org] me [slashdot.org] about the importance of karma buffers when you're going to say something unpopular, because you don't know when that will happen.

Oh well, at *I* won't get penalized for posting this ...

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662477)

wow, there must be a TON of kids on your lawn...

Re:MOD PARENT UP (-1, Offtopic)

timster (32400) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662807)

The very concept "karma buffers" is the kind of idiocy I'd only expect from someone with a UID over a million, at least. Anyone who has been on this site for long enough to earn the karma bonus has figured out long ago that it's absurdly easy to get as much karma as you want. All you have to do is write a few posts cleverly designed to piss some people off, and put at the end "I'll probably get modded down for this..." Slashdot mods are almost universally shallow people (who else would care enough to bother passing out grades for posts?) and they'll rally around anyone who manages to convey an air of unfair persecution.

So lay off it, UbuntuDupe. Nobody cares about karma, and it's obnoxious to see stupid posts about it cluttering up our nice pretty message board.

And go ahead -- mod me down, if you really are as shallow as I think, but it's still an important point.

Re:don't bother (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662653)

Actually, I'd say he's trolling and trying to incite a flamewar by making valid points about the knee jerk reactions to the Apple embedding peronal information in DRM-less files downloaded from their store. This is slashdot, after all.

And, quite honestly, unless the intent is to track the propagation of the files across the internet and be able to identify the source of the propagation, there's no realy reason to include the information - especially in plaintext. My take is that if you care about it, you should be able to remove the data; if you don't, don't remove it. If it burns you so bad, just don't buy from iTMS, though since you can't buy some of thof from anywhere else that's sort of a useless suggestion. It would be better if they didn't put the info in there to begin with, imho. Not that it matters to me - I don't buy digitally compressed tunes.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662397)

The software is perfectly legal. Why is this even in doubt?
Because US courts have ruled that a service provided for the purpose of breaking copyright is liable for civil damages (see Napster, et al). While anonymization services are theoretically not there to encourage copyright violation, it could be argued that this is exactly the purpose of this software -- a lot would fall to how the software is advertised.

As for this being illegal, note that copyright protection applies to media regardless of whether or not it's DRM'd. Just because it's DRM-free doesn't mean it's in the public domain, and it can certainly be argued that a tool primarily used to evade detection by those breaking the law is illegal.

Regardless of how we feel about it, all the outrage in the world doesn't change the facts of how the US legal system handles those who encourage a clearly illegal action.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663327)

It would be a looong stretch to say that because Apple and/or the RIAA added your name and email address to a file, they now have copyright protection over your name and email address. You're also making the same assumption of the original article that the purpose of adding that information was to prevent copyright infringement... maybe Apple was just filling up the name and email fields that already existed in the file format because they have a thing for completion. No court in the land.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663959)

I think you misunderstand my point. It's not that Apple/RIAA et al now have copyright on your name, what is relevant is the copyright on the media.

You're also making the same assumption of the original article that the purpose of adding that information was to prevent copyright infringement...
What Apple/RIAA et al intended by adding the user data to the media file is immaterial. What matters is the intent of the company that wrote the software to strip the data. If they intended to facilitate illegal distribution, they can be held liable according to US law -- of course, being a French concern, there are some issues with jurisdiction. Familiarize yourself with the Napster case, and you'll see why this is true.

As to "No court in the land.", see 2. Gershwin Publishing Corp. v. Columbia Artists Management, Inc., 443 F. 2d 1159, 1162 (2d Cir. 1971), which established contributory liability (as used as precedent in the Grokster case):

The standard definition for contributory copyright infringement is when the defendant, "with knowledge of the infringing activity, induces, causes or materially contributes to the infringing conduct of another."
.

Any court in the US could very easily, and would quite likely, find that the publishers of this software induce the infringing conduct of others -- again, depending on how the software is marketed and/or distributed.

Please, do some research before assuming that no court in the land would find against the company. The sad and scary truth is that the media cartels have persuaded the US government to uphold their interests over those of the consumer, with the force of law.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664015)

Fair enough, you obviously know more about the law than I do. But the fact remains that the service this software provides is stupid and pointless, so if they get sued out of existence it doesn't really matter, does it?

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664559)

Well, two issues that I think are of concern:

1. It's a french company, I'd hate to see American law used as justification for a company overseas to get destroyed.

2. It would further cement the undue influence the media cartels have over the US judicial system. It's a little more tenuous than Grokster, but a suit against Privatunes could be upheld, in which case there is further precedent for anyone connected in any way at all to copyright violations to be held liable.

One little step at a time, that's how we lost the rights to our property -- and how we'll lose the rights to our own sensatory experiences.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (1)

Pofy (471469) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663525)

>Because US courts have ruled that a service provided for the purpose
>of breaking copyright is liable for civil damages (see Napster, et al).

And here I thought that the program came from France on a French website talking about French issues for French people and then you bring up US laws... Oh well.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663583)

Sure, because a program made in France is impossible to use in the US. And because Slashdot is (like it or not) a US-centric site.

A little broken and in pieces. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19663865)

"Because US courts have ruled that a service provided for the purpose of breaking copyright is liable for civil damages (see Napster, et al)."

