After accepting the accolades of consumers who desperately wanted DRM-free music, Apple has run into a bit of trouble because the downloaded music files apparently have customers' personal data embedded in them. As the thinking goes, the only people who have to worry about it are those who seek to illegally share music with others. After all, the information doesn't become public knowledge unless the data is made public in violation of the law. This thinking has merit, but it's incomplete.
If the operating motivation behind this initiative is, as Jobs himself says, that, "People want to enjoy entertainment when they want it, how they want it,
on the device they want it on," then it also follows that the right to use and listen to that entertainment must be transferable.
If I, for instance, downloaded a DRM-free song but decided I didn't like it, I might pass it along to a friend, whom I thought was trustworthy. Of course I would remove the file from my hard drive and all my listening devices. Say that friend passes it along to someone else while deleting the music from his listening devices and hard drive. Eventually, if it gets into the hands of someone who isn't so trustworthy, that person might upload it to a peer-to-peer network, where the legal vultures latch onto it, get my name from the file, and sue me for the violation of the record label's copyright.
The above scenario would rarely happen, but the fact that it could happen provides sufficient reason to cast some scorn on Apple's lack of disclosure, which would have helped its customers make more informed decisions. Now it just looks as if Apple was intentionally hiding something.
In addition, Apple increased quality of these files, but many people can't tell the difference. This increase in "quality" came with a 30-cent price increase IN ADDITION TO this information Apple demands be tied to the file -- requiring the customer be held accountable for its use for all perpetuity (or until someone develops a hack to strip the information from the files).
Make it one or the other, Apple, not both.
According to the Associated Press (take it or leave it), "Apple declined to comment." It wasn't that a spokesman was unavailable for comment, but that the organization declined to comment at all. I presume they will comment later, but I find it surprising that Apple wasn't already prepared for this.
On the other hand, had they simply disclosed their policy before they made the service available, they would have never had to even worry about it. - Cam Beck