Bob Lefsetz and iTunes Plus. Again!

In my previous post I wrote a disagreement with Bob Lefsetz regarding his rant on how Apple implemented iTunes Plus (i.e., DRM-free music). I thought Bob was wound a little tight, but the man’s entitled (we all are), and I like his site.

Now, just a few hours later, Bob has another rant up, and it seems he’s just shy of wearing a tin foil hat. The conspiracies are everywhere. Here is the complaint:

“In case you’ve been out of the Net loop, when you buy an UNRESTRICTED track at the iTunes Store, it comes with your NAME and E-MAIL address EMBEDDED!”

From there, the rant and conspiracy theories build:

“Just like Lindsay Lohan can’t cover up the fact that she crashed her car high on coke, Apple and EMI can’t cover up the fact that they’re fucking with us. This is WORSE than restricted/DRM/copy-protected music!”

Bob, they tried to hide nothing. It’s pretty easy to spot. Surely if there was something diabolical involved they could have done a better job. Of course, they didn’t need to do a better job because there is nothing diabolical going on here.

“They’re trying to SCARE US back into the last century. Trying to trip us up, trying to keep us playing on their terms. EMI hasn’t given up on copy protection, they’ve just instituted a NEW ONE! Wherein they can trace your track if you choose to do anything untoward with it. Yup, if it’s your track that’s being traded P2P, you’re FUCKED! You’d better not open your music folder to P2P trading, your NAME might get out!”

Lay down the crack pipe, Bob, and walk… slowly… away. Please. Did you know that the iPod can transfer your legitimately purchased music to another computer? Did you know that you can complete an album for which you purchased individual tracks? Did you know that these features are possible because iTunes knows what tracks are yours? So, maybe this all boils down to an explanation along those lines, and nothing so grandiose as you propose.

Bob then sums it all up based on the firm belief in his own straw men:

“In other words, EMI just wanted to find a way to charge thirty cents more while RETAINING the copy protection. FUCKERS!”

Wow. Just wow.

There is little point in even addressing Bob’s writings on iTunes Plus at this point. No conspiracy theories are necessary. If EMI or Apple wanted to mark your files for “evil” purposes they wouldn’t do it in such an obvious fashion. However, if Apple wanted it in order to enable certain features that benefit you, then they wouldn’t have to worry about how they did it, would they?

The bottom line here is that Bob never met Occam’s Razor.

In short, Bob, take a nap. You need one.

2 thoughts on “Bob Lefsetz and iTunes Plus. Again!

  1. This rant makes absolutely no sense! When you take cash from the bank (or ATM), every bill has a serial number. If anything illegal is ever done with that money, it can and will be tracked back to you. If you use your many in a normal way, nothing will ever happen. No government or secret agency will track what you do with that $20 (pay for that Hustler DVD in a XXX store), it will just make its trip until it ends up in some bank again.

    These files are your property, once you buy them from iTunes Store. You can always prove this, since they will have your name and e-mail (simply click Ctrl-I when a song is selected in iTunes and you can see it – nothing hidden here!). This is nothing new – since iTunes started selling songs years ago, the name and address was added to every file.

    If you lose your iPod, and someone finds it, rips the songs back into a PC (or Mac) and puts them on P2P, theoretically, if the music labels (currently, only EMI) trawl regularly P2P systems, they may pick up your files there and track you down through Apple (with their assumed cooperation, of course). If you reported your iPod stolen (and, if you had hundreds of purchased songs, you should), police report will put an end to this. This is no different than when somebody steals your credit card number – once you discover it, you report it to your credit card company and you don’t have to pay a dime of unauthorised charges.

    There is absolutely nothing sinister here. This is the best possible way to give consumers total freedom to do with their music whatever they want (the original ‘fair-use’ clause); you can make as many copies for your friends, relatives, colleagues, iPods, cellphones (non-Apple, as well as iPhones), burn on as many CDs as you want and no entity in the world would be able to track this UNTIL, and that is only UNTIL – you (or someone you gave the file to) puts YOUR property (i.e. purchased file) onto a P2P service. Even then, if we’re talking only about 10 – 15 songs, they won’t bother. But, if it’s 500 songs, they’ll come knocking. You’d better have you iPod reported stolen then.

    The only reason any normal person would so vigorously and loudly object to this is because they were not genuinely interested in ‘fair-use’ rights, but in the ability to easily pirate music as they used to on Napster/Kazaa/Limewire, and such.

  2. If EMI or Apple wanted to mark your files for “evil” purposes they wouldn’t do it in such an obvious fashion.

    Select any protected AAC file in the iTunes app. Press Command+I and take a look at the first tab. The identifying info (name + e-mail address) has alw ays been there. It’s not hidden in any way.

    OHMIGOD! This is my e-mail address! Adjusts tin foil hat. 🙂

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