And how does this service "break copyright"? Keeping in mind this is a French service even with the Berne convention.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (2, Insightful)

paintswithcolour (929954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662575)

"4. How the heck do I know it's not gonna be shared on P2P networks by my 6 year old step sister??? "

But surely this software proves how easy it is to change such details anyway...there's no reasonable way you can use a plain text, easily changed header as evidence for any prosecution...otherwise I could load up a load of songs with people I don't like and stick them on P2P.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662685)

The issue isn't 'what' Apple's process involves, it is 'how' Apple has to date failed to apply an otherwise seemingly transparent privacy policy [apple.com] by telling users about it. Apple states their policy has not been updated since 12.2004 - they need to simply add verbiage explaining that certain basic (personal) information tags are routinely created and embedded withing EVERY song in your iTunes library. Disclosure - transparency - fair...simple. Done.

BTW...if you wish to strip said info for whatever reason, these are the atoms you need to target:
  • (apID)
  • (cprt)
  • (iods)

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19663619)

But this hasn't changed since 12.2004...what is your point?

...is this clear? (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664553)

Apple's online Customer Privacy Policy statement [apple.com] * should perhaps include words to the effect of:
"...blahblahblah..."

Apple's CPP, as written in this example, follows the 'who, what, when, where, why' format (more specifically for this case: 'why, what, when, how') of a traditional document designed to provide clear and logical information for the purpose of fulfilling an obligation to the public. The document then goes on to cover protection of the integrity of your info, purpose of cookies & pixel tags and Apple's supposed companywide commitment to user privacy.

The CPP contains 2,084 words and mentions customer service/support, forums, websites, purchases, logons, emails, software updates, market research, data-sharing with law enforcement and third party vendors, people you send gift certificates to and feedback, yet....it does not reveal the simple fact that some of your personal information is embedded in every song you choose to include in your iTunes library. An oversight, I'm sure, but one that in some people's minds casts doubt on the entire CPP. That is a shame, since Apple's legal team seems to have taken such pains as to exhaustively cover as many specific personal use examples as they could come up with. All the price of doing business these days. When they take steps to outline embedded info, not only in songs, but applications, etc., the issue, at least in my thinking, will go away :)

*The linked version I referenced, for those that for whatever reason wish to reverse-assemble my comment/logic, was last modified 12.2004 as noted by Apple. Any version dated otherwise is hereby disqualified in relation to my comment.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (0, Flamebait)

ralph1 (900228) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662759)

Your so full of shit your eyes are brown

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19662851)

. How the heck do I know it's not gonna be shared on P2P networks by my 6 year old step sister??? How do you know the reason the name and email address is there is for tracking file sharers? How do you even know that would stand up in court?

How do you know that you didn't really, really piss me off and I didn't buy iTunes songs, change my name and address to yours, and upload the suckers? It's not like these guys' software is the only tag editor there is.

-mcgrew

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662881)

So how about my list of reasons:
1. Because it's my file and I can do whatever the hell I want with it as long as it's not illegal.

Oh, and this:

It's not "more stupid" than anything. And since Apple is the first entity that's even allowing this possibility at all with mainstream music from mainstream labels on any meaningful scale, I guess I must not recognize your gratitude.
I owe nothing to Apple just as they don't owe nothing to me. I already showed my "gratitude" when I traded my money for their product, just as they showed their "gratitude" by supplying me with said product.

Maybe you think Apple is doing the right thing and you want to reward them for it, but understand that for a lot of other people, this is just business as usual, no morals involved.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663275)

When this crap first came out, I saw that Gartner quote. And my first reaction was, "do these morons realize that iTunes syncs your address book by default? And your own address is in your address book?" Why would the thief have to extract the music file from the iPod (something that isn't trivial for the layman) and go through all the effort of finding the ID3 tags and reading the name, when they could just get the *address* from the iTunes interface?

Not to mention, if he's worried about a stolen iPod, imagine how he'd feel about a stolen laptop or cell phone.

not that I disagree with all of your points... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19663725)

but let me put it this way: my private information is not under any scope of anyone else's digital rights. These rights belong to me and I reserve the right to manage them how I want.

Although I applaud EMI for freeing their music from DRM, I don't see that as enough reason to meet them halfway and compromise a basic privacy privilege.

Re:A little self-important and misguided... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19664593)

My name and email does not belong on _things_ in general, electronic or otherwise. Not on my car's bumper, not on a restroom stall, not on things that I purchase. If the GAP tried to stamp them on every shirt I buy, I don't care how "harmless" that is, it is still against my wishes.

And asking "why not?" is outrageously arrogant. It is none of your fucking business why I don't want my email on things. Stop harassing me about that which I consider private.

Unbelievable. (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662187)

This just pisses me off. Who really cares besides people who just want to immediately dump the file straight to a filesharing network? So it's got my name and email embedded in the file? So what? Apparently unlike a lot of people who are interested in this service, I'm not planning on sending the files to anyone, and if I burn someone a mix CD, the info will be stripped when it's converted to CDA anyhow.

