iTunes Plus: Minus DRM, But Plus Price And Tracking Info

from the we-don't-really-trust-you-that-much dept

As was announced last month, Apple finally has started selling some EMI tunes through iTunes without DRM, but with an additional $0.30 in the price. Apparently there are some glitches, but perhaps that’s not too surprising. A more interesting point, however, was submitted by John, who notes that while the DRM is gone, in its place is metadata about who bought the song. In other words, should you take a non-DRM’d file bought at iTunes and pass it on to someone else or put it on a file sharing network, it would be possible for someone to track you down (though, there would be no evidence that you purposely distributed the file). It’s basically a poor-man’s DRM, like watermarking technology, that is designed to scare you off from sharing the music. Not too surprising, really, but continues to show how the industry is confused about the promotional value of its own music.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “iTunes Plus: Minus DRM, But Plus Price And Tracking Info”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Scruffy Dan (user link) says:

Re: what happens when you loose your ipod

since music files tend to be stored on portable devices, and portable devices are occasionally lost, this will affect more than just pirates.

What apple should have done is encrypted the personal information, and kept the keys. This way apple (or its partners) could track whose files end up on P2P, but peoples personal information is not exposed if they loose their iPod

Walking Dude says:

Sometimes this site really stretches for controver

Every song purchased from iTunes has this “meta data” attached to it. Right click and choose get info and there it is. The Hymn project left it in by default, too. This isn’t suppose to free you to distribute this content for free – it frees you to use the files in anyway you choose, which is what all these anti-DRM folks say they want (and are now complaining about this … hmmm).

Trey says:

Re: It isn't?

Actually, sometimes, thats exactly what promotion is. Give product away to one customer, so another buys it. Or giving one part of the product away, so the customer buys the other part. Or giving a lower quality version of the product to the customer, so the customer pays to upgrade it. All these methods are use in other buisnesses and other media, why not music? The reason file sharing and such is so huge now if because there is no mainstream, rational “legal” offer of this. In this day of age its “give us what we want or we will find a way to get it”. Also, if it wasn’t for the ability to copy tapes and give them to friends, MANY bands and even genres of music would not exsist. The music industry is a dinosaur, and either needs to evolve or die out.

Starky (user link) says:

Good thing

I think that this is actually a good thing. I mean, it doesn’t stop you from doing what you want with your music, it just means that if you do spread it around, the company knows who it was that sent it, and can decide whether or not to go after them.
It also can work to the advantage of file-sharers, because they can show how many times the song was uploaded by them, and how far it was spread. The RIAA wouldn’t be able to say that there was millions of dollars of damage caused if there was only 5 people who downloaded it. Also, they couldn’t go after random people anymore for uploading, because they could see who it was that shared it.

just some guy says:


It is easily altered if it’s a huge concern for some reason, but I don’t see the problem.

It might be enough to alter the file hash so my copy of Justin Timberlake’s latest craptastrophe and your copy don’t appear to be the same file on a P2P network, but then if I already bought it, why do I care about it’s P2P compatibility?

Matt (profile) says:

Nit Picking

I really think that too much is being made about the iTunes meta-data. After years of abuse, consumers have finally won a huge victory with iTunes Plus. For the first time ever, we can legally purchase music online, sans DRM, from a major record label. It’s taken us nearly a decade to reach this point. Let’s not spoil it by stressing over minor details.

Trey says:

Baby food

Not stressing the small things is what got us into this mess. In the time we have had CD technology,20-25 years,previous generations evolved 3-4 seperate media types. Wonder why? CD’s are very cheap, have no moving parts, and scratch easily. Scratches mean we have to either make multible copies of the CD, or buy a new one. Either way makes someone money. Where is the flash ram in music stores? Mini-disc? Or even a music downloader machine you can plug your ipod into? No where, because CD’s make them more money. So yes, having a scratched cd, or a bit of data on your file may be a small thing. But small things are what they feed us until we eventually swallow it all.

low res says:

Re: Baby food

20-25 years,previous generations evolved 3-4 seperate media types

CDs are easier to destroy than older types of media? cassettes and 8-tracks jammed, could be eaten by the player or even the tape could be scratched. Vinyl LPs could be scratched or cracked. I’m sure the same went for wax and aluminum cylinders before that although i would not know from personal experience. And before cylinders, there was no recordable media so there was only a few innovations before cds: cylinders, vinyl records and magnetic tape.

