Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Might iCloud Be a Musical Honeypot?

Comments Filter:
  • Absolutely not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hsmith (818216) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:46PM (#36517062)
    Apple as a company cares a lot more about their brand image than most. If suddenly Apple had 90% of it's customers who uploaded pirated music being sued because of a service Apple provided - it would be bad. I'd assume that yearly fee you pay goes to the RIAA, because Apple being a hardware company cares little about software when it is driving their hardware sales.
    • It would be interesting to know if they are paying RIAA off out of the revenue from the iCloud service.

      However, as far as "Steve wouldn't do that, Steve loves us"... when it comes to subpoenas, Apple might not have a choice but to comply.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        In addition, does this criticism not apply to Google's budding Music service?

      • by Tharsman (1364603)

        I think there were leaks noting 70% of iTunes Matc 24.99 yearly fee is going to the studios.

        Also Apple can protect consumers by simply not gathering any signs of piracy. In theory they don't even need iCloud to do this, they could do this years ago just by datamining iTune libraries. They already scan it for Genius recomendations and have done so while respecting user privacy.

      • As I understand it some of the money from the $24.99 fee does go to the music industry, However would that stop them from ALSO wanting to go after illegal copies and force them to buy (and get even more money)?
    • Re:Absolutely not (Score:4, Insightful)

      by salesgeek (263995) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @03:29PM (#36517934) Homepage

      a) Who cares what Apple thinks or their brand (in context of this discussion). If the RIAA or one of it's members files suit and gets access to music stored in iCloud in discovery, Apple has to obey the law. Apple's employees probably care a lot more about not going to jail for contempt of court than they do about getting your business or being cool. All the money and lawyers in the world will not intimidate a Federal Court Judge who spends the better part of their career dealing with litigation between companies, governments and people with more money than God.

      b) If 90% of Apple's customers use iCloud for storing pirated music, that will be a problem with the business plan, unless you are right about some legal/license arrangement existing in advance.

      c) Assume nothing. It would be wise to read the contract, terms of service and any license agreement between the labels, RIAA and Apple before putting yourself and your family at risk. Personally, I hope Apple has got a solution on this. If not, then I'd rather not be left out in the wind like iPhone developers are right now (see Lodsys).

      • It would be wise to read the contract, terms of service and any license agreement between the labels, RIAA and Apple before putting yourself and your family at risk.

        Good luck with that. It will surely be twenty pages long and be "updated" every week or so.

      • a) Who cares what Apple thinks or their brand (in context of this discussion). If the RIAA or one of it's members files suit and gets access to music stored in iCloud in discovery, Apple has to obey the law. Apple's employees probably care a lot more about not going to jail for contempt of court than they do about getting your business or being cool.

        Should any of the record companies try to pull that off, I'll bet that their share holders will receive an offer they cannot refuse, and when Apple has bought them out everyone responsible will be fired. That would be the only way Apple could prevent total damage to their business, so that is what they would do.

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      On top of that, many forget how tiny the music industry really is. Sure, they have been around a long time and sure, they are just about everywhere you look. But really, it's a few billion-dollar companies. Apple, on the other hand, is a $65B company that would gladly buy up or pay off any of the pathetic little music companies that might try to get in their way. Apple wants what it's customers want, after all; music that's affordable and easy to manage.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx.b c . ca> on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:47PM (#36517094) Journal
    ... but it won't be effective, because pirates won't utilize it.
    • by cultiv8 (1660093)
      Exactly, it will only catch those who have a few pirates in their entire collection. This could play out the same way that NY decreased crime in the 90's [wikipedia.org] using the broken windows theory [wikipedia.org]; bust the people doing petty crimes to prevent escalation into more serious crimes.

      Or it'll just be a PR nightmare for Apple.
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        your wiki link confirms the broken windows theory thing is incorrect.

        Meanwhile, there's no way to sue anyone for having files in the cloud - they would have to sue apple - you don't contain the file once its in the cloud.

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Which pirates? The ones with raid systems full of MP3s or my mother who downloaded a couple CDs from "free" music sites?
  • Are you actually uploading the MP3s to Apple? I don't think so.

    The service has to "fingerprint" the files in some way. A hash of the file wouldn't be enough to identify it, since there could be an unlimited number of hashes for the same song.

