back to article Apple restricts ringtone rights

Yes, it seems unjust that Apple can charge you twice for an iPhone ringtone. But that's the way the fair-use cookie crumbles. As Apple supremo Steve Jobs announced last week, iTunes is now offering roughly a million ringtones for the iPhone - a $399 handheld that debuted little more than two months ago at $599 - and …


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  1. Webster Phreaky

    Stevie Jobs, the friend of the "regular guy" ... here's proof

    For all the Apple Kool Aid Drinkers, you know the delusional crowd ... here's some more proof that Stevie Gods, er Jobs is just a nice fellow, just wants to take care of the fan-boy "regular guy" and is so pro "Open Platform" thinking.

    Two words .... Bull and Shit.

  2. Andy

    Of course, they're trying to screw you.

    The likely reason is that Apple's original contracts specifically excluded selling songs for ringtone usage, and they have now had to negotiate additional contracts to sell ringtones. That would fit with the fact that only a limited catalogue of songs are available for this new service.

    But why make a sensible analysis when you can make a sensational one, eh?

    Anyway, I rather wish they charged $99. The fewer irritating hip-hop ringtones people are allowed to have, the better.

  3. Tam Lin

    I'm torn.

    On one hand, I like taxes on stupid, tasteless people.

    On the other hand, I never want to hear another one [1]. What ringtwits do behind closed, soundproof doors is, of course, their own business. But with an ear towards public use, I'd say Apple should force-bundle a matching silent ringtone. Say £2 the brace (£3 if they want the DRMed song as well).

    [1] Ringtone or a stupid, tasteless person.

  4. Richard Kilpatrick

    Apple to blame, of course...

    Once again, Apple are to blame for iTunes costs and restrictions. Maybe they are. What would be nice would be if some reporting went into this, some investigation.

    If we're going to lambast Apple for charging twice - and I do agree that it is an unwelcome double charge - we should ask WHY Apple are charging twice.

    I suspect it's our friends in the record industry, who have long eyed up the lucrative market for infuriating bleepy renditions of tunes. Yes, we can get the latest awful tripe for the 'yoof' to listen to whilst 'txting' from some premium-rate subscription service, but do those services pay the labels?

    Regardless of the answer, I suspect that Apple are far too easy a target and bedfellow to let the opportunity pass. If the ringtone providers pay for the music they are selling, then why shouldn't Apple users have to pay for it? After all, the buyers of the ringtone probably own the same track on artist CD, compilation CD, downloaded MP3 before they bought it... they pay over and over for the same IP and material.

    If the providers don't pay, then Apple are a very easy target to make pay.

    I look forward to reading about the origin of Apple's ringtone charging - if it's Apple doubling their profit on iTunes sales (which has traditionally been reported as very low, though one assumes the volume makes that an inaccurate perception - maybe it is a low percentage, but the actual amount on the bottom line is, I'm sure, worthwhile) or the labels - yes, the providers of the content - milking their loyal fanbase further.

    Since there are a number of tracks available to convert, rather than any track in your library being convertible, I think we can work it out without taxing the braincells too much...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If other phones allow you to do it for free but it costs money on the iPhone, will you get an iPhone?

    I could load any ringtone and wallpapers I desire into my last 3 phones for free using nothing but a bluetooth connection. Plus, I could also load them with custom java apps. My latest phone can even watch downloaded youtube videos unconverted, connect to IRC and do MSN, AOL, Yahoo and ICQ, all at the same time.

    Forget the iPhone, there are tons of cooler phones out there.

  6. Walter Brown


    it seems that Mr. iCEO has given up on subtlety and decided to take more of a microsoft approach to bending over his merry band of worshiping iFanbois...

    the sad part is, these brain washed fools will gleefully cough up the coin for their iRingtone as they shamelessly pull their pants up after paying homage to their iGod

  7. Steve Roper

    More DRM snake oil

    This is why DRM is wrong - it allows corporations to create artificial charging models that bypass the fair-use laws. This is a blatant abuse of copyright law by Apple, fortunately it is one that will be very hard to police - simply crack the DRM off the iTune with any one of many free ripper utilities, then chuck it back on the iPhone as a ringtone. A song is a song; Apple have no way of knowing if the sample is an iTune or just ripped from a CD.

