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Old 7 Jun 2011, 05:17 PM   #1
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Default Apple Launches iCloud, iTunes Match, Dubbed "Piracy Amnesty"

Apple today launched their new iCloud service at the annual WWDC event, and while a lot of the focus was on the free service's ability to sync your personal data and files on multiple Apple devices, via the Internet, the feature gaining the most attention has to be "iTunes Match", the service that some have dubbed as a "piracy amnesty program".

So what does iTunes Match do? Well, to put it simply, it scans your computer for songs, and if a matching song is found on iTunes, you get access to the high quality legal version right away in the cloud, even if the song on your hard-drive was pirated. You will have to pay an annual $USD24.95 fee to access the service, but it could be a very cheap way to "legitimize" your, um, "less than legal" music collection, as long as you continue to pay the yearly fee to access the legitimized songs stored in the cloud.

And the best bit is that all of this is done with the blessing of the record companies. 30% of the $25 will go to Apple, with the rest going to record labels.

For songs that don't match up to anything on iTunes, users will still be able to upload the song to their iCloud drive, and share the song on multiple devices, similar to the way cloud drives work on Amazon and Android.

Nick O'Byrne, general manager of the Australian Independent Record Labels Association, questioned the move by Apple. "Why buy at 'full price' when you can pirate as many songs as you like and absolve yourself of guilt by paying $25 a year?" asked O'Byrne. However, O'Byrne also admits that iTunes Match could be a great way to "monetise tracks that have already been pirated".

iTunes Match will initially only be available in the United States, but Apple is expected to launch the service elsewhere soon after.

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Last edited by admin; 8 Jun 2011 at 01:47 AM Reason: Clarified paragraph regarding song storage
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Old 8 Jun 2011, 07:01 AM   #2
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I wonder how that would work, especially with the iTunes Plus format. I assume it's some sort of DRM that only works as long as you continue paying for the service? I don't know of such a licensing scheme for AAC audio (Even with iTunes movie rentals, those expire after X hours, not 'if you keep paying') - and would Apple really switch formats like that?

I think I'll stick to my free Amazon Cloud Drive for now.
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Old 8 Jun 2011, 01:58 PM   #3
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I think the way it works is that it scans your HDD for songs, matches them on iTunes, and places a copy of the legal songs in your iCloud drive, and then you can listen to these songs via iCloud any time you wish, as long as you keep on paying the $24.99 annual fee, and once you stop paying, the matched songs will probably no longer work. That's just my guess, a lot of other people are wondering the same thing.
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Old 8 Jun 2011, 07:11 PM   #4
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Default DRM Free

The keynote specifically said that the music was "DRM free". I think if you stop paying the fee then you can no longer access the song from iCloud but the local copies will still work. By the sounds of it you would still be able to access songs you get from iTunes store if you stop paying the fee though.

Apple haven't made this clear but what they are calling a music/book service storage is in fact just access to a list of your purchased music and/or matched music from iTunes therefore reducing the required server storage. I'm just guessing but I would imagine that unrecognised music you upload would count towards your 5GB.

All this talk about "legitimising" pirated songs is rubbish. If you strip all the ID info from the files how do you tell the difference between a legitimate and an illegitimate file?
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Old 8 Jun 2011, 08:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisjkirk View Post
The keynote specifically said that the music was "DRM free". I think if you stop paying the fee then you can no longer access the song from iCloud but the local copies will still work. By the sounds of it you would still be able to access songs you get from iTunes store if you stop paying the fee though.

Apple haven't made this clear but what they are calling a music/book service storage is in fact just access to a list of your purchased music and/or matched music from iTunes therefore reducing the required server storage. I'm just guessing but I would imagine that unrecognised music you upload would count towards your 5GB.
I think you may be right, in that since you can sync files from iCloud to your devices, that means downloading (the DRM-free track), and so if iTunes Match scanned someone's pirated music collection, matched all the tracks with iTunes versions, and that user does a sync, he/she would be downloading legal versions of all the songs that were once pirated. And then cancel the $25 a year subscription, and they would still have the synced/downloaded DRM-free tracks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisjkirk View Post
All this talk about "legitimising" pirated songs is rubbish. If you strip all the ID info from the files how do you tell the difference between a legitimate and an illegitimate file?
Well, iTunes Match probably won't be able to tell the difference between legal and illegal files, and so would just match based on some kind of so far unknown algorithm (matching ID3 tags, or MD5 hash, audio matching?), and so as I posted above, people could "convert" their entire pirated music collection to iTunes downloadables. If this is really how it works, and if I wanted to really "leech", I could download hundreds of songs every month illegally, and then "launder" the songs via iTunes Match to "legitimize" them all into legal versions - all for less than $25 a year - why would people bother buying music again (and if the matching is really just ID3, one could even create fake files with proper ID3 tags and then match it, without the need to risk downloading pirated songs - somebody will probably create a tool to help you do this too - which is why I think maybe music matching will be used, similar to how the SoundHound app works).