So what's the privacy problem? It's like someone stealing my wallet. Hell yea that's a privacy concern! What's the solution? Someone steals my iPod and they'll be able to figure out my name?!? They'll also be able to figure out what my house, wife, car, and kid look like because of the pictures on the damn thing, and don't even get me going about documents I store on the damn thing...They'll also be able to figure out my Slashdot handle, because the damn thing has "Satanic Puppy" engraved on the back.

So do I actually care that my info is in the file header? Hell no! It's my goddamn file, it should have my goddamn name on it! And if I wanted to go breach some copyright, I'd at least have the stones to strip the info myself. How fricking lazy do you have to be?

When I wanted DRM-free music, I wanted it because I fricking hated not being able to listen to my damn music wherever the hell I wanted to without jumping through hoops. I've got that, and that's all I care about. Far as I'm concerned the service is fine (though a bit pricey).

Re:Unbelievable. (4, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662253)

They'll also be able to figure out my Slashdot handle, because the damn thing has "Satanic Puppy" engraved on the back.

I have avoided that problem by engraving "Anonymous Coward" on mine.

Re:Unbelievable. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19662289)

I have reported you to the police. I should expect to get my stolen iPod back any time now.

Re:Unbelievable. (0, Offtopic)

blake3737 (839993) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662829)

yet you still post with to /. with your account name and not AC :)

Re:Unbelievable. (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663447)

I have avoided that problem by engraving "Anonymous Coward" on mine.


That's weird. I engraved 'niceone (992278)' on mine.

Re:Unbelievable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19663601)

I have avoided that problem by engraving "Anonymous Coward" on mine.

Hey! niceone stole my ipod! Anonymous Coward's my name!

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

nlitement (1098451) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662291)

I, on the other hand, am pissed off because when I hear that I'm getting non-DRM music, I expect it to be consumer-friendly, but INSTEAD, they still use the "prove your innocence" approach, because God forbid spreading music brought from iTunes into P2P networks, like it's the only source of music for P2P networks anyway!

Re:Unbelievable. (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662355)

Oh please. It's non-DRM music in a standard format; that's as consumer friendly as it gets. So you're name's in it, it's not like they're hiding it. It's right out there in the open, and it's easy to remove. If you were buying in good faith, it wouldn't bother you a bit.

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662883)

i've got a question though. are the 3 atoms (apID, cprt, iods) visible in iTunes? i'm pretty sure they're not in XMMS and Winamp. if you got to view/edit the details, only a small list of hardcoded atoms are listed. if not, then out in the open is a bit of a stretch, since no one who wasnt looking for them would ever know they're there.

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

omega_dk (1090143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663375)

The atoms are visible but not editable (in the OSX version at least). So while iTunes isn't exactly helping you change them (and I am in the camp that doesn't really care if my acct info is in the file, as its still DRM free and anyone that disagrees is welcome to buy one of my tracks from me and see if it will play on their computer), it also is not in any way hiding the fact that they are there. And honestly? I'm fine with that.

Re:Unbelievable. (2, Insightful)

jweatherley (457715) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663607)

The two pieces of sekrit data that people seem to get bothered about are plainly visible [imageshack.us] if you 'Get Info' on a track.

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662389)

Please explain specifically how you have been asked to "prove your innocence".

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

mulvane (692631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663901)

In my opinion, the header info IS a way to prove your innocence.. "Look, all my music has MY name on them" or "Those songs were not uploaded to p2p by me, look, my name isn't on them". Personally, I think the info should be hashed into the data somehow and only a encryption key owned by copyright holder should be able to extract that data (with benefit to anyone with knowhow to do this on their own). I don't see this as a huge privacy concern unless you are afraid of telemarketers and such having a scheme to steal ipods or whatever music player you use just to figure out what you listen to and or view.

Get over it people, its a name and account info. Hell, sign up with a throw away.

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662529)

Do you also object to the stupid 'prove you innocence approach' when you're given a receipt for something you purchased at a shop?

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662619)

Well, you're right, it's not the only source. However, it is the only source likely to come with complete file tags, album art, and 256bit high definition encoding. There's not a lot of stuff out there dubbed from high def studio masters. Also, if they're traded an AAC format instead of MP3, the iPod gets better battery life playing them back. Sure, you can encode in AAC to start with, but guess what, then your personal info is in those files ANYWAY.

Oh yea, btw, any file you personally create on a Windows machine gets your personal info inserted into the file anyway. Check the properties on any file, select the summary tab, and click advanced. Any information you entered when installing or activating windows, including your name or user name and your company name (Most people put their full name or family name in the company field and their first name is their login). The headers of most files, including PDFs you create and most Microsoft documents also include this identification.

Now, who really cares if this information is in a file? Well, if you get hacked or infected with a virus, they already have this information. They don't need to strip it from a AAC file. In fact, log into any web server and it can ask Windows for this information and more, including your e-mail, software versions, browser type, IP, and much more sensitive information than a name and apple account e-mail address. The only people who care at all about the existence of this information are people who will give these files to other people, which is against the law. Where the law is concerned, once you break it, anonymity no longer exists.