    But this is why I always remove DRM from anything I put on my computer - I refuse to be ripped off by the artificial constraints these greedy bastards keep coming up with to milk more money out of the consumer. Law or no law.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They should put some kind of people detector in the phone so you have to pay 99 cents for each other person who hears your annoying sound. after all you are sharing the music when someone else hears it.

  9. Chad H.

    there are much worse deals out there.

    Bah, thats nothing.

    Take downloads through T-mobiles tzones service. A full track song is worth 99p, a ringtone (realtone) 3 quid. So with T-mobile, your paying 3 times, and dont even get the pleasure of actualy having the full song.

    For some stupid reason, ringtones cost more than songs, and the market has shown its stupidly willing to pay.

  10. Eugene Goodrich

    Paying (or not) for convenience

    Ringtones aren't like drinking water. Nobody needs them. Not even people who already have that song on CD.

    So I reckon it's like paying the $2 at the ATM to get cash: the benefit is convenience. If someone finds it convenient to have their phone play some favorite song whenever a specific someone calls, then they pay some money and they get something out of it.

    Sure, the entire system could work without that extra fee. But the people charging that fee own the barrel and if someone voluntarily leans over it, they pay the dollar.

    We'll see the fee for ringtones go away when someone finds a way to make more money without it.

    Until then, I make two suggestions for anyone interested in taking them: 1. buy ringtones or don't, based solely on whether you feel you're getting your money's worth - not on the righteousness of the concept of paying for ringtones, and 2. stop talking about people who choose to pay for ringtones.

    I submit there are some people, Apple/iTunes fanboys or not, who look at a dollar as hardly big enough to give to a beggar, and don't feel any pain trading it for a ringtone.

  11. Sandman619

    Apples to Apples

    Funny, the only way that my mobile service providers have allowed me to add ringtones to my phones, has been through purchasing them, which usually sets me back around $2.50, whether I own the song already or not. Assuming that I bought the song through iTunes, then I've paid around $3.50 for the set. Unlike iTunes, these other providers give you one choice, of ringtone, theirs. They don't permit the buyer to customize them in any way. It's not as if Apple is being greedy, it's widely believed that Apple makes so little revenue from iTunes $0.99 song sales, that the sales of iPods probably subsidize it. Of course, Apple could give in to the demands of both studios and labels and raise their prices, even offer packages of programming forcing the buyer to spend more than they need too. Kind of like the Zune store... you have to convert real money into microsoft money. But you have to buy their money in big blocks and their prices and money are different than the real world so you actually spend more money in Zuniland than the real world.

  12. William Bronze badge


    It was the RIAA who dictated this to Apple. Go lambaste them you bunch of fucking pricks.

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Apple is free to do "whatever the market will bear"

    Yep, and I'm free not to bear it. I don't own any Apple gear, and I hate DRM with a passion.

    Clearly, the junction between Apple, Job and myself can only be Void.

  14. Andy Worth

    Re: there are much worse deals out there

    To Chad H.

    In response to your statement "For some stupid reason, ringtones cost more than songs, and the market has shown its stupidly willing to pay." I believe that the statement answered the "stupid reason".

    Ringtones cost so much more because people ARE stupid enough to pay for them.

    I personally hate other people's ringtones, although they can cause amusement at times, especially when someone's phone rings and the tune is wholly inappropriate for the time. I think the funniest was probably someone's phone ringing out with South Park's "Uncle F***er" song while standing in the queue at Tesco's supermarket.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    For this record, this particular workaround works - it's also been on other sites and Engadget was far the first to offer this solution.

  16. MattW

    It matters not

    1. Perhaps it'll stop legions of tasteless idiots assaulting my ears with hip hop sh*te

    2. The fanboys will just pay up anyway (it's strongly rumoured that the next iPhone will be ship with the iCatheter so that blood can be taken directly from the users veins - demand is expected to be phenomenal).

  17. Bill Coleman

    Come on reg...