Which is why people are still somewhat skeptical at just how this will work, since it sounds too good to be true (and for the record labels to be on board as well ... this is totally against their M.O.).

This Guardian article tries to answer some of the more common questions, and it seems to say that it will work as I mentioned above:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology...ything-we-know

Particularly, this Q&A:

Quote:
Is iTunes Match not a licence to get music cheap? Leech the album illegally, match it to iTunes and claim under the $25 account?

You've got it the wrong way round. Previously if you leeched it, the record label would never have gotten any money before. Now it'll get a cut of that $25. It's about as much as it would get through Spotify.
The problem is that, wouldn't this encourage others who normally buy iTunes music to leech as well? If all the files end up being legal, why bother paying? The Spotify comparison doesn't work either, because once you stop paying for Spotify, you lose access to the songs (unlike what iTunes Match is suggesting), so it's more of a rental/streaming than buying/download.

Which is why I think the devil is in the details ... we'll have to wait a bit longer to find out just how iTunes Match works, and how Apple plans to stop people doing the above.

Last edited by admin; 8 Jun 2011 at 09:11 PM
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Old 8 Jun 2011, 11:42 PM   #6
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Default No point in crying piracy after the horse has bolted.

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If this is really how it works, and if I wanted to really "leech", I could download hundreds of songs every month illegally, and then "launder" the songs via iTunes Match to "legitimize" them all into legal versions - all for less than $25 a year
I see what your saying but my point was that there is no way for a content owner to tell the difference between a legitimate and illegitimate file (unless audio watermarking is used which is still rare isn't it?). As far as I know there is no universal ID3 tag that identifies a good or bad source and its easy to purge and replace this information on a DRMless file. This means they're only means of stopping piracy at the moment is catching you in the act of supplying or receiving content - once its on your hard-drive the file is already "laundered". I will admit that I'm surprised that the music industry could sit still long enough for Jobs to explain it to them.

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why would people bother buying music again
For the same reasons they do now: for the sake of convenience, through lack of knowledge, because they have moral fibre or for plain fear of being caught.
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Old 9 Jun 2011, 02:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisjkirk View Post
I see what your saying but my point was that there is no way for a content owner to tell the difference between a legitimate and illegitimate file (unless audio watermarking is used which is still rare isn't it?). As far as I know there is no universal ID3 tag that identifies a good or bad source and its easy to purge and replace this information on a DRMless file. This means they're only means of stopping piracy at the moment is catching you in the act of supplying or receiving content - once its on your hard-drive the file is already "laundered". I will admit that I'm surprised that the music industry could sit still long enough for Jobs to explain it to them.
Agreed on the point that there's really no way to tell the difference between pirated songs, and ripped songs from your own CD, and I see your point regarding supply/receiving content. But if the iTunes matched song comes with the same or similar license as a regular iTunes song purchase, then not only would one have have a "laundered" download, but you would also have a proof of purchase, in effect turning a pirated download, into a purchase.

So from a legal point of view, does Apple (and rights holders) granting me permission to download matched songs imply a license of some sort to use these songs, and what are the conditions of this license.

And if there is a license (I think there would have to be one), would the license still continue after people stop paying the $25, or would it be revoked?

It very well could be a system where, as long as you pay the $25, you are licensed to listen to matched songs without rights holder asking too many questions about where your original file came from (this is the "amnesty" part, I guess), although one may still get caught downloading/sharing pirated songs. But after you stop paying the $25, if you didn't have a license/proof or purchase before, you still don't (so not really "laundering" anything at all).

For rights holders, they get 70% of $25 every year for every person, which adds up, and is much better than getting nothing from the same people.

