Monthly Archives: December 2006

iTunes FUD

The Financial Times has an article out about some of the movie studios trying to force Apple to increase the FairPlay restrictions.

But the studios are concerned about growth of digital piracy, which currently costs the film industry $3.2bn a year. They want Apple to make changes to the way iTunes works before they do a deal.

Specifically, they object to the fact that you can sync to an unlimited number of iPods.

Currently, content on iTunes can be uploaded to an unlimited number of iPods. This means people can freely copy music content by “synching” their iPods with their friends’ computers.

The studios are putting pressure on Apple to limit the number of iPods that can be used by iTunes on a particular computer. Limiting the number of video iPods used by any one computer to four or five will, they believe, deter professional content pirates.

That’s a huge vehicle for piracy! If it was actually true, that is. The notion that professional pirates (or any pirates for that matter) rely on this iTunes capability is ludicrous.

An iPod is paired with a single iTunes library. If I sync my iTunes library to your iPod, that content will get wiped out as soon as you sync your own library to your iPod.

Two facts conveniently ignored by the FT journalist:

1. iTunes doesn’t let you sync files from an iPod to a computer except for FairPlay files and you need the username and password for the account the FairPlay files were purchased under.
2. The fact that 3rd party tools exist to let you sync any file from any iPod to any computer does not matter. Why? Because a copy of a FairPlay file is useless without the username and passord for the account the file was purchased under.

To share a FairPlay file you also have to share the username and password. I doubt this happens to any measurable extent:

1. Your credit card is linked to your username and password (meaning someone else will be buying Britney Spears songs with your money, and more importantly, in your name).
2. Someone else will be using up one of your 5 computer authorizations.