back to article iTunes Match is iPiracy, claims loopy Oz industry troll

You can’t make this stuff up: the new Apple iTunes Match service has been described as “legitimizing piracy” by an Australian lawyer. The US$24.99 per year Match service will identify and index the songs on a subscriber’s hard drive, locate those songs in iTunes, and add those tunes to the user’s account in the new Apple …


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  1. kain preacher


    The music labels are getting paid and this lawyer smells blood ? I'm wondering has this lawyer been sanctioned before . This is the kind of lawyer that read about in the states that gets disbarred , held in contempt of court and then is barred from ever bring certain types of law suits every again with a sane lawyer signing off .

  2. LaeMing

    Well, he IS a lawyer.

    If people stop breaking the law, he joins the dole que.

    And it couldn't happen to a more deserving class of lawyer IMHO.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Graham Wilson

      @LaeMing -- "The first thing we do..." wasn't done!

      "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

      2 Henry VI : Act 4, scene 2 / Shakespeare, W.

      'Twasn't done!

      5C later we've still the problem. Even in Oz. they run feral like rabbits.

  3. Steve McPolin

    Leave Ken alone...

    He is a "hit man" for the media cartels; what do you expect him to do. I'm surprised more of them haven't bleated the same story to endear themselves to the family....

    ps: I think "hit man" is a pretty cool pun.

  4. Tommy Pock

    Dearest Ken

    There are a couple of important points my friends and I here are well aware of, but you seem to have missed:

    Here is a way for the music industry - and, ultimately, musicians - to get money they would NEVER otherwise see, whether the music is pirated or not. If it's legitimate music the industry will have been paid twice. And you're paid to represent them? If I were you I'd seriously consider offering to refund the cost of your services.

    1. Charles 9

      The thing is...

      ...they want the double dip to be THE NORM. If they had their way, they'd get a cut of your hide each and every time you PLAYED the thing. In their minds, music (and perhaps any form of copyrighted media) is never really sold by the copy so much as leased, and if you don't like it, live in silence for all they care (they also believe you're a captive audience). So for the lawyer and the music industry, this goes beyond getting the freetards to pay. They want to get more than the double dip. They want the TRIP DIP (pay for actual CDs, pay for Digital Copies--that have pay-per-use attachments--AND pay the legal fees) the LEAST.

  5. Gannon (J.) Dick

    Music Laundering ?

    This may be caffeine related, but to me it sounds like a predictable response from an Entertainment Industry Lawyer having been told he is not allowed to print his own money.

  6. Steen Hive

    Why, Pray tell

    would "rights holders" and their legal thugs bother to sell music at all, when it is apparently more profitable to sue and criminalise copyright infringement?

  7. T J

    Idiots? Yes we have those.

    Yes, sorry everybody, we have some real idiots here in Oz, some absolute tools.

    Put it this way - we only JUST banned live exports of cattle overseas, and in at least one state we still don't have a rail link to the airport.

    Hit the porch and resume whittlin', where's my banjo......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      What's their reasoning behind that? Did they also ban live imports? Are they going to expand the ban to all other animals?

      1. chr0m4t1c

        As long as they don't extend it to people

        London will run out of bar staff in days if that happens.

  8. Kibble

    Storm in a teacup

    "The music industry gets its slice of the income..."

    What's the problem?

    1. Ian Stephenson

      The problem is..

      .. at least from his view point,

      that he doesn't.

  9. Oninoshiko


    So... the music industry agreed to the terms under which apple licensed the music, but then some lawyer representing the music labels (let's be honest here, most musicians are not adequately represented by the industry trade groups) says "it's not fair, they are going to stop my lawyerly gravy-train!"

  10. x600


    Why would I want to legitimize my music hoard? Whats the point no one is going to sue me for the music on my HD.

    1. Ru

      Better hope the reg...

      ...doesn't discover that providing the details of indiscreet freetards to music labels or film publishers is more lucrative than advertising to them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      from "EIO Type 4: Interception of telecommunications"

      "no one is going to sue me for the music on my HD" ?

      Remote access to computer hard drives came up at the G6 meeting in Bonn on 26-27 September 2008 [G6 is an intergovernmental group comprised of the Interior Ministers of the six largest states in the EU: UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Poland]. At the Bonn meeting they were joined by the Secretary of Homeland Security from the USA. The Conclusions stated:

      "The interior ministers note that almost all partner countries have or intend to have in the near future national laws allowing {remote} access to computer hard drives and other data storage devices located on their territory. However, the legal framework with respect to transnational searches of such devices is not well-developed. The interior ministers will therefore continue to seek ways to reduce difficulties and to speed up the process in future (para 13)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        anyone want in on a new business ? we'll have large ships anchored in international waters that hold floating datacenters. broadband satellite links...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    So . . .

