Another iPod+iTunes FUD article keeps the disinformation flowing

“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.

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Related articles:
SmartMoney publishes compendium of iPod FUD – May 11, 2006

47 Comments

  1. MDN: “Readers should ask themselves what’s the point of this article?”

    To troll for hits, possibly. But probably more so to inculcate the drone masses against Apple’s solutions.

    MDN: “Who is it really intended to serve?”

    The author, his employer, and the Microsoft hegemony. In that order.

    But it’s not working. Thankfully.

  2. With all of these blatantly false Apple articles coming out recently, it’s difficult not to be conspiracy minded (i.e. Microsoft). However, I keep reminding myself of the saying, “Never attribute to malice what can be accounted for by stupidity.”

  3. What do you expect when his quotable source is Rob Enderle?
    At the end of the article he does indicate that the limitations are the fault of the rights holders and labels. You do have to wade through a lot of FUD first.

  4. You people are idiots. The article is a commentary on the reality of DRM and its restrictions. Pick your flavor…they all limit choice and thats the reality. Apple just happens to not taste as bad.

  5. “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.”

    Actually the first part is true – unless you rip the purchased songs to a CD and then import them as mp3 (degrading sound quality), iTunes purchases won’t play on non-Apple music players.

    The second statement is obviously an error – this article writer simply didn’t get the facts straight.

    Again, this article only serves to get people arguing; it provides no information or news about Macs, and hardly belongs in a “daily news” page.

  6. “You people are idiots. The article….”

    Nice way to start off your comment.

    No the article is critical of Apple and their DRM scheme, and he uses false information to support his argument. Never has iTunes put DRM on a song that’s been ripped from a CD. Thats a pretty glaring error.

    Ok, now apparently, I can go back to being an idiot now according to you.

  7. “Again, this article only serves to get people arguing; it provides no information or news about Macs, and hardly belongs in a “daily news” page”

    I’d like to see MDN post only articles when Apple releases a product. It would be fun to see then how many people would bitch about how MDN never updates their site with new content.

    Bottom line, if you don’t like the site, why come here? If you don’t like an article, why read it. Just move on.

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