    Give us a break, we all know it's the labels calling the shots here:

    1. The song choice is restricted - you can't just convert any song in the library.

    2. The price is exactly the same, suggesting that the same sale agreement / licence with the labels for normal tunes is re-used

    3. If given for free this would seriously threaten the income made by the labels from ring tone sales (yes apparently there are still muppets out there who pay money to download ringtones!!!). They would no doubt fight to the bone to protect this income.

    4. Apple has very little to gain from it, financially - given the margins they operate at for tunes and the low volume of ring tone sales expected. They would have more to gain through increased sales of iPhones if the ringtones were free!

    I actually have to commend apple for standing up to the big labels as much as they do, not letting them screw with the price model, denying them price hikes, fighting against DRM etc. Seems to me like they just want to sell their contraptions and aren't interested in screwing their customers for extortionate download fees. They just lost this particular battle in the rush to cut through the red tape and launch their new toy. The simplicity of the various ringtone work-arounds should be taken as a wink and a nod I think.

    So stop posting flame bait and do some proper reporting! PLEASE!!!! THESE ARTICLES ARE JUVENILE!!!! [lost voice in the wind]

    ...and on an unrelated rant: I'm going to find the next poster who uses the word "fanboi" and hit them repeatedly with a very large thesaurus. Reg, the fact that you are attracting posters who use this kind of terminology is a serious indication that you need to step up an intellectual gear or two.

  18. Ian

    Dear William

    Calm down theres a good chap, this is a Gentlemans (and womens) club

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Ringtones cost so much more because people ARE stupid enough to pay for them"

    Yup and the same people are prepared to pay a couple of quid for JPEG wallpapers.

    It doesn't matter if a few people complain about the cost, because you only need a small percent to make a purchase to make it financial viable.

    So why would they NOT charge?

  20. Nev

    Jobs is running a business!

    You can't blame him if he wants to grab a slice of the (ludicrously) rich ringtone market! He's running a business to make filthy lucre, not as a bloody fangurl charity!

  21. Dan

    @Andy Worth

    My mate recorded his ringtone off a p0rn soundtrack. He's a plasterer, and was talking to some posh woman while pricing up a job in her big house, when the sound of some hussy being banged senseless rang out quite clearly... Genius.

  22. Steve Button Silver badge

    Another reason why I'll never use ITMS

    ...except for free podcasts of course.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Customer is always right

    I'm the customer, I define what terms and conditions I purchase under. Those terms specifically state that once purchased the file is mine to do anything I want with. No other terms and conditions are extant, no matter what the supplier may like.

    Apple, and the whole stinking edifice of lawyers can go to hell - or against the wall when the revolution happens. Laws are only valid when consented to by the majority.

  24. tuzm

    Nice journalism.

    Before you write an article it would be a good idea to do some searching beforehand.

    This isn't Apple's doing. If Apple had it their way there would be no DRM songs on the iTunes and ringtones would be free.

    However once again the Music labels disagree and would like to make more money out of this.

  25. Jay

    To William....

    poor little Apple, of course there is no way that they could ever say "no, we don't think that that is in line with fair use." Apple are just as guilty as the RIAA for being faceless money-grabbing turds.....prick

  26. Kris Chaplin


    Ring tones are the most annoying thing on this planet. I mean, come on... whats wrong with "ring ring?". Anyone attempting to turn any kind of music into a ringtone should be charged...

  27. David Beeston

    What a rip off

    My basic Nokia allows me to sync my phone to Media Player and then use any of my tracks as a ringtone. No second charge whatsoever.

    If Apple had enabled the functionality to use tunes in the library as ringtones no one would have even given it a second glance. The fact you can't is clearly a marketing ploy on Apples behalf to get more revenue from punters with too much cash on their hands.

  28. Richard Sobey

    Re: It matters not

    Catheters are used to drain urine from the bladder, not blood from a vein. It's nice not having to pee.

  29. Andy Turner

    The problem is...

    "Ring tones are the most annoying thing on this planet. I mean, come on... whats wrong with ring ring?"

    The problem with everyone having similar generic ringtones is that people don't instictively know that it's their phone ringing when it goes off in public.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Catheters are used to drain urine from the bladder, not blood from a vein. It's nice not having to pee."

    Well, buy forcing punters to pay for the same music twice I'd say that Apple are ALREADY taking the piss. Wouldn't you?