    . . . doesn't water circle the drain backwards down under? That would explain his logic.

  12. Goat Jam

    Thank Gawd For Liarers

    "defends the rights to Hendrix material"

    Because, lord knows, poor Jimi would starve to death otherwise.

    Oh, wait . . .

    Beer for Jimi RIP

  13. Anonymous Coward

    That is why I will not use this service

    I have bought all ~90G which constitute my muisc collection nowdays. My other half is an IPR lawyer so having the house broadband appear on the P2P IP lists is a career limiting move.

    However, paying a license for it one more time? Per Annum? Sorry - the short answer is F*** O***. The long answer is also F*** O***. The plutocrats got enough money of me as it is.

    In any case, the same service costs nothing when rendered using iTunes (the actual application) from a Mac or PC to the same 10 (or 10 times more) devices.

    1. Jeremy Chappell


      You aren't buying the music again - you are getting some cloud services for the music you bought outside iTunes. I don't think this is "per year" as you put it, you can use the matching service "for a year" - if you "match" your music this year then why would you need to do it again next year?

      You don't have to upload your collection (which would take ages) you get nice clean versions (if your old ones were done a while ago what's the bit-rate?). This music is DRM-free (Apple aren't restricting you here). Now you can download this stuff from the cloud, it is all backed up for you. So you're getting (by your estimate) 90Gb of backup for your music.

      Now you don't have to do this, you can still use iTunes as your music locker, but I don't think this is the worse deal in the world. Assuming you have a large music collection that's not from iTunes.

      1. Jolyon

        DRM Free

        If it is DRM free how come you can play it on 'up to 10 devices'? What is imposing that limit?

        1. vic 4


          thats how itunes works

        2. Jeremy Chappell


          It won't "push" to more than 10 devices... the music will play - but you'll have to do the sync with iTunes (either over USB or WiFi). No DRM here.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, pot .. kettle, have a look at Switzerland..

    Since March, the Swiss have been apparently investigating their equivalent of the RIAA (IFLI) for fraud in hit parades (i.e. market rigging) and effectively dictating what the stations play (read: they can promote or suppress records as they wish). That's probably not news to anyone, but the Swiss ministry of commerce considers that non-competitive behaviour, and the preliminary investigation has now just been converted into a formal one (that translates as "they have found enough to warrant to start digging for real"). IFPI also apparently force their members into signing contracts against non-IFLI controlled music imports, thus creating an illegal monopoly.

    This isn't the first time they're in trouble - in 1994 a totally unknown band (Steamtrain) stormed the hit parade. Why? Sony (yup, that lot again) has worked out in which specific shop they had to buy to rig the charts and simply emptied stock there - but got recognised by the competition :-).

    The consequences for IFPI and members (Sony, Warner, EMI and Universal) can be dire if the above is proven: talk is about fines to 10% of their turnover of the last 3 years.

    In the process it may finally become clear how the company Media Control (aptly named, no?) calculates their charts. At present, it's far from transparent..

    ( for those who speak German - Blick is like the UK Sun, but sometimes it does come up with good stories).

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong response

    Assuming that the Match service allows the user to choose whether or not to legitimise the tracks, they could lean on Apple to inform the music industry when it isn't taken up - makes going after pirates a bit easier.

    Of course any sensible person, pirate or not, wouldn't let this sort of snoopng loose on their machine, so it may be academic.

  16. Michael B.

    My first Idea too

    When this was announced, with the fee, I realised that this would be a perfect way to get a high quality copy of your friend's library for one low yearly fee. Just borrow their music library and get iTunes match to trade you up to a lovely DRM free high bitrate AAC copy.

  17. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Easy to see why he is upset..

    .. prosecuting people, even if they're possibly innocent, always brings in money for solicitors. Apple thus deprives him of income..

  18. poohbear

    Hail Caesar! We who are about to die, Salute You!

    So I'm wondering how Apple is going to match things up? Will they use something like Shazam which will hopefully work with even the first few seconds of low-quality rips, or will they rely on something like MP3 tags? Either way, I see plenty of scope for gaming the system ...

    1. Christopher W
      Black Helicopters

      Nope, cleverer

      Neither - ID3s can go missing or be wholly incorrect, they'll almost certainly be going the Shazam-esque route and using previously produced fingerprints of the audio provided by the labels (through a third party service) to identify the tracks. These are VERY resistant to abuse, degradation, corruption or even transcoding / playing out of a speaker then rerecording back in via micrphone!)