Either way makes someone money.

someone has always made money off the sale of recorded music (its why they make the albums to begin with) and for most of the history of recorded music, there was no way for you to make a perfect copy of the music you bought, not until the cd and the pc.

Where is the flash ram in music stores? Mini-disc? Or even a music downloader machine you can plug your ipod into?

Flash ram is too expensive. They tried selling mini-discs in stores with music on them and nobody bought them. And your music downloader machine for your ipod is your pc with ituneson it. Why would you go to a store to do something you can already do at home.

The whole point of havin a DRM-free file is so you can use it on any device you own easily and without restrictions. Your name being in the metadata does nothing to hamper that. All it would hamper is you sharing it online anonymously, and then only if you are too lazy to edit your info out of the metadata.

Trey says:

Re: Re: Baby food

>cassettes and 8-tracks jammed, could be eaten by the player or even the tape could be scratchedsomeone has always made money off the sale of recorded music (its why they make the albums to begin with)Flash ram is too expensive. They tried selling mini-discs in stores with music on them and nobody bought them.

The infamous Joe says:


Bottom line: DRM-free doesn’t mean that Apple suddenly supports piracy.

It’s kind of funny that the RIAA has succeeded in its black propaganda to where people actually need to be told that DRM-free != Supporting Piracy.

I think the fact that this tag is so easily removed/altered says that Apple didn’t keep it there to thwart anything– unless they’re worried that my grandma is file-sharing.

whiner says:

remember the real pirates

This is great for the purchaser, no license file to lose and the like. the metadata doesn’t bother me as long as my address is not there and I can put the file on any player I wish. Those who wish to share with no trace can buy the CD and rip it for that purpose.

Either way the real pirates, selling the cd’s for $ on the streets will not be bothered. Everyone is always referring to the file sharing crowd as pirates, and while strictly speaking that is true. They are not gaining and money from the sharing. If there is any loss to the record label’s income it is a drop in the bucket compared to the illegal sale of CD’s.

Overcast says:

Sorry, but the “War on the Consumer” from the Entertainment industry still has me to pissed off to buy music. It’s gonna take all this stuff going away and then further time after that for me to get over the RIAA’s holy war against consumers.

Sorry, look at it anyway you want – putting rootkits on CD’s that people have BOUGHT, is quite an offensive gesture, IMO.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Electronic Frontier Foundation (May 31, 2007, Convert to MP3 BEFORE Upgrading to iTunes 7.2!) is reporting that: “Adding to previous revelations about the latest version of Apple’s iTunes software, Playlist is reporting that the iTunes 7.2 (necessary for the so-called DRM-free iTunes Plus tracks) has broken the “buy-burn-rip-to-MP3” procedure that iTunes users have long relied on to convert the FairPlay-restricted songs they buy from the iTunes Store into unrestricted MP3s. Apparently, after the iTunes 7.2 “upgrade,” MP3s created in this way will no longer play on your iPod!

The infamous Joe says:

Joke's on you!

Haha, the article that Steve R. points out is great, even thought I have no idea how itunes can tell if a song has been burned or not, but one line highlights all that is wrong with DRM:

While cumbersome, the “buy-burn-rip-to-MP3” workaround has been the primary way to start with a 99 cent iTunes download and end up with an unrestricted MP3 that will play on your Squeezebox, your non-iPod portables, or your MP3-enabled DVD player (it’s not about “piracy” — if that was your bag, you’d have started by downloading the song as an MP3 from the myriad P2P options).

The point is, DRM is only hurting the people who buy the music, the “honest” customers. Those that download illegally don’t get affected at all.

Haha, the joke is on you, “honest” customers! Next time, maybe you’ll skip all the nonsense and just download illegally. 😛

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...