  31. Dazed and Confused

    What's the point

    What's the point of a law that gives people rights if a company can override those rights?

    Surely if this is the case, every CD on sale in the use would have a label on the box saying you agree to waive the right to listen to this CD in more than one player. You agree to pay the recording company again to listen to the music in your car. You agree to pay the recording company again to listen to YOUR CD in the kitchen...

    Perhaps I could have a sign over my door saying that by entering all lawyers waive the right to life?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Facts are Facts APPLE will charge YOU, TWICE.

    APPLE will not stand up for FAIR USE when they can charge you!

    It may be the pressure of the RIAA behind this but they didn't just drop the hipfone price! this doesnt change the fact, iPods & iPhones are for iDiots, who wish to be contracturally iRogered by iJobs and his iRAA iBuddys

  33. Mark Daniels

    Apple 'v' Normal Phone

    I have a Nokia 6600. Pretty good 'phone. It is however a 'phone, not a 'mini computer/ PDA thingy. But, with a small application, it will play OGG files and MP3 files.

    A ring tone can be any 'sound' [aka : file] ont he device / memory card and it will play for as long as the phone is ringing or, if it is a short clip, will loop. In my experience, this is pretty much how phones work.

    Now, I don't have an Iphone, and nor am I likely to get one, and certinaly not at those prices [and because it is of course latched, which is a real bummer when you travel and you need to stick a local sim in the phone for those cheaper local calls] but am I right in assuming that that this Apple thing does not do what normal 'phones do, as described above ?

    Seems to me then that even if the 'music biz' is at least partly to blame [and they are] Apple are equally culpable in the debate, the designed the bloody thing in the first place.

    It will be interesting to see, when o2 start flogging the thing at over priced values, and after the initially frenzy of 'must have overpriced Chinese tat' just what impact this Apple thing has in europe, where mobile users are, in my experience, just much more savvy than the colonial cousins state side.


  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blame apple for all the ills of the world

    It's now trendy to bash Apple, as they have a poplular product, and a fanbase.

    Reg has fallen to the ways of the gutter and are bashing Apple unashamedly.

    Charging twice? Not able to use custom ring tones legally?

    Get off it - most phones are locked down, if not by specific providers (Orange and Vodafone regularly lock down their phones to stop people playing their own ring tones), then by manufacturer.

    Most ringtones bought cost around £1.50 to £3 and can only be played on the phone you downloaded it to in the first place, and are separate from music tracks downloaded.

    Face it, Apple are doing what the music industry demands of them, and it is they that we should be attacking, not the manufacturer of a popular product.

  35. Steve Evans


    Yes William, the RIAA probably love this, and probably did come up with the idea, but if you remove you apple shaped iHead from your apple shaped iArse (iAss in the colonies), you'd know that Apple is in such a major commanding position when it comes to the sale of DRM music that they can pretty much dictate the deal they want. They have the biggest bar on the beach, the one everyone has heard of, and a zillion customers who think they only way to get drink into their iBelly is from their bar.

    What this story illustrates is the continued erosion of fair use. Which is why I continue to refuse to be an iSheep. I own no Apple products, I'm perfectly happy with a Nokia N95 without finger prints all over the screen, and the Creative Zen Stone plus is a seriously dinky little mp3/radio player. Neither of these force me to use their weird/buggy software and will appear as a USB drive on any OS I choose to use, where I can copy mp3 files on and off as I like.

  36. IanKRolfe

    Why moderate the comments

    When comments like William's get through?

  37. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    "Some of them want to abuse you, Some of them want to be abused"

    If someone is so mentally challenged as to

    - buy iPhone, and

    - want to use a musical ringtone, and

    - be ready to pay for it

    Let them - they are beyond help...

  38. Joey


    99 cents (49p) is probably less than the cost of writing one of these emails! Who gives a damn?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Catheters

    @Richard Sobey

    At the risk of turning this thread into one of those /Daily [Mail|Express]/ type debates on the origin of the cheese sandwich; a catheter is any tube inserted into the body for the draining or injection of fluids.

    I'm now going to go and catalogue my pin collection...

