Wait, Do Copyright Holders Love Or Hate iTunes Music Match?

from the it's-wonderful!-it's-terrible! dept

We’ve already discussed the pointlessness of arguing over whether or not iTunes new Music Match service “legalizes” infringement. It does not. No one cared about the files on anyone’s hard drive, so this doesn’t make one whit of difference. Besides, my hard drive has tons of music that wasn’t purchased on iTunes, but was ripped (legally) from CDs I own. How can anyone tell the difference? On top of that, if for some reason, someone actually did care about the files on a hard drive, the fact that there were copies from the “iCloud” wouldn’t “legitimize” the files at all.

And yet… it’s kinda funny to see the varying reactions to all of this, especially from the copyright holders themselves. On the one hand, we have a Forbes story highlighting how the IFPI loves the new service:

IFPI?s chief executive, Frances Moore, told me via email that iTunes Match was ?good news for music consumers and for the legitimate digital music business. It is the latest example of music companies embracing new technology, licensing new services that respect copyright and responding to the new ways consumers want to access and enjoy music.?

Yet, apparently not all copyright holders are so thrilled. aguywhoneedstenbucks points us to a different article, where the guy who holds the rights to Jimi Hendrix’s music in Australia appears to be pretty upset about the whole thing:

Brisbane-based intellectual property lawyer Ken Philp said iTunes Match provided a means for people to “launder” pirated music, as it would substitute a pirated track on a person’s hard drive for a legitimate version accessed from the cloud.

Mr Philip, who is retained to defend the intellectual property rights of Jimi Hendrix’s collections in Australia, said iTunes Match had the potential to legitimise pirated collections and encourage more piracy.

That makes little sense. As we’ve already pointed out there’s no real legal benefit to moving your songs to the iCloud. Of course, it’s not too hard to figure out the real backstory here. Apple paid out about $150 million upfront to the major labels — the companies represented by the IFPI. So of course the IFPI is happy about it. Folks like Mr. Philp, however, didn’t get any cash, so of course he’s upset. But, it’s not like he was going to get random cash from some new source anyway, so it’s not clear what he’s complaining about.

As an interesting contrast, that Forbes article above quotes former Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde pointing out how silly Music Match is:

Peter Sunde, co-founder of file-sharing site The Pirate Bay says iTunes Match marks a big step towards consumers losing control of their media. The problem isn?t the $25, it?s that it doesn?t make sense to pay Apple, with its closed-source system, to gain access to music you?ve downloaded. More crucial than that, he says, is what that could mean for the future of sharing music.

Sunde cites Spotify as an example. The music-streaming service does let you share music links with your friends, but they must have a Spotify account to hear them. People who use Spotify have already stopped sharing and keeping their songs, he says. ?In the end if people are dependent enough on the services, there will be no more copies [on local drives].?

Sunde later warns that relying on Apple may backfire for people, if it suddenly decides to “remove” tracks it believes don’t belong there.

On the whole, I tend to agree with Sunde on this. First of all, I don’t see how this legitimizes “piracy” at all — as explained above. I also don’t see it as being all that compelling. Almost all of the features Apple offers I already have set up through alternative means. And I’m not clear why I should pay Apple $25/year to gain access to the music I already paid for.

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Comments on “Wait, Do Copyright Holders Love Or Hate iTunes Music Match?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Except, you (or I) seem to misunderstand the system. The idea is that they only upload tracks they don’t have in their library. Therefore, I keep all my local tracks local, and the 25 bucks, is so that I can access all 125 gigs of music on my PC from my phone which is only 16 gigs. Sounds worth 25 bucks to me.

To be honest, I think arguing about the location of a digital file is worthless anyway as they have no real value or resale value.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

The Dog and the Wolf

“Almost all of the features Apple offers I already have set up through alternative means.”

Yeah, but the same has been said of the iPhone: “All the features and hardware of the iPhone are things [some phone maker] had before.” True dat, but it is the fact that Apple puts these things together in an easy-to-use package that makes it a mass market success.

I, like you, am an uber-geek that has cobbled together some fairly cool solutions to moving my music around my home, cars, computers, etc. It was not easy, and requires ongoing maintenance work. Apple makes it easy for the masses.

Also, there is NOT a large community of CE vendors clamoring to make products that plug into my, personal IT music solution. Do you think there is some piece of hardware I can get at Best Buy for people who: use Windows Media Player to make playlists, Windows Home Server to store mp3 files, Tivo to play to my entertainment system, Creative 80GB players in my cars, manual sync to put music and movies on my Android, and iTunes on one PC to sync some of the shared music to my wife and kids’ iPhones? NO.

I think those who stick with the Apples ecosystem will end up with simpler hardware and software solutions. Even as they accept the shackles of Apple servitude, they will be better off for it.

There is an Aesop’s Fable about the Dog and The Wolf. http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_aesop_dog_wolf.htm The dog is the Apple user, the Wolf is the Open system user. I’m a wolf. May each choose their own poison.

jhn says:

It’s worth $25 to upgrade 25,000 tracks to 256 Kbps AACs, drm free, that you get to keep forever, even after you unsubscribe from the service. And I don’t know of any other means that allows you to quickly upgrade your files in this way. after you scan and match, the value comes from a cheap cloud backup and device syncing service, basically.

Anonymous Coward says:

"upgrade" to 256kbps AAC

For people who ripped their CDs it’s actually a downgrade. For most people (who have decent sounding MP3s) it doesn’t make any difference.
For people with devices that don’t play AAC it’s an annoyance and/or downgrade, if converting is required.

So I’m not sold on this “upgrade” you talk about.

jhn says:

It’s an upgrade if 256kbps AACs (which are significantly higher-quality than 256 MP3s) are a better quality than what you currently have.

AAC is designed expressly as the successor format to mp3. It is better in every way than mp3.

I ripped about 2000 CDs in 2001 to 128 AAC, which is qeuivalent to 160 MP3 or so. 256 AAC will be a great upgrade for those tracks. “Most” people’s tracks do not sound as good as 256 AAC files.

If your tracks are all lossless, then don’t use the service.

Chris Hoeschen (profile) says:

What about the other music lockers?

When I first heard about this and that Apple has the backing of the major labels my first thought was what will happen with the current lawsuits against the other music locker services? Couldn’t this act by the labels be shown as an acceptance that storing your own music on a remote hard drive is not infringement? This, once again, shows the double standards the labels have with technology.

Dan (profile) says:

I am disappointed that you are sitting here arguing “why should I pay 25 dollars a year to access music I’ve already paid for.”

You are smarter than this. You don’t have to pay any money, you can just sit at home with your enormous hard drive and listen to your gigantic music collection.

the 25 dollars is for cloud access on devices that otherwise would be unable to store so much music. stop arguing apples and oranges.

Bill W (profile) says:

Where's the FDIC for iCloud?

It just occurred to me that if I let Apple (or any other “cloud” service) “hold” my music that’s VERY similar to a bank holding my money, right? We have, often mentioned in these august pages, heard of music/content which was “purchased” only to be denied access due to provider indifference.

So, do we need an FM[usic]IC? Or FC[ontent]IC.

Just wondering …

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