      Think of YouTube's audio ID and replacement system; this also uses the same fingerprinting solution (it's likely Audible Magic's platform). We've been courted by Audible Magic at work (indie label) to fingerprint our catalogue in the past (at the behest of Merlin); we've not done it yet as the cost is disproportionate and it wouldn't stop people uploading entire albums in RARs to blogspots.

  19. Simon Neill

    what a stupid idea.

    So, you pay $24/yr, license all your unlicensed songs and what...RE-license all the ones you ripped from legit CDs?


    Also, would they stop bloomin moaning. If it makes people legit rather than pirate surely its a good thing?

    1. chr0m4t1c

      Not quite

      You get all of that plus access to your music via "the cloud" for up to 10 devices at the same time.

      OK, the value of that to you will depend very much on how often you think you'll want that facility and how much music you actually own, but it does compare quite well with the more DIY version you could do yourself with other services.

      First, any music that is available in iTunes does not count towards your usage quota of 5Gb (it's not clear if more storage can be purchased at the moment) and you do not need to spend time uploading it because it's already there. So, if you have 400 albums and 399 are in iTunes, you'll only be uploading and storing 1.

      Second, $24.99 (probably £20.99 in the UK) isn't actually that expensive for cloud storage, taking a simplistic view 400 albums may be about 40Gb of storage, that'll currently set you back $9.99/month or $99/year on Dropbox or if you only want online music then Spotify will cost you £4.99 or £9.99 if you want to use it on a mobile device.

      OK, this service doesn't match 100% with either of those two because Dropbox doesn't limit you to music storage and Spotify doesn't limit you to what you own, but it still comes in at about a third of the price.

      If you have 250Gb+ of music like I do, then this is spectacularly good value (especially as I couldn't say for definite that all of the stuff I have is legit), but if you have <10Gb it doesn't make much sense at all.

      I'm actually hoping that this takes away the need to even bother ripping a CD at all, it should be possible to put the disk in the drive and just download the tracks to all linked devices as soon as the album is identified.

  20. The Beer Monster

    Hang on...

    Every piece of music in Apple's collection for $24.99? Bargain.

  21. SimonX


    ...he's right, isn't he?

    1. sabroni Silver badge



  22. sherbey

    guilty until presumed innocent

    Alternatively, they could be mp3s that you ripped from your CD collection.....

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Even Better Idea

    Pay Apple nothing and still enjoy my music.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Music laundering? What a great idea!

    Sign me up for $25 a year please!

    Oh wait...all mine are legit (burned from CD I bought). Never mind.

    Still, $25 a year (for one year only, I suspect) is a cheap way of pre-populating album art, meta data and song titles for CD-based albums, which usually have that stuff missing.

    Hopefully though, it doesn't replace the original media? My CD-based collections is lossless, so moving to 256k is a reduction in quality.

    1. Jeremy Chappell

      Mobile devices?

      Yeah, but you're probably going to use this new "matched" music on mobile devices right? So the files will be smaller (still DRM-free - why do some many here thing iTunes still uses DRM?!) and you'll probably be listening in places where either the acoustics will be "sub optimal" or there is ambient noise - so does it matter?

      What is cool is you can get music to a device (assuming there is WiFi or 3G - hopefully WiFi) which couldn't store all your music normally.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    But isn't he technically correct?

    This Oz chappy might have drunk too much coffee (I wouldn't know; I don't know him), but isn't he actually correct in what he is saying?

    This 'laundering' was the thing that popped into my head when I first read about this iCloud nonsense a couple of days ago. I have no sympathy whatsoever with the recording industry, but what this guy is saying is correct - For $25 (or whatever it is), I can potentially convert my thousands of pirated CDs into 'virtual' legit ones. $25 hardly seems sufficient to compensate for this, so I would be getting a VERY good deal indeed (ignoring for now the crappy iTunes bit rates and any DRM etc etc). Multiply this by the millions of other people that are doing the same, and the cost per 'virtual' CD will come down to something approaching zero; not really providing any income at all for anyone (record company or artist) other than Apple.

    This is no different from Google scanning and publishing all those books that it wants to without any regard for copyright and with no intention of paying the authors for their work.

    1. Jolyon

      That's how it seemed to me too

      It's clearly better for the industry than someone pirating and never paying anything at all but if I decided to switch from buying the few hundred quid a year of CD and vinyl that I do currently and went down this Persil Pirate route they'd lose out.