It's not illegal, or even immoral for apple to tag these files. They're not tracking them or reporting when they're used on other non-authorized computers. They're only giving the RIAA and government organizations a fingerprint to track you by. Get this outlawed and next you'll have courts saying that organizations can't use your fingerprint or other biometric as an access code. Worse, we've got people trying to outlaw DNA tracking by the federal government. You can't have both a free safe society and complete anonymity at the same time. These things are mutually exclusive.

Re:Unbelievable. (4, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662317)

My question is, why encode their name and all, like that? Why not put some random number in, and then have some table that only Apple has, that matches that number to their information? Or would that be just as bad from the privacy standpoint? "Hey, someone might steal my iPod, extract the random number from the file, break into Apple's database, look up my information, and then have all the information they need to use my now-canceled credit cards or report me for illegally-shared files."

Re:Unbelievable. (4, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663249)

Why? Because then people would be up in arms about apple tracking them based on some secret hidden number embedded in their songs. hackers woudl make big announcements about having located the secrect customer ID number and everyone would bash them for including it in the first place. And I would be replying to someone on /. who was asking "well, if they wanted to keep track of who had bought what, why didn't they just include the name or e-mail in plain text or something?"

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

macheath (87915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663863)

I agree totally. They could have just put in something like a serial number and that would be it. I don't have a problem with that. Track it via a database if need be and be done with it. That's what VIN in cars are used for, for instance. Call me paranoid, but I don't like to have my name and email encoded in some piece of software / music / whatever, especially if it is available on a not necessarily secure WiFi enabled iPod (yeah, I'm thinking a bit into the future).

Re:Unbelievable. (2, Insightful)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662327)

Ok, here's my take on it:

My iPod has no identification markings... if I lose it, I write it off as a loss. It's an expensive habit, but I'm more paranoid than most. The only pictures I have on it are inside a knoppix encrypted disk. This is breakable with enough time (it's only AES-128) but I am comfortable that anyone stealing my iPod either doesn't have the knowledge/power to do this, or is already onto me for whatever I've done and I'm screwed anyway... so all you can see on my iPod at this point is an encrypted image file, and all my music. My music has all my info pushed into it and I have to expend a significant effort to strip this information out (not really a problem for me, because I consider it a good use of time for the sake of that extra level of security), whereas something transparently doing it for me makes it a LOT easier to acheive this level of privacy. Something like jhymn [hymn-project.org] is quite useful, but its one step more than will potentially be needed by the end-user.

I don't advocate piracy of any kind, namely because anyone pirating my software is preventing me from getting paid that little bit extra (and it *is* only a little bit), but its not just piracy that is causing the DRM removal trend.

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662585)

This is breakable with enough time (it's only AES-128)


Ummm... While AES-128 is indeed breakable with "enough time", (as are all encryption schemes other than a one-time pad), I don't think you will be around long enough to really care. Even at 2^64 operations a second, It would still take an average of 2^63 seconds to crack, or about 200 billion years.


I would worry more about someone infecting your machine with a key-logger (hardware logger since you use Knoppix) or torturing you until you give it up.

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662371)

Someone steals my iPod and they'll be able to figure out my name?!?
Someone steals your iPod/hacks your computer/whatever and spreads the music on p2p networks, prompting the RIAA to sue you to hell and back (if they have closed Gitmo by then, that is).

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662479)

If someone steals my wallet I'll be in for far more bother than that. 5 credit cards, my bank account numbers, my drivers license, my insurance card which conveniently contains my SSN, actual money, my big ass list of systems passwords which are "encrypted" but which an intelligent person could read if they put their mind to it because SOME of the passwords were designed by morons.

Hell, if they start sharing my music, I'd have a better chance of catching the bastard!

Re:Unbelievable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19662567)

...my big ass list of systems passwords which are "encrypted" but which an intelligent person could read if they put their mind to it...

So you ROT13 the password list you carry in your wallet?

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662765)

Not even that sexy. I worked out a polyalphabetic I could do in my head, but it's not sufficient to seriously protect against a determined attempt. Whole lot of security through obscurity, and some of the passwords are vulnerable to a partial dictionary attack; those passwords were not my choice, I'm afraid. Most of my passwords would be hard to decrypt just because they look about the same either way.

Blah blah paranoia.

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

ghoti (60903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662377)

Exactly. It's like claiming that having your name and date of birth in your passport is a privacy issue.

This is the kind of reaction that will make the music industry reconsider this whole DRM-free thing, and certainly hurt other companies' moves in that direction. And it shows what's really behind a lot of that anti-DRM rhetoric.

Re:Unbelievable. (2, Insightful)

MC Negro (780194) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663191)

Excellent post, BTW.

So what's the privacy problem? It's like someone stealing my wallet. Hell yea that's a privacy concern! What's the solution? Someone steals my iPod and they'll be able to figure out my name?!? They'll also be able to figure out what my house, wife, car, and kid look like because of the pictures on the damn thing, and don't even get me going about documents I store on the damn thing...They'll also be able to figure out my Slashdot handle, because the damn thing has "Satanic Puppy" engraved on the back.

It's really disappointing to me that Apple's efforts as a de facto liaison for legal online music sales are frequently met with criticism by people who seem to want something for nothing. I'm especially annoyed by people who insist on calling this kind of information tracking "DRM" - it really dilutes the term, and IMHO, diminishes from the serious issues associated with real DRM. Digg is rife with idiots whining about how Apple just needs to "trust" their users and how this sort of tracking "violates" their "privacy" (READ: Hinders their ability to indiscriminately share without any consequences).

