“Like millions around the world, you have an iPod, the market-leading digital music player made by Apple Computer Inc. and have spent perhaps a few hundred dollars buying songs from the company’s iTunes music store. But do you really own the tunes? Whether you do, however, depends on how you define ownership,” Duncan Martell reports for Reuters. “Those songs you bought online from Apple play just fine, of course, so long you do so on the company’s iTunes digital jukebox software, on an iPod, burn a CD (you can only burn the same ‘playlist,’ or collection of songs, seven times), or stream them wirelessly to your stereo using another Apple gizmo. But Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management, or DRM, software prevents you from listening to those purchased songs on a music player from Dell Inc., Creative, Sony, or others. The same thing goes for songs you’ve imported to your computer from CDs you already own.”
MacDailyNews Take: Misleading and incorrect. You can burn any song purchased from the iTunes Music Store to music CD an unlimited number of times. A specific iTunes playlist containing a protected track can be copied to a CD up to seven times before the playlist must be changed. Songs that you’ve imported into iTunes from CDs that you already own are not encoded with Apple’s FairPlay DRM. As songs can be imported into iTunes using AAC, AIFF, MP3, WAV, and Apple Lossless, any player or application that supports any of those formats will play such tracks without a problem.
Martell continues, “To be sure, Apple rivals have their own DRM technology to protect against piracy, such as Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp., but none have been as successful so far as Apple. The Cupertino, California-based company has a 70-percent market share in the United States for digital music players, and higher than that for music purchased online. Beyond just having songs you bought from iTunes ‘trapped’ on the iPod and in iTunes, it’s also not a snap to move songs from an iPod – whether you bought them or initially pulled them off a CD – back up to a computer. While it’s possible to do so, Apple doesn’t make it easy, right off the bat, because it’s trying to discourage piracy.”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “schreiber” for the heads up.]
MacDailyNews Take: Only Apple’s iTunes works for both Mac and Windows PC users. The also-rans music services offer only Windows-only DRM from Microsoft. Again, the song purchased from iTunes Music Store is not “trapped” on the iPod and iTunes; it plays on Motorola phones and can also be burned to music CD and used anywhere. If you wish to go from iPod to computer, first blame the music labels for not allowing Apple to offer that feature, and then go download something like iPodRip (one among many) to accomplish the task.
We can play iTunes Music Store-purchased songs on Macs, Windows PCs, iPod models for every budget, Motorola phones, and burn them to CDs to play in CD players or import into other computers and/or music players. If we join a subscription service or use another à la carte service (Windows-only) with some “soon-to-be-discontinued, won’t-intgrate-with-my-vehicle, has-no-accessories, parent-company-is-hemorrhaging-cash or reorganizing” digital media player, do we get less lock-in or more?
This article is backwards, misleading, and outright incorrect in places. Martell should do better (or some) research next time. If he had, he’d realize that Apple’s iPod+iTunes is the least “limiting” legal solution available. All of the other online music services are Windows-only, offer smaller libraries, fewer exclusives, no video, etc., and work only with inferior also-ran devices. Why does the fact that Apple’s competitors have failed miserably make them magically immune from Martell’s criticism? If Martell’s so hell-bent on writing about not “owning” songs, he really needs to check out any of the subscription plans offered by the likes of Napster, Real, etc.
Readers should ask themselves what’s the point of this article? Who is it really intended to serve? Certainly not consumers of digital media players and/or online media. So who really benefits from an article that’s laden with mistakes and misleading statements about Apple’s FairPlay DRM? Answer that one honestly and perhaps we’ll be closer to understanding the point of writing and publishing it.
• Get the new iMac with Intel Core Duo for as low as $31 A MONTH with Free shipping!
• Get the MacBook Pro with Intel Core Duo for as low as $47 A MONTH with Free Shipping!
• Apple’s new Mac mini. Intel Core, up to 4 times faster. Starting at just $599. Free shipping.
• Apple’s brand new iPod Hi-Fi speaker system. Home stereo. Reinvented. Available now for $349 with free shipping.
• iPod. 15,000 songs. 25,000 photos. 150 hours of video. The new iPod. 30GB and 60GB models start at just $299. Free shipping.
• Connect iPod to your television set with the iPod AV Cable. Just $19.
• iPod Radio Remote. Listen to FM radio on your iPod and control everything with a convenient wired remote. Just $49.
SmartMoney publishes compendium of iPod FUD – May 11, 2006