BBC revises article, clarifies where music downloaded from the iTunes store can be played

Yesterday, we reported on a report from Jonathan Fildes for BBC News that incorrectly stated:

Apple uses its own DRM system known as FairPlay, which means music downloaded from the iTunes store can be played only on iPods.

This morning, the BBC News Interactive’s Technology editor, Darren Waters, informed us that the article has now been revised to read:

Apple uses its own DRM system known as FairPlay, which means music downloaded from the iTunes store can be played on computers running iTunes that have been authorised by the consumer and only one portable device, iPods. Users can copy downloaded songs to a CD and then copy the disc back on to the computer so that the songs can then be moved to other portable devices – but the quality of the music is affected.

Full, revised article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Now, that’s much closer to the facts* and BBC readers, who might not be nearly as familiar as MacDailyNews readers with how Apple’s iTunes Store works, now have a much better information. Thanks for the rapid fix, Beeb!

*iTunes Store songs also play on iTunes-enabled Motorola phones, but we won’t quibble about that bit.

Related article:
BBC reporter blows it, says ‘music downloaded from the iTunes store can be played only on iPods’ – February 07, 2007


  1. “You Americans got your independance from us limeys long ago so lets be civil please”

    Yeah, well, I’m a Yank that’s still a little peeved over that whole War of 1812 fiasco. I’m going to need a little more time.

    Should we refer to Windows fanatics as Visturbators? Cancel or allow?

  2. let this be a lesson to other major international news outlets: don’t fsck with MDN. There’s a legion of readers here armed with strongly worded emails just waiting to take you down.

    You’ve seen what the Sony boycott did … don’t say you have not been warned.

  3. I’m pretty knowledgeble about copying in general, but I’m a little confused about the comment of the quality being compromised when going from iTunes to CD and back again. Aren’t we talking about digital-digital-digital here? If so, why should there be any sound degradation?

  4. That’s what happens when journalists write about complex subjects they only have a superficial understanding about – including world events and war – for a dumbed-down audience used to tabloid journalism. Wait a minute… ah, at least MDN knows what it’s covering!

  5. On another point, I didn’t get in on the misleading/not misleading discussion on the BBC’s first version, but I thought it was misleading-very similar to stating something like “OS X has fewer viruses than any version of Doze”. It’s an absolutely true statement-BUT highly misleading, just as the BBC was.

  6. It still could be misinterpreted. They say one music player, but that’s not true. You can put it on as many music players as you want, but they have to all be iPods. I know the difference is a shade rather than a lot, but it still could be read incorrectly.

    He should learn to write English, seeing he’s at the biggest stuffed shirt in the news business.

    As for the twit who said Fox News is still best, though they do have some good reporters, the company is a shill for the right wing politicos in the US.

  7. Conner:

    Thanks-once again my “knowledge base” has expanded. I suppose I was thinking along the lines of making a duplicate copy of a CD/DVD, with no change in format. I didn’t consider a change in format making a difference.

  8. On CNBC yesterday, the Squak Box program in the morning, the commentators were saying the same misleading thing about iTunes and the iPod. I sent an e-mail to them but I am not sure if they made any corrections to the viewing public. The topic of iTunes music came up after Steve Jobs’ open letter about FairPlay so I’m sure there was a lot of people listening.

  9. “Users can copy downloaded songs to a CD and then copy the disc back on to the computer so that the songs can then be moved to other portable devices – but the quality of the music is affected.

    OK. I don’t own a PC or some other digital player, but exactly how is music quality “affected”? And how is the quality of music burned to a CD from iTunes, copied, and then transferred to a digital music player compare with the quality of music downloaded directly from sources other than iTunes? I mean, is the loss of sound quality detectable in randomized, controlled, blinded studies or is this just another kooky BBC opinion based on hearsay and prejudice?

  10. Damage. Is. Already. Done. The BBC knows this.

    BBC Technology bought by Siemens (PC-based exclusively), and the BBC has signed an ‘agreement’ with Microsoft, together with the UK’s National Health Service.

    If any news organisation’s impartiality had been tarnished by a) signing any agreement with any 3rd party, or b) having parts of that company ‘bought’ by a private company, we would take it that any further news from that corporation could not be guaranteed trustworthy or without bias.

    The BBC is no different. Ignore every piece of tech news that comes out of the Beeb from now on. It’s the only way to be sure.

    Sure, there are a couple of journalists that will speak against Microsoft, but the writing’s on the wall. These journalists will be carefully weeded out over the next 5 years – you mark my words.

    And another thing, seeing as my licence fee no longer pays for the technology side of the Beeb, can I expect a refund, or a reduction in the license fee? Not a chance.

    This is about as likely in getting a dividend back from the BBC when they sell a TV show (which was paid for with MY money) to BBC World, who then sell it on to places like the USA.

    BBC is as corrupt an organisation as it gets. The UK’s sewn up, and is pratically a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bill Gates Foundation.

  11. maczealot,

    The AAC codec, during compression, lops off different frequencies at different levels.

    When recompressing with a different codec, say WMA, that codec has different levels for those frequencies because it’s designers have different ideas on what makes better sounding compressions.

    As a result some of WMA’s highs have already been lopped off by the AAC codec and some of the AAC codec’s highs are lopped off by the WMA codec.

    The end result is a poorer compression than either codec done alone.

  12. @ BritishMacHead:

    I think the BBC2 Business Programme is doing two programmes, “Coming to your Screen: Microsoft’s New Vista”. Exclusive access blah, blah. Looks to be an hour of toadying to Gates and his crew – basically advertising. First is this Friday 7pm

    PS Long time since I went to the Potteries. Are they still as grim?

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