  40. MattW

    @ Richard Sobey - catheters

    There are many types of catheter Richard, generically being devices used to access bodily fluids. A foley or condom catheter is used for pee, an intravenous catheter being used for taking blood or to administer drugs.

    Get yer facts straight you pompous arse.

  41. Hywel Thomas

    Fanboy dislikes iTunes Store

    Look, there are fanboys and there are fanboys. I do my fair share of recommending Macs to people and have notched up a few happy switchers (none unhappy). I have 4 Macs. Yes, this is the labels throwing their weight around. Yes, this is Apple offering cheaper ringtones than most.

    But it still sucks.

    Personally I view the iTunes store as a necessary evil. They needed to do it before Microsoft, or it would have been REALLY bad, instead of a a bit bad.

    Hopefully the EU will sort out the free trade among member states who have an iTunes shop. Either the shop will have to shut, or the labels will have to agree to free trade. Indirectly, Apple will have done us a favour.

    I think that Apple should have simply allowed any DRM free songs to be used as ringtones. How is it done for music that's out of copyright, for example ? And if this was not acceptable to the labels, Apple simply should have told them to fuck off. Can't people make their own ringtones in Garageband and upload them for free ?

    Nah. Apple's as much to blame as the labels on this one.

  42. Nick Palmer

    @ "Blame apple for all the ills of the world"

    I use a Samsung E720 that's locked to Vodafone. I don't buy ringtones off them or anyone else. I DO have MP3 ringtones that I've ripped myself and dumped on the phone via Bluetooth. Obviously, not as locked down as you claim.

  43. Anarchy

    I've said it before, but it's worth repeating

    Aple fanboys are gimps

    How many comments on here are defending apple?

    Why don't you just send Jobs all your money, then drop your pants, bend over, and let him shaft you as hard as he likes while repeating, "please sir, have another buck"?

  44. Alex

    It's do or die i'm afraid

    Apple have almost gone the way of the Dodo a number of times due to the way in which the develop and market products. Allowing a love for 'cool gedgetry' to over rule profit making.

    Indeed they even had to be bailed out by Microsoft at one point!!! (So Microsoft could keep saying they are 'not' a monopoly)

    Only the advent of the i* brand has reversed this trend and even then turnover at apple isn't in the same league as people like Microsoft, Nokia, IBM etc.

    It is difficult to understand why people are surprised that Apple have finally wised up to the need to wring every last penny out of a market.

    And besides that, as far as I can tell the cost of songs on iTunes is no more than you might pay on the UK highstreet! (although not having to drive into town might represent some sort of saving).

    And finally.... if you don't like the price then stop shopping there!!!

  45. jai


    ah ha, i've worked it out. webster freaky is Cade

    and honestly, i can't believe it took you a whole frikken week to write up this rant. this isn't journalism, it's nothing more than a blog rant

  46. Sam


    Buy the CD on line, its frequently cheaper, the choice is bigger and the quality is better.

    As for Appple.. i'm feeling rather smug this week after convincing my wife that there are other MP3 players apart from the Ipod and in the process saved myself quite a few quid

  47. Cameron Colley

    Of course Apple are to blame.

    This policy may have been given to Apple from the RIAA, but they're still implementing what their "lords and masters" tell them to. Apple, and Itunes have been responsible for making DRM acceptable to the non-thinking public and, therefore, Apple have become complicit in the RIAAs illegal and immoral business practices.

    A mafia hitman is still a murdered, the fact that "he's only doing what the boss told him to" does not change that.

    I have to admit, though, to finding it funny that people paid over the odds for such a a function-free device -- then have to go on paying for things that most of us can get free.

  48. Brian

    @Apple 'v' Normal Phone

    <long winded rant>

    I am in a similar position and agree with this. I have a Sony Ericsson v630.... or something like that. Model number aint on the cover and I aint taken the batter out for the purposes of this post.

    The phone has all the usual things most modern phones have; camera, memory card (I got a 4GB one a few weeks back), makes calls, text messages, emails, surf the net, bluetooth, MP3's, some weird video format, etc. The phone is locked to Vodafone, but that's my provider so what do I care?

