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etrepum From: etrepum Date: June 28th, 2006 08:01 am (UTC) (Link)
While DRM does suck, your conclusion is kinda bogus... so long as you still have your Apple ID and password you can reset the machines associated with your iTunes account. I did it a few months ago when I got a new laptop.
glyf From: glyf Date: June 28th, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here are the steps to get screwed:
  • buy some music.
  • back up M4P files, not realizing they're still encrypted.
  • reinstall your OS, destroying your computer's copy of your private key.
  • reformat your iPod, destroying your iPod's copy of your private key.
  • repeat this process 4 times.
  • restore backup of M4P files to new mac.
Voila. All your previously-purchased music is now unplayable.

Now, sure, I could re-set my iTunes account and get a new private key, but since, unlike, e.g. Steam, iTunes doesn't let you re-download things you've previously purchased, that doesn't do anything for my existing music. Why would I want to do that, though? This new private key would simply allow me to buy more music from a store that's just screwed me over.

I'd be really surprised if there were a way around this - after all, the whole point of DRM is to prevent you from playing the music on multiple devices, and there's no way to distinguish this situation from me having lots of devices. (As it happens, I also have more than 5 devices I'd like to be able to access my music from: iPod, home machine, work machine, work laptop, common room audio machine, mac laptop. But that's a different story.)
etrepum From: etrepum Date: June 28th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
No! Wrong again.

All you need is the file and the credentials. You don't need any key from your compiler or iPod. I could send someone an M4P file and give them my Apple ID and password and they'd be able to play it.
glyf From: glyf Date: June 28th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I am speaking from experience. I tried what you've suggested and it did not work. Maybe it's a bug, rather than a policy, (and it's understandable why, my apple ID is almost as ancient as it can get, and I've seen WebObjects errors on every third try to do something on their site with it) but my point holds - if you're going to write restrictive software, you'd better be damn sure it's not buggy.

I would test again to verify, but I have since deleted my m4p backups, acquired other copies of the music in question, and decided to never use ITMS again; this was only one of dozens of reasons.
etrepum From: etrepum Date: June 28th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
At one point you needed to send an email or something in order to deauthorize all the machines on your account, but you can definitely do it on demand pretty easily these days.

Either way, your experience doesn't reflect anything a current user is going to see.
glyf From: glyf Date: June 28th, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
OK! Well, thanks for the correction. I'll note it in the article's body.
etrepum From: etrepum Date: June 28th, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also, iPods don't count. You can put the M4P file on 20,000 iPods and as long as the computer you did it with had access to play the file at the time then you'd be able to listen to it all you want on the iPods.

The only devices that count are computers. You listed 5 of those.
glyf From: glyf Date: June 28th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Has this always been true? Circa iTunes 4 I believe I got a few confusingly-worded error dialogs relating to synchronizing multiple iPods to one library collection, which is where I got this impression. It never actually broke anything though.

Most of those computers run Linux most of the time, so it's a wash anyway. The ones that don't run linux all the time dual-boot, which would make them "multiple devices" from the perspective of most DRM software.

Also, the fact that I only have 5 computers is a historical accident. When I can afford to get a computer to drive the TV - ironically, this will probably be a mac mini ;) - I'll be back up past 5 again, and that's not to mention being able to play songs that I want my siblings or parents to hear on their computers when I don't have my iPod with me, etc etc.
etrepum From: etrepum Date: June 28th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it's always been true. Authorization FAQ.

I agree that 5 is a bit limiting for people like you or me.. I've got more than five, and those are just my macs. In practice, I'm almost always playing music from one or two machines, and if I need to swap in or out another computer I can do the deauthorize dance.

It's probably possible to game it to get more than 5 computers. ktrace iTunes to see what it does when you deauthorize, roll it back to the previous state, and make damn sure iTunes can't talk to Apple HQ (ipfw and/or Little Snitch maybe). It definitely does let you play M4P while disconnected. I haven't felt the need to try it out, but I bet that it works just fine.
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Glyph Lefkowitz
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Name: Glyph Lefkowitz
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