Although again, the fear is that (and it's been expressed by elements of the music industry here in Australia), if people know a way to download pirated songs without getting caught, then they may feel doing an iTunes match grants them amnesty, and almost feels that they are doing the right thing by the music industry due to their support of iTunes Match. That in itself could encourage more people to get songs via this method, to get hundreds and thousands of songs for the price of about 25 or so, although I do agree with you that for the reasons you listed, it's not something everyone would do (because, despite pirated downloads and services like LimeWire, people have always bought songs and do so in great numbers on iTunes). And it may also convert some "pirates" into loyal iTunes customers in the process.
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Old 9 Jun 2011, 04:25 AM   #8
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lookg interseting
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Old 9 Jun 2011, 06:28 AM   #9
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Hmm, that's interesting @ DRM-free.

I was thinking it would be something like a Zune Pass, which I tried free for a month. That lets you download and/or stream as much as you want, on your Zune hardware and/or Xbox 360 (both of which I own), but the files are all WMA with DRM encryption on them - and as soon as you cancel your Zune Pass, those files are next to useless.
The paid version gives you 10 free mp3 downloads a month for songs you want to keep - which is really quite lame for the price you're paying. Hence why I'm not paying for a Zune Pass, and only used the one free month that came with my Zune hardware.
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Old 9 Jun 2011, 03:13 PM   #10
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I've also been reading about another downside to iTunes Match - for the artists themselves. Because they may only get royalties from actual sales of digital downloads or CDs, the 70% of the $25 may never reach the artists themselves, and gets pocketed entirely by the publishers, aka the Big 4. If this is true, then so much for sticking up for artists rights, an argument the RIAA companies always brings out whenever the piracy issue is raised.
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Old 11 Jun 2011, 01:09 PM   #11
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Of course most of the money goes to the RIAA - that's why I don't have a big problem with piracy, I would much rather just mail the artist a dollar or so and download the album without giving the big companies a ton of my money.
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Old 13 Jun 2011, 03:44 AM   #12
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Apple and Jobs just never seem to quite get it when it truly comes to what the consumer wants. In his thwarted mind, which can't be denied despite the success regarding iPhone, apps. etc... Steve feels he's doing one a favor w/all these so called new innovative ways to supposedly circumvent the status quo and satisfy the user. Only thing is that it's no more different than anything else he puts out which is locked to apple in some way or other. Now the apple geek kids are working here in what they now call "The Genius bar". iphone is a helluva cell, though the up keep is way outta the reach of the average Joe, and by average Joe I mean someone that really can't afford the more than $125.00 to have it monthly. So I just shake my head and the thousands that sacrifice even real worldly needs to be part of the Apple crew.

Well if he ever decides to go the route of Jim Jones, at least they have a spaceship now to meet up and take them there. All this time and still only about 40 or so million Apple computer users. Don't slip w/the apps. Steve. You'll be so history you won't know what happened.
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Old 13 Jun 2011, 09:05 AM   #13
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The iPhone has already lost the lead in the smartphone market. Android took over the lead in Q4. That being said, the saturation of the iPhone vs any other single phone can not be argued. However, with android outpacing Apple in the OS, I feel it will be enough to pull even more tot he Android side. Don;t be fooled by those 100,000s apps.....most of them are silly little joke apps. The apps that are actually useful and resourceful are on both platforms.
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Old 15 Jun 2011, 10:11 AM   #14
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Thanks for the heads up Bud. They keep posting all sorts of figures regarding many popular subjects, and the iPhone is definitely one of them. The commercials here in NYC are so crazy that the average Joe who has no clue about anything digital would just blindly listen and go further broke by joining a plan. I'm really grateful I found this place and have all of you guys plus all the latest info. it definitely further secures any decisions I already make, and from time to time helps some unfortunate soul who otherwise would blindly pull the trigger.

For example a friend who basically is paycheck to paycheck if that, is so obsessed that he dishes out the almost $150.00 monthly tax from AT&T, even if he's broke afterwards.

I just treated myslf to the LG OPTIMUS T Android and have SimpleMobile for $40.00 a month unlimited calling and text, including international text. Now that I have the option to hit the web all I have to do is anty up $20.00 more and for $60.00 have unlimited web etc... No contract too and unlocked cell! Very simply the wiser/better deal, though it's a personal preference w/the iPhone like anything else. I on the other hand am not broke!
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