    My point is, either using the phone cable to directly connect the phone to my PC via USB (when I do this, my phone is picked up as an external USB hard drive), or over bluetooth, I can dump MP3's onto my memory card. I can plug in my earphones and listen to the MP3's if I so wish, just like a real MP3 player!!! But, I can also selected any of my MP3's as a ringtone. I don't need to modify it, or pay anything to do it. I just rip the song off a CD, copy it to my fone, and select it as my ring tone.

    Now, I haven't seen an iPhone yet, but have read a bit about it. And if the iPhone could just play MP3's, this issue obviosuly wouldn't be..... well, and issue. For those Apple defenders, the iPhone was designed by APPLE, not the RIAA. It was programmed by APPLE, not the RIAA. APPLE wrote the iPhone software in such a way that prevented you from using an MP3 as a ringtone. There is no two ways about that. MAYBE the RIAA are pressuring Apple now to charge twice for a ringtone, but it was Apple that gave them that opportunity by restricting the iPhone and not allowing it to use existing MP3's (bought or ripped from CD) as a ringtone. The charges may be the result of the RIAA, but the restrictions are Apples doing.

    Now, I aint an Apple blaster or "fanboy". I have an Apple notebook, a PC with XP on it, and two *nix machine. I have an 80 GB iPod, because my 4GB on my fone just isn't enough space and I think it's a pretty good device. It suits my needs. Apple software in general is very good, and is very hard to fault a lot of the time. But this restriction on the use of MP3's on the iPhone...... there's clearly money making reasons behind that, because if the RIAA forced them to do it that way, then they would have forced Sony Ericsson, Nokia, and any other phone manufacturers that make phones with MP3 players built in!

    </long winded rant>

  49. Ivan Headache

    it's all Apple's fault - can't the the market for the Spite.

    I can't believe the venom in some of these posts today. It's Apple so it's all Steve Jobs fault!

    What absolute balls.

    The ringtone market in the UK is bigger than the singles market and legit "bought" ringtones cost half as much again than Apple is charging (and sometimes more). So why is it wrong for Apple to join this market?

    What everyone seems to be ignoring is that, by it's very nature, a ringtone is a public performance and therefore a licence is required (at least in the UK anyway) I don't know if any of Apple's fee includes that sort of licence or even if it's possible to police it. There are times when I wish there was a ringtone police to shut up some of the cr*p that polutes the public spaces.

    I've never bought a ringtone and never will. The nice little samba in my nokia is good enough for me.

  50. Daniel Snowden

    On a more positive note...

    This could discourage iPhone users from using MP3s as ringtones, saving the public from being exposed to mind/tasteless tripe every time the users phone goes off.

    Then again, I doubt many chavs will have an iPhone, so the worst culprits wont be affected.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Long live Phreaky!!!

    Give him Webster his own column - he's wasted here!!!

  52. tim


    I agree

  53. Michael C

    It's not Apple, it's AT&T

    First, it's not illegal to simply convery a ITMS purchase into a ringtone on your own. It's illegal to use tools to circumvent the DRM. However, Apple has given us a way out... Simply burn the song to CD, then re-import it as an MP3, then attack it normally with ringtone tools.

    On the surface, all Apple is preventing you from doing is making rungtones without paying them a "service" fee to do so simple and using intelligent and integrated tools for existing software.

    iTunes will, for .99 per use, allow approved songs to be edited, cut, converted, downloaded, and automatically added to your phone in a single operation using only 1 tool to do so. The restriction on what songs can be cut does fall under legal restrictions as Apple is commercially distributing edited works. Doing so on your own however is fair use and perfectly legal.

    If you want to waste a blank CD, some time, and download several applications (one to crop the MP3, one to convert it to a supported ringtone format, one to crack the iTunes database and add the file, and possibly one to crack the phone to allow it to play your personal ringtone), go ahead, it's your right. btw: you might have to pay for some of the software I just listed. It even one of them is $20 or more, it's worth it just to pay Apple as you could get 20 ringtones without the trouble. How many ringtones does one man need??? I use 3 at any given time, most use 1. I change them less than 4 times a year.