For a lot of these people, the issue of FairPlay and DRM was never about playing their music under Linux or on their iRiver or whatever other legitimate issues DRM presented. It was about DRM doing exactly what it was designed to do - prevent mass-distribution of copyrighted material to non-licensees. So these people latched onto the anti-DRM movement as a means to an end. I submit to the community that we should NOT let these freeloaders taint the efforts made to solve legitimate issues with DRM. They will never be satisfied with Apple's or anyone elses efforts to address our concerns until iTMS sells all music in lossless FLACs at $.01/Megabyte with a personal liability waiver and distribution rights to 1000 of their closest Internet pals - and even then, they'll still torrent music, "just to see if I like it".

I never - in a million years - thought we'd see major label catalog, DRM-free music. And now some dweebs are giving RIAA execs ammo because they don't want to be held responsible for their actions. To said dweebs, please just go download your music with a torrent. You're ruining this for the rest of us. Oh yeah, and for the love of Christ, come off that "BUT WOT IF MY SISTAR SHAREZ IT ON P2P?? THEN WOTT??!?!" bullshit. Chances are, if you're savvy enough to care about the "privacy" associated with user data embedded into a binary file, you're savvy enough to take the precautions necessary to prevent your sister/roommate/friend from mass-distributing your music library.

Don't like it? Don't use it. (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663505)

I'm not sure why it would piss you off that someone has released a free (as in beer, but soon to be released with source code, according to their website) app to clean out a couple of personal details in your music files? You don't have to download it or use it, but some people might want to. Not necessarily so that they can share the files on the Internet or anywhere else, but just for their own piece of mind. Atomic Parsley, which can be used to edit the metadata in mp4/aac files, has already had this ability in a simple command line form. I figured it wouldn't be long before someone slapped a limited GUI on it for just this purpose. Really, it's a good thing for people who want it (and obviously people do, because there has been a fair sized outcry over this whole iTunes Plus situation). For people who aren't concerned, don't bother with it. And stop complaining.

Do things like Tor and TrueCrypt bother you too?

Re:Don't like it? Don't use it. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663795)

Strawman. Obviously I am out to steal your privacy and deny you encryption, because the ridiculous outrage attendant on some easily removed metadata pisses me off. Grow up. I never even suggested it should be shut down, that's just your read on the situation.

What makes me angry are the people who have the sheer audacity to be pissed off that their DRM-free music has their fricking name on it. Not in it, not watermarked to it, no, just on it. It's the single biggest industry concession in the history of commercial online file distribution, and it's a damn good one, a good faith effort.

The group of people who are most likely to hit this site are people who are probably not acting in good faith...the real hardcore privacy junkies can already do this stuff themselves.

So pardon me if I'm not all giddy that copyright infringing 13 year olds now have a nifty tool at their disposal. It wouldn't take much to reverse this DRM-free music experiment, and I'd really rather not see that happen.

Re:Unbelievable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19664075)

You have no concept of what identity theft is about. None.

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664137)

Privacy isn't the real concern in itself.

The main concern I've had is that if someone finds my lost iPod or steals it, copies the files off of it and file shares it. Given the RIAA's propensity of suing people with only circumstantial evidence of file sharing, it's not really a risk I want to take, and I don't want them to find files "linking" me to trading that I didn't do.

Interesting how it will go (1)

hsdpa (1049926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662281)

I am really interested in if the site will live a long life...
I guess someone will take it down, because they are modifying purchased material.

It's proof of purchase for future lossless upgrade (2, Informative)

gig (78408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662293)

If you want to upgrade your 256 kbit/s AAC to lossless in a couple of years then leave the proof of purchase IN your iTunes Plus tracks. It enables iTunes to tell that you bought the track from iTunes Store. If you use this app on your iTunes Plus tracks you will be buying lossless for full price like a newbie.

Re:It's proof of purchase for future lossless upgr (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662407)


  If you use this app on your iTunes Plus tracks you will be buying lossless for full price like a newbie.


Can't you keep a non-modified copy for this purpose?

Re:It's proof of purchase for future lossless upgr (3, Insightful)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662419)

Putting back an arbitrary ID in the file can't be much harder than removing the original one, therefore, the simple existence of such tool makes this marking a very weak proof of purchase, so I suspect that Apple will only trust their own server logs.

Re:It's proof of purchase for future lossless upgr (1)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662773)

I think most companies already keep track of what they sell and to whom. It's called accounting.

Re:It's proof of purchase for future lossless upgr (1)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662797)

> If you want to upgrade your 256 kbit/s AAC to lossless in a couple of years then leave the proof of purchase IN your iTunes Plus
> tracks. It enables iTunes to tell that you bought the track from iTunes Store. If you use this app on your iTunes Plus tracks
> you will be buying lossless for full price like a newbie

Gee, if only there was some way of writing plaintext information to AAC atoms. Unfortunately, consumers don't have access to the supercomputer clusters Apple must use to write a few lines of text to a metadata tag, cementing their bullet-proof proof of purchase scheme.

