The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

31 May 2007

Tagging along

Apple, as mentioned earlier today, is rolling out iTunes Plus, which vends DRM-free music at a 30-percent price premium.

I can't say that I'm surprised by this:

[S]ongs sold without DRM still have a user's full name and account e-mail embedded in them, which means that dropping that new DRM-free song on your favorite P2P network could come back to bite you.

We started examining the files this morning and noticed our names and e-mail addresses in the files, and we've found corroboration of the find at TUAW, as well. But there's more to the story: Apple embeds your account information in all songs sold on the store, not just DRM-free songs. Previously it wasn't much of a big deal, since no one could imagine users sharing encrypted, DRMed content. But now that DRM-free music from Apple is on the loose, the hidden data is more significant since it could theoretically be used to trace shared tunes back to the original owner. It must also be kept in mind that this kind of information could be spoofed.

Not being in the habit of spreading around these things — I've never so much as looked at a torrent, unless it was one of the canonical types, with rain and everything — I'm not going to have my BVDs transformed topologically by this revelation. As always, your mileage may vary.

Posted at 7:03 PM to Fileophile

[S]ongs sold without DRM still have a user's full name and account e-mail embedded in them

Why didn't RIAA try that idea first?

Posted by: McGehee at 7:36 PM on 31 May 2007

I think tagging songs like this is a terriffic idea. It probably won't do much more than slow down determined pirates, but it would make more casual pirates think twice. RIAA didn't think of it first because they're living in the '70's, baby.

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 8:30 AM on 1 June 2007

...of course, if Apple had a true RIAA mentality, they'd embed the user's credit card info in each song. THAT would put some serious brakes on piracy, you betcha.

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 8:33 AM on 1 June 2007