    At most, it's probably like SoundHound or Shazam that just listens to the track. Based on that type of analytic data, there's no way the RIAA or whoever could know whether you purchased the track legally or not.

    • by tepples (727027)

      Based on that type of analytic data, there's no way the RIAA or whoever could know whether you purchased the track legally or not.

      I once read an article about various methods of encoding an inaudible watermark in audio's phase. Shift the audio two samples early or two samples late after a kick drum, or invert both channels' phase by 180 degrees after a crash cymbal, or the like. All this is imperceptible to the human auditory system, but the information it encodes still survives popular psychoacoustic codecs.

  • FUD? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SkywalkerOS8 (398450) <brian@NOSpaM.jaxzin.com> on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:48PM (#36517140) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't the same problem apply to the music lockers (Amazon, Google) or even Dropbox? Why single out iCloud?
    • by Tasha26 (1613349)
      Good question, that South Park episode was perhaps spot on about "carefully reading Apple T.O.S." I suspect Google & Amazon online storage are alternatives to your hard-drive, so there should be a privacy clause (they don't get to interact with your files). With Apple, this article points to Apple having the right to do data mine. In both cases, I wonder if one can tell if a nosy admin has gone through your online files?
    • by Teun (17872)
      Low hanging fruit?
    • Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @03:10PM (#36517554) Homepage

      The problem is much worse with Amazon, Google, DropBox, etc. With those services you're uploading the file itself to their servers. The RIAA could stomp in with a fancypants court order and demand to see your music collection.

      With iCloud you're not uploading the file; you're getting the "right" to play a different copy of the file that already exists on Apple's servers. Even if the RIAA came in, it's not clear there's much they could do.

    • by Flyerman (1728812)

      Because it's Apple! Gotta talk about Apple!

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:48PM (#36517150) Homepage Journal

    Am I out of touch or am I, by default, wise? I look at these services and think "why would I want that? I have an ftp site of my own anyway."

    Considering there must be a business model behind these services to make $$$ I wonder what I might have to put up with

    • "Cloud" is just the latest buzzword for storing data at a network-accessible data repository or using network-accessible servers to handle some workload.

      The only real benefit I can see from storing media in such a solution would be that all your devices anywhere can stream the media from the repository. You might have a FTP server, but you won't find a mobile app that plays songs directly from your FTP server in real-time.

      With that being said, the only "cloud" I will use is one at my home network. A private

      • by Bucc5062 (856482)

        This I do already. Thank you subsonic! My next project is photos so I don't need to upload to Picasa. It's not a bad site, but why duplicate effort. Hosting one's own media server is not for beginners, but I'd rather learn then trust the "cloud".

    • by flooey (695860)

      Am I out of touch or am I, by default, wise? I look at these services and think "why would I want that? I have an ftp site of my own anyway."

      The main advantage to iCloud over your own server appears to be that they'll upsample your music for you, as long as it's something they sell on iTunes. If you only have a crappy copy (that's what you could find for download, you ripped it from CD in a low bitrate, whatever), your copy on your FTP server won't be any better, but the copy in iCloud will be 256kbps AAC. Whether that's worth the price is up to you, but it's at least one clear advantage over running your own server.

    • by Ruke (857276) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @03:18PM (#36517710)

      This is not marketed towards you, if you're willing to set up, configure, and run your own music server. This is marked towards the people with enormous music collections at home, who want to be able to listen to any song in their library on their mobile device at any time, without having to worry about whether their data is synced.

      Your "wisdom" is no deeper than someone who says, "Why would I go out to a restaurant, when I could cook a gourmet meal myself?" or "Why would I take my car into the shop, when I'm perfectly capable of diagnosing and repairing any problems that it might be experiencing?" Cloud storage is offering a valuable service to those without the expertise or patience to do it themselves.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Unlike the parent, I realize expecting regular people to set up FTP sites is a bit much, but what about USB thumb drives? How hard is it to copy all your music onto one of those? These days, you can get a 32GB USB flash drive for $35 (incl. shipping) from Newegg.com. That really should be enough space to hold most peoples' entire music library. How many people really have "enormous" music collections that can't fit on one of these, or at most a 64GB drive? (Don't forget, flash prices keep coming down;

    • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @03:29PM (#36517940) Homepage

      Yes, you are out of touch.