      And seeing as the real freetards will resent even this small outlay it might more likely be people like me who prefer to be more or less legit who would be attracted to this sort of service.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      A sane opinion here! I wonder if this works off the ID3 tags alone - if so, I'm going to copy a single MP3, adjust the ID3 tag to whatever track I want, and let Apple supply me with a proper copy.

    3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      value of music?

      and the cost per 'virtual' CD will come down to something approaching zero;

      Seems like an accurate assessment of the value of the crap that the simon cowell clones generate each year. FFS most of the churned acts the music industry hypes every year make the bay city rollers look like virtuoso musicians

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      With the one slight exception...

      ... that, unlike Google, Apple has an agreement with the record labels (well at least the majors) and will be paying them. So, think of this as a subscription but you only get access to files you already 'own'

    5. airmanchairman

      90% of Zip is Diddly-Squat...

      While 2% of something is something.

      "Bread-head" musicians make this argument all the time, and in a nutshell this is what Apple must have been hammering out to the record labels all this time.

      It offers a chance to recoup "lost" revenue in a royalty-like system which is based on the "little drops of water, little grains of sand, make a mighty ocean and a desert land" hymn..

  26. nichomach

    I don't hold any brief for the record companies, but...

    ...have Apple actually agreed this with them, or are they simply telling them "this is what we're doing, suck it up or take your ball home"? If the latter, isn't this close to being the sort of flat-rate market destroying hell that your colleague Orlowski's banged on about previously?

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Er, no

      Because you're not getting any new music at all for your $24.99/yr. You're just getting sync and somewhere new to keep the music you already have, in an online locker.

      The "clever" bit is that you don't (in theory) have to upload anything to have the tracks available on another machine, if they're matched against the cloud catalog. For this Apple negotiated licenses, because it's making a copy of a sound recording.

      I'll pass, because I don't want my MP3s chewed up and spat back at me as AACs... and I don't want to pay £20 for that privilege.

      1. nichomach
        Thumb Up

        OK, yep

        I get the distinction, and thanks for the response, much appreciated.

  27. John G Imrie

    Re write

    Lawyer claims buying music is ilegal

    1. SimonX

      Or should that be...


  28. farizzle

    It's a case of

    the music industry earning more money from music that could already be paid for, to make up for that music which they believe wasnt..

    To quote Carlos Mencia as seen in the South Park episode "Fishsticks" just before Kanye West had him killed..

    "just GET IT man! Just GET IT!"

  29. Peter Murphy

    Ken Philip needs to read his history.

    One good way of fighting piracy is to make it easy for pirates to go legitimate. It's a good win-win situation. With a stroke of the pen (or the quill, or the electrons), pirates can join the community without any fear of past indiscretions over their head, and the community has less pirates preying on it. For example, George the First pardoned over three hundred pirates (of the "shiver me timbers" persuasion) in 1717.

    Of course, His Majesty's Reasons were different. These ex-pirates could then be reclassified as "privateers"; they remained just one letter of marque away from preying on Spanish booty in the name of England.

    Still, the principle remains. If you are going to have laws, make it EASY to be law-abiding. "Laundering" naughty mp3s is quite a sensible way to achieve the goal.

    1. Oninoshiko

      *shakes head*

      you just don't GET it. having an absolutely byzantine legal system, where no one understands it is CLEARLY a complete benefit (if you happen to be a lawyer). (Lawyers) Want it to be hard to follow the law, that way they have a never-ending business. Hrm... this gentleman happens to be a lawyer... funny, that!

      "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" --Henry VI, Act IV, Scene II

  30. sunjun5

    Doing his job...

    I think that as a lawyer he is trying to do his job, interpret the law and decide if something is legal. I can understand his point that Apple could be helping people "launder" their music. I think most people would agree that a music recording has some dollar value.

    An analogy would perhaps be banking $1000, with a sneaky counterfeited $50 stuck in the bunch. The bank may credit me that $50, but it would be wrong to do so.

    We actually need lawyers to help interpret the law here. Music distribution is changing radically, and we need to explore what this means. I am not an advocate of the RIAA who seem to think that nothing has changed in the past 15 years in the music industry... unfortunately they have all the highly paid lawyers on their side.

    1. Ian Stephenson

      close but no cigar,,,

      That would be the court's and the judges job to interpret the law.

      His job as a lawyer is to a) try to convince the court that his interpretation is the correct one.

      or b) to scare the public enough that his interpretation doesn't get challlenged in court (ACS anyone?).

      And a better analogy would be the bristol zoo carpark attendant myth.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    What about new files?

    As I understand it has a limit of 20,000 tracks, which seems pretty generous, but a few things spring to mind about this whole thing.