You fail it. (It is deserving an "Informative" tag.)

Re:It's proof of purchase for future lossless upgr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19663005)

There's no reason to include the information in the file. They already know what they sold to you. Counting on the client to tell Apple what songs the consumer has purchased would be a very stupid decision anyways. That would be easy to spoof.

The way they would handle an upgrade to lossless is the way they already handled the upgrade to 256 kbit. They knew what they sold you so they let you purchase the upgrade and download it again. You didn't even need the file in your library to do this.

France folks, FRANCE (3, Informative)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662301)

IANAFL* but here come a 100 comments and criticisms based entirely on sketchy understandings of American copyright law, none of which have any relevance in France.


* I Am Not A French Lawyer

Re:France folks, FRANCE (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662695)

Yes, because software and websites made in France can only be accessed from there, and therefore would only be of interest to the French. Good catch.

How the hell did this get modded 'informative'? 'Interesting' or 'Under-rated' I could grudgingly admit that some people might find it, but 'informative'??

Re:France folks, FRANCE (1)

Keith_Beef (166050) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663307)

Yes, because software and websites made in France can only be accessed from there, and therefore would only be of interest to the French.

Your sarcasm is noted and appreciated for its just value.

But you seem to want the whole world to adopt and enforce US copyright and contract law...

Beef.

Re:France folks, FRANCE (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663973)

Want that? Good Lord, no! I want the opposite. I want Copyright Law to be sane everywhere. So far, it's seems to be sane -nowhere-.

I'm not against providing a bit of assurance to creators. But anything more than a few years is absolutely ridiculous. On the other hand, no copyright is just as ridiculous.

Re:France folks, FRANCE (2, Insightful)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662717)

IANAFL either, but from a french perspective, our copyright laws look so close to yours they were probably plagiarized.

Re:France folks, FRANCE (1)

Keith_Beef (166050) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662983)

Absolutely correct.

The Ratiatum explanation http://www.ratiatum.com/news5257_EXCLUSIF_Privatun es_pour_supprimer_les_espions_d_iTunes_Plus.html [ratiatum.com] is more pertinent that those quotes from http://www.privatunes.com/ [privatunes.com] that Apple Fanboy DaveSchroeder quotes in his first post (though I admit that the Ratiatum text is still less than elegant).

Remembering that this discusses the case of a hypothetical French consumer, the most pertinent facts are:

  • if I download for a fee a file from iTunes, then I have bought it and it has now become my property;
  • if I decide after some time to sell the file to somebody else, then I have every right to do so;
  • if the subsequent owner chooses to distribute numerous copies of this file in violation of some other law, this is not my responsibility.

There are some goods whose possession and sale are strictly regulated, so that at any moment the government can trace who possesses them. The two examples that spring to mind are firearms and motor vehicles.

But these are articles that are either high value and heavily taxed (providing the gov't with a regular revenue), or are considered dangerous, or are both high value and dangerous.

Books, CDs, music files fit into neither category.

The simplest, most elegant way to ensure my right as a private individual to be able to sell surplus books, CDs and other "products of the human mind" (French legal term is something like "oeuvre d'esprit") is to make their possession and occasional trade by private individuals both free and anonymous.

Apple and the recording houses have the choice between these two options:

  1. provide a free-of-charge marketplace that allows me to sell a file, replacing my own name in the file with that of the new owner;
  2. accept that people will find ways to assert their right to transfer files without being permanently linked to the file by having their names embedded in them.

I find it particularly amusing that the principles of liberal trade and libertarianism supposedly so dear to Americans, should be exemplified by the French and vilified by so many Americans whenever we mention Apple and its restrictive practices.

Beef.

Re:France folks, FRANCE (1)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663341)

You seem pretty confident about that. I'm not sure, but it seems possible to me that by selling its product in the US, the company establishes sufficient contacts for the US courts to assert jurisdiction.

Re:France folks, FRANCE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19664595)

Just because you are French does not mean you are not subject to American copyright laws if you buy American products. Our Constitution applies to ALL human beings across the planet.

Freely share? (3, Insightful)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662319)

Freely share downloaded music from iTunes? Did they abolish copyright law in France? I had no idea!

Seriously, while this software may be considered legal, there is little reason to use it unless you are planning to share your music or are deathly afraid of someone stealing your iPod or computer.

Of course, if you are afraid of someone stealing your iPod, what security measures do you use against someone stealing your wallet? Are all your credit cards and your photo ID without your name?

Re:Freely share? (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662421)

Freely share downloaded music from iTunes? Did they abolish copyright law in France? I had no idea!
Well, seeing as the current law stems from an absinthe dream Victor Hugo had... On a more serious note, it's perfectly legal in most European countries to share music with a few friends, the exact number varies from country to country. Now, you mail a friend a copy of a song, he sends it on and suddenly the local version of the RIAA tears you a new, roomy, asshole. It's all fun and games until information gets on the loose, isn't it?

Where is the abuse? (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662329)

What's not "private" about files stored on your own hard drive? Everyone else's drive is beyond the boundaries of fair use, so they won't ever show up there, right?