    What's really going on here though is not Apple trying to make money by providing a convenience service, it's Apple undermining the ringtone distribution industry. They have to play this carefully or possibly either violate AT&T contract terms or alienate themselves from getting contracts on other networks. This may be the reason Apple is considdering 700MHz air waves. Nobody likes the fact that Apple may very well steal a large portion of their ringtone business. You, me, and another 2% of america can figure out how to make a ringtone, but the rest either can't do it or don't have access to the software to do it. Ringtones are IMENSELY profitable, some say more than any other segment of the cellular industry (text messaging still wins in most cases there, but also remember, with wifi, that's a thing of the past now too...)

  54. Dave


    @ All those LOSERS using iTunes. Talk about wearing horse blinders. They deserve to waste their money...twice! It takes 5 minutes to make your own ringtone, yet these idiots are paying $2-3?? Way to go! Must be Americans, only my country can be so stupid.

    I've had ringtones on my phone for two years. Free. Well, I bought the song, and clipped 30 seconds off it and faded out the end. Nice clean, and non-hiphop. Everyone wants to know where I bought them. I just laugh.

    (LOL @ Uncle Fucker in the store, that's great!)

  55. Dave

    Oh, now I see why iTunes users can't make ringtones

    It's an intentional total pain in the ass. I think that's hysterical. I can make my own ringtones with a music player like Windows Media Player (comes with the OS) that will play any song, Windows Recorder (cheap utility comes with the OS, can record wavs for 1 minute) and WMP again to convert the recording to mp3. (Not that I would use WMP, but for the sake of example)

    Takes 5 minutes, and free.

    Oh wait, you use iTunes?




  56. elder norm

    Sandman is right

    MS trolls and Apple haters, get a life.

    Ringtones run $2.00 to $2.50 or so and you do not get the whole song.

    Apple says if you have the song, its 99 cents. OH gee that must be bad. I want it free. Boo Hoo.

    Bite me. :-)

    And to the folks that can customize a song they swiped elsewhere with software they swiped elsewhere, I say, Hey. My time is worth more than the days you spend getting and tweaking. But what you do is up to you.

    I say, Apple, it just works. Use it, find a work around, what ever. But why bitch so much???? Is Microsoft spreading money around that much these days??? Wow, they must be worried. :-)

  57. Peter Mc Aulay

    Oh please

    It matters not a whit why Apple charges twice for the same song, only that they do. I'm astonished that so many people find it necessary to conjure up excuses for a corporation's behaviour.

    Then again there are plenty of jurisdictions where, if it looks like a sale, walks like a sale and quacks like a sale, it's a sale and not "licencing" - so Apple can't actually enforce this very often.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So legally, if a license holder said I have to hop on one leg while listening to the song...

    Venglarik said. "They're the licensed distributor for the copyrighted work, and they can constrain use as much as they want."

    So if they said in their EULA (which I don't have to actually sign, or be 18 to agree, or have a lawyer present while reading it) that I have to hop on one leg everytime I listen to the song, they could enforce that. Or even worse, they demand that I have vote Repulican every time I listen to the song, they could enforce that.

    That says to me we have given too much power to copyright holders.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elder Norm...

    ... said "And to the folks that can customize a song they swiped elsewhere with software they swiped elsewhere, I say, Hey. My time is worth more than the days you spend getting and tweaking. But what you do is up to you."

    Don't you get it? On normal phones there is no need to get files, tweak them etc. I have a 2 year old SE K750i, nothing flash. I can rip any cd I own straight to it, and use any sound file I want as a ringtone, no tweaking necessary. I can use any old image file as background wallpaper or a screensaver, again , no tweaking required. Yet your 'cutting edge' iPhone is seemingly bereft of these abilities, how peculiar.

    I know it must hurt you terribly to have spent 600 dollars on something that looks nice, but lacks a lot of capabilities that can be found on £30 entry-level handsets, designed for kids and pensioners, but must you fools come up with a pathetic justification for every new rip-off foisted on the gullible? "I R 2 IMPORTENT 2 MAEK OWN RINGTONE. HEER MR JOBS TAEK MY WALLET" What next, "Apple to charge per key press" or charging you to download your own photos from the phone? I bet you fanbois would find a way to justify that too.

    Amused Geekette

  60. Tim Butterworth

    Who started the myth of Apple?