    It seems that it may discourage people from actually buying music from iTunes. I mean, if you can download a bad quality rip from a torrent site, and then press the "Refresh Match" button in iTunes, you suddenly get a better quality, legal copy.

    As a one off amnesty I can see the music companies get money they would otherwise never see (and people who buy their music legally, get it stored in the cloud, and available on ten devices for $25pa, which seems reasonable). But I can certainly imagine sales at iTunes dropping as a result.

    And as someone already noted, if this is going to work on tags of files (as album art does), then you could just change the meta data of a few files, and get the new music you want, without even the hassle of finding in on a torrent site. In fact, surely it would be easy to write a program that does that for you - input a link to the album, and get back the actual music courtesy of Apple?

    1. Jeremy Chappell

      No limit

      Nope, they used this in their example (because others have limits). There is no actual limit as such.

    2. Gilbert Wham


      Any torrent site worth its salt will have a range of formats far superior to 256kb AAC available...

  32. Adrian Jones

    Dammit Apple

    Is it Wednesday or not?

  33. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

    One question that no-one appears to be asking:

    Who gets the twenty five bucks annually? Apple are collecting it, are they passing it on to the music industry, in whole or in part, or are they keeping it all themselves?


    1. Charles 9

      It's in the article.

      The music industry gets a cut of the take. Apple takes the rest, partly for profit and the rest to help run the system.

    2. Christopher W

      Apple of course!

      Apple takes 30% just for being special. The remaining 70% will likely be split 58/12 - 58% of the remainder to labels, 12% for the US publishing. This will have to change for non-US royalties because publishing is administered differently in the US from almost everywhere else in the world because the rest of the world usually has just one unified collection agency per country, not two or three!

      Thing is, the actual amount on which the royalty will be calculated will be an absolute pittance - revenues will probably be similar to Spotify (where you need hundreds of thousands of plays to earn $100).

      1. Jeremy Chappell

        Retail Model

        Yeah, why should the retailer make any money... I mean, the very idea that a shop should make any money from selling other people's products, it's almost capitalist!

  34. David Barrett

    How does it actually work?

    So I dont upload my music, it scans my library, matches to itunes and then gives me access to that music on itunes..

    How does it check that the music it finds on my PC is actually the track that it says?

    Could I for instance take an mp3 of me singing in the bath, add the metadata for something else and then get cloudy access to the something else?

    Or (as may be more likley) have I misunderstood the whole thing?

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Too Much Coffee

    No, the industry lawyer has not 'drunk too much coffee' ...

    ... he/she has SEEN THE MONEY.

  36. ratfox


    No, it is not a codec.

    From now on, I will promote the abbreviation in the title for the quote in Henry The Sixth, Part 2 Act 4, scene 2:

    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

  37. Anonymous Coward

    reverse pirate

    So if I have a legit copy of some music on my pc, and the record labels do not have a valid licence for that music but distribute it anyway (not uncommon), then this system will provide me with up to 9 pirate 'copies' without me knowing. Do Apple indemnify me against being sued in this case ?

  38. Head


    This solicitor has one of three frames of mind at work:

    1) Legitimately trying to protect IP under Australian law

    2) Trolling people and the government

    3) Highlighting the backwards nature of Aus IP law, in that making a backup copy is technically illegal, as is using one legitimate song on more than one device

  39. Steven Roper

    I don't think commenters have understood what's at stake here

    Whether there is DRM on this music library is irrelevant, because it's not needed. The music isn't stored on your devices under your control, it's stored in Apple's cloud under THEIR control. That's how they can limit your usage to 10 devices without any DRM - because you no longer have a copy of the music under your control. You merely stream it from Apple's cloud, which detects which device is connected and refuses the connection if you have more than 10 registered to your cloud account.

    This is the REAL danger of the so-called "cloud". It's about transferring storage and control of your files from you to some 3rd party provider, who could theoretically lock, edit or delete them leaving you with no evidence they ever existed in the form you provided them. Or make them available to those who have enough money/power to convince the cloud provider to let them in. After all, money talks and bullshit walks.

    I can see its usefulness - having your files accessible anywhere there is an Internet connection speaks for itself - but don't ever let it become a replacement for private storage. Otherwise the information revolution is well and truly lost, because the kind of manipulation of history envisaged by Orwell becomes trivial for the ruling bodies once everything is in "the cloud".

  40. Rattus Rattus


    Does that mean the sensible thing to do is hit up the torrent sites and see how many hundreds of gig of music you can grab for free, then pay a $25 fee and it all magically becomes legit? That's what it sounds like to me, am I just misreading this?

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