Re:Where is the abuse? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662425)

But what happens when you "accidentally" dump your whole music folder to a p2p network...Why, someone might sue you, just because you infringed on their copyright! Typical Apple! They hate everyone but big business!

Blah blah blah. This shows you who is really in it because they hate the inconvenience of DRM, and who is just too stupid to figure out how to share music with easily cracked DRM on it.

Re:Where is the abuse? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663037)

Either it really is a Powerbook, in which case you wouldn't bother "correcting" anyone, or it's really a Macbook Pro. As the latter is more likely, you are just a fucking asshole that is so married to a fucking marketing term that your life has absolutely no meaning what so ever.

Just remember.... (0)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662405)

There are only a few letters difference between "privacy" and "piracy"

Head in the sand... (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662545)

"Last month's revelations that the DRM-free files sold by EMI on iTunes Plus came with user's full name and account e-mail embedded in them..."

Revelation to whom? People who had their head jammed in the sand for the past few years? That information has been in iTunes purchases for years - it's nothing new. Anyone shocked by this "revelation" needs to change their calendar because they're a bit behind...

Non-issues and real issues (4, Insightful)

richardtallent (309050) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662547)

I write my name in books when I buy them, and I've never considered the "privacy concern" of erasing it when selling the book, because the buyer already knows who I am. We wanted DRM-free music, we got it. The only people complaining are the cheap bastards who want to share the files over P2P.

Can we please start complaining about privacy issues that actually matter, like the fact that iPhone users' only service option is the same monopoly that was and is spying on the majority of all of our Internet traffic, without a court order or Congressional oversight?

Re:Non-issues and real issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19662855)

"The only people complaining are the cheap bastards who want to share the files over P2P"

If they wanted to shave via P2P they'd buy the CD, rip it, share it and then return it. Digital files are a bit harder to sell. I've never seen a service that will buy them for resale.

Re:Non-issues and real issues (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663065)

It might not be nice, but it's not illegal for AT&T to peek at traffic going over their network(s). The illegal bit comes with sharing it with the Government, as the Government is supposed to require a warrent for this type of thing. I do agree that it's morally reprehensible in any event.

Re:Non-issues and real issues (1)

Admiral Frosty (919523) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663337)

Do you right your email address in your books too?

Re:Non-issues and real issues (1)

richardtallent (309050) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663965)

Uhm, yes, actually. If I lose a book somewhere, the finder has a way to contact me.

My web site URI, home address, email addresses, and phone numbers are all published. I'm not a celebrity, so I don't consider these "private" information.

If iTunes were storing biometric information, passwords, SSN, etc. in the files, that's a problem, but this is equivalent to writing your name on a CD or engraving it on some piece of equipment you might resell someday.

Re:Non-issues and real issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19663659)

Removing your name/email from a file that you purchased is not synonymous with piracy.

The only people complaining are the cheap bastards who want to share the files over P2P.
So purchasing an mp3 makes someone cheap? Why would someone who spent money on a product be an automatic pirate?

I am a cheap bastard and frankly, fuck itunes, i use emule. At least apple is getting some money from someone.

Surely this breaks.....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19662687)

Article 5 of the French 'Code de la Proprietre Intellectualle'?

And what about the 'Paysanne Amburte vs L'Etate (Loire-Dessus}1998?

These should surely be required reading for any slash-dotter who wants to comment on this radical move on the part of French Resistance?

Give me a day or so and I'll see if I can't dig up some translations of the above. But I'm sure you can read French like a native, so you can start checking here: http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/WAspad/ListeCodes [legifrance.gouv.fr]

This is sure to get us somewhere (4, Insightful)

Mikey-San (582838) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662791)

Note: The following comments are made without any knowledge of French DRM, privacy, or consumer laws. As a result, this post isn't commentary on legalities. Just idiocy.

Privatunes is aimed at guaranteeing the privacy of users but also their rights as consumers to freely share and trade the songs they have purchased.

Apple finally gives nerds what they've been shouting for--higher-quality DRM-free songs--and this is how the community responds? By anonymizing purchased music so people can pirate it? These guys are class-A asshats.

Last month's revelations that the DRM-free files on iTunes Plus came with user's full name and account e-mail embedded in them had raised serious privacy concerns.

How is someone supposed to steal the name and e-mail address from songs you aren't passing around to all of your buddies and the Internet? Oh, wait. Hasn't the Apple ID info been inside iTunes tracks since the beginning of the iTMS, anyway?

Re:This is sure to get us somewhere (1)

wherrera (235520) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664339)

Actually, there are certain MP3/AAC players (Nokia phones an example) that cannot play iTunes Plus files until the personal data atoms are at least changed, if not removed, from the file's mp4a atom. Breaking the Nokia AAC player for those files was likely NOT Apple's intention, but the fact remains, there IS therefore at least one legitimate reason for such apps.

Re:This is sure to get us somewhere (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664353)

Privatunes is aimed at guaranteeing the privacy of users but also their rights as consumers to freely share and trade the songs they have purchased.
If that quote didn't include the word "share" would you still have a problem with it?

Because AFAIK, trading digital files is no different than trading pokemon cards or pogs.