    It's been a long time now that Apple have had this 'we're fighting for the little guy' thing going, but it seems like a long time ago (if ever) that this was actually the case. In fact, so long ago did this myth of Apple not being a money grabbing Megacorp start I can't even remember where it came from. Is this something that Apple have sold us, or is it something that Apple Fanboy and Fangirls have spread to justify years of paying over the odds for top-end products that probably aren't worth the extra money?

    Either way, I think that society needs to put the myth down for good. Apple is no different from Microsoft, Dell, Sony or any of the other companies. I'm not saying that their products aren't often cutting edge (to the general public) and occasionally genuinely inventive - but we should all stop being surprised when Appl£ (see what I did there? If you don't have '£' on your keyboard you can use a Euro symbol instead!) manipulate consumers. Appl£ exists to make money, not to save the world from Capitalism.

  61. Gordon

    Slitting their own throats.

    So pay exhorbitant sums for a iphone and pay 3 dollars for a ringtone. Or pay less for a regular mobile, download the MP3 illegally and clip it for free, before sticking it on your phone?

    Not exactly attempting to compete, really... Are they?

    Never mind. I'm sure they can fix it with more lawyers.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So does this "fair use" thing mean that

    I can *acquire* a digital version of any song that I "own" and use it on any digital media player that I own, presuming personal use, not for resale, etc, etc...?

    For example, I have several hundred albums, for the yoofs out there that is a plastic disc with music engraved on it, I bought them and neither signed nor agreed to any license for their use, I effectively own that item. So, under fair use, can I obtain a digital copy of the music on these albums and play them on my portable digital media player of choice without looking over my shoulder for the RCMP to come and take me to gitmo?


  63. Tim

    Didn't anyone else see this coming?

    I'm no fortune teller but I could see Apple with it's highly restricted but "cool" phone doing things like this, why charge once when people will pay twice?

    Don't like your wallpaper? Want funky videos to play when someone rings? Want something you got on your old phone? All available through the iTunes store for a very reasonable additional price to the $399 you already forked out.

    The more you pay for a product the more you have to pay ontop to get what you want.

    Nokia 5300: Ringtones from any track you load on the phone

    iPhone: Have to pay extra

    Ford folding rear seats: Standard

    BMW: Extra

    £20 Dvd player: Divx Playback standard

    £200 Panasonic: Divx not available, but comes on the £300 model.

    It's industry standard (all industries) to squeeze a bit more out, but everytime they do people act suprised and people pay up anyway.

  64. Jim

    Give me a break...

    So Apple fights for the little guy? Seems that a few here have already pointed out, by way of defence, that Apple are a 'business' and, as such, are out to make money so stop whining and either buy or not.

    As for the "the RIAA made us do it" defence? I'm sure the decision to disable the 'use as ringtone' option was made by Apple. Pretty crappy but as there is a work around then it becomes irrelevent for many.

    And I have to agree that Cade Metz & Phreakey must be the same person (or good friends), else how does WP always seem to get one of the 1st comments up?

  65. t3h

    To all the Apple haters

    To all the Apple haters who have posted here: Haters are fanboys too.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "If we're going to lambast Apple for charging twice - and I do agree that it is an unwelcome double charge - we should ask WHY Apple are charging twice."

    did you just come down in the last shower!?!??!

    Because they are like all other companies, and want to take all your money for as little effort as possible.

    And no I didn't bother reading the rest of your post given after that what would be the point!


  67. AB

    Windows Recorder tip for Dave. Also, iPhone zealots can't argue worth a damn

    @Dave, who said "Windows Recorder (cheap utility comes with the OS, can record wavs for 1 minute)". You can actually make Windows Recorder record more than a minute... load a longer sound file, record over the top, then Save As. Only useful when you can't get any other software onto the machine, but it's come in handy for me once or twice.

    Also, so as to be less completely off topic: how are the RIAA responsible for this lockdown on the iPhone when other phones don't have this craptacular 'feature'? I don't really care what Apple do because they're getting none of my money because they have no respect for the intelligence of the consumer.

    However, I do I reserve the right to laugh at the iVangelists on this board and elsewhere. if you're going to blindly lash out at anyone who dares criticize Steve 'Look into the eyes, not around the eyes' Jobs by using such a patently false defence, you might as well not bother...

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