Point and laugh (1)

realinvalidname (529939) | more than 7 years ago | (#19662909)

...at whoever thinks this eliminates all traces of your identity from a file. Your info could be encoded 50 different ways in the file, and if this app only scrubs 49 of them before you send the file to your friends on BitTorrent -- and seriously, what other point is there to this? -- then you're still hosed.

Re:Point and laugh (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663237)

unlikely. i'm pretty sure in an earlier article, someone posted a link to some guy that compared the media portion of the same file purchased twice, with two accounts, from iTunes plus (anyone have the link?). they were identical, so there's no steganography involved. the only other way is the metadata, and people looking at the metadata will find anything else that's hidden there.

it's pretty easy to check. diff file1 file2. if there was anything else fishy in the files, i'm sure we wouldve heard about it by now.

So does the Audio:M4P::QuickTime perl module (4, Informative)

vtkstef (97506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663127)

the method name is CleanAppleM4aPersonalData(). Here is an example on how to use it:

#!/usr/bin/perl
##
# A N O N C P . P L
#
# a script that takes the unix cp file specification options
#
# perl anoncp.pl source_file target_file
# perl anoncp.pl source_file ... target_directory
#
# which reads the source file(s) and copies them to the
# destination stripped of all the user identification gunk
# that apple adds on iTunes "DRM free" songs
#
# NB: make sure you install the latest version of the
# most excellent Audio::M4P::QuickTime perl module.
##

use strict;
use warnings;

use Carp;
use File::Basename;

use Audio::M4P::QuickTime;

my $usage = q{
usage:
        perl anoncp.pl source_file target_file
        perl anoncp.pl source_file ... target_directory
};

@ARGV >=2 || croak "not enough files specified", $usage;

my $destDN = pop(@ARGV);
my $destFN = $destDN if (! -d $destDN && @ARGV == 1);

$destDN = dirname($destFN) if( $destFN);

-d $destDN || croak $destDN, ": is not a directory", $usage;
(-r $destDN && -w _) || croak $destDN, ": cannot access ", $usage;

$destDN =~ s{ (?new( file => $m4aFN);
        $qt->FindAtom("mp4a") || croak "$m4aFN: not a mpeg 4 file\n\t";

        $qt->CleanAppleM4aPersonalData();

        $toFN = $destFN ? $destFN : $destDN . basename($m4aFN);
        $qt->WriteFile($toFN);
}

0;

I want a tool for EMBEDDING my identity into files (3, Funny)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#19663355)

...so that when the jackbooted RIAA thugs break down my door at 3 a.m. in the morning I can point to the embedded ID as proof of ownership.

wtf (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19663415)

some people just cant be pleased! apple hands freedom back to music fans and they almost get their hand bitten off by cheese eating surrendur monkies!

anyone for some freedom fries :)

Why it does not matter for Apple (1)

sebster (62996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664021)

If you really want to share a file, just go buy the CD, rip it, and put it online.

Futhermore I seriously doubt most people who buy music at the iTunes store
1) are going to know that this software exists
2) are going to care that this software exists
3) are going to run this software so they can share their music

Finally, Apple could easily (and might already) use digital watermarking to add personal information to the music file, which is a lot harder to remove (no I did not say impossible).

Basically, if they can make sharing iTunes files a bigger hassle than buying/ripping a physical CD and publishing that, the DRM is still effective.

That said, this software does matter for iTunes users. If you lose your iPod or your machine gets p4wned and your files get shared without you knowing, at least this software can make sure your name is not in the files in an easily readable format anymore.

Uh, what rights? (1)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664119)

Privatunes is aimed at guaranteeing the privacy of users but also rights as consumers to freely share and trade the songs they have purchased.
Lack of DRM doesn't magically give you the right to "freely share and trade". May as well call it Piratunes.

Seriously not Serious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19664165)

From the summary (with emphasis added):

"Last month's revelations that the DRM-free files sold by EMI on iTunes Plus came with user's full name and account e-mail embedded in them had raised serious privacy concerns."

Serious privacy concerns? You want serious concerns, subscribe to the EFF's mailing list [eff.org] . If Apple was embedding your credit card or social security number in the file, that'd be serious. Or did you perhaps mean to write "raised ridiculous privacy concerns"?

Perhaps it's a red herring? (1)

TheRealElbadoo (861484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664533)

Just a theory here: Maybe they want you to find and remove the plaintext data. That way you don't notice the watermarking that contains the encrypted form of the same information.

Has anyone verified if two DRM-free downloads of the same song by different people are otherwise identical after having been stripped of the plaintext identifiers?

Interesting conundrum for EMI (1)

bflynn (992777) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664579)

I can hear it now from EMI - "Hey, under the DMCA, you can't circumvent digital management." "Oh, wait. This wasn't DRM. Never mind."

This is retarded. (1)

samwh (921444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19664599)

"Anonymize iTunes tracks"? All it does is strip out metadata. You can do this yourself with one basicially any application that either remuxes, converts the stream, or alters tag/meta information. Pretty much any music player out there. Hell, even Apple's own iTunes can do this! I could understand the use if it could do batch processing on your entire iTunes library, but this tool cannot even do that.
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