      Most people do not have the skills or desire to set up their own FTP site, even if iCloud didn't do a lot more for ease of use than a simple FTP site. Do you want to set up a streaming service? Write the apps to automatically download the songs to your device? Even if the user had the skills to set up all of these services, do they have the skills and abilities to keep them secure?

      I have my own FTP server set up and even that's getting to be a pain in the butt for me to maintain. I'm moving to hosted environments as quickly as I can at this point - they're good enough now and I don't have to dick about maintaining the hardware and OS anymore. I'm looking forward to the day when I can simply own one computer again.

    • The main point is, yes, you can setup something remarkably similar; not everyone can or wants to do the same. After setup, you have to maintain your site including backups. For some people, they would rather pay someone else a small yearly fee.

      A secondary benenfit is that you can upgrade your lower bit MP3s to higher bit AACs

  • by MouseR (3264) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:53PM (#36517226) Homepage

    You guys are completely paranoid.

    There is no telling the difference between a CD that iTunes ripped or aggregated from your disk (which might have been ripped prior to iTunes' existence). Remember MacAMP (or any *AMP)? How about SoundJam? There was music before iTunes. (I tell ya!)

    They are SELLING you an online subscription to "upgrade" (ie, crossgrade) this music to their catalog. This way they can stream to your devices and... believe it or not... possible upcoming thin, storage-less inexpensive devices.

    The only trap in there, if any, is user's reliance on a yearly subscription; how many times are you willing to pay for the music you already own?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jiro (131519)

      RTFA. Each time you rip from a disk, the rip is slightly different. If twenty people have the exact same file, they'll know that at least 19 of them didn't get it by ripping disks.

      • by kriss (4837)

        Actually, no.

        If you use different compression algorithms, sure, it'd yield a different result. But if you rip a CD with default settings in whatever music manager - say iTunes, for posterity - you'd end up with the same file hash as the next guy that did the same thing with the same software. Digital data, et al.

      • Each time you rip from a disk, the rip is slightly different.

        True. CD has one "subcode" byte per six samples to store timing information for the 588 audio samples in each sector. The digital data from several lossless rips is the same; it just has a random amount (up to one sector) of silence before and after it because drives are allowed to let the subcode data drift slightly out of sync from the audio data. This leads to so-called jitter [cdrfaq.org]. But rip jitter doesn't interfere with the ability to identify the actual timing of the first note of a song.

      • by Rolgar (556636)

        So, if people buy music from Amazon, they'll have the same file (since Amazon doesn't re-rip for every customer). Which ones are valid purchasers, and which ones received a copy from a friend or file sharing site?

      • by scorp1us (235526)

        There are these things called computers and they work over discrete values -1 and 0 to create a completely deterministic outcome.

        If you take a CD, all copies are identical as the data is stored in frames lasting 1/75th of a second. If you then read the identical data, and apply a transform to it given the same parameters, using deterministic computers, you'll arrive at the same output. I don't think rand() is used anywhere in DSP, because it would result in incompressible noise...

        And FWIW, just because you

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        >>RTFA. Each time you rip from a disk, the rip is slightly different. If twenty people have the exact same file, they'll know that at least 19 of them didn't get it by ripping disks.

        For analogue sources, sure. From a digital source, you will get the same result each time.

        The RIAA thugs would have no way of knowing which songs were pirated unless they created a mp3 themselves (with custom encoding or other means of uniquely tagging it) and then sharing it on the internet. Which would be illegal, I gues

    • by neoform (551705)

      What happens when the RIAA leave a trap on the piratebay? If they had a watermarked mp3 that you download, then put in the icloud... suddenly you've made it obvious that you downloaded it from the piratebay...

  • 1) Apple doesn't get the file; that would take forever. They fingerprint or otherwise use ID information from the file to see what song you get. Without the file there is no "proof".

    2) The implied message of the program is to bring pirates in "out of the cold" with a blanket payment. The music industry doesn't care as they finally get something instead of nothing. They would not seek to kill this golden egg they are about to hatch.

    3) Suing individuals has just about run the course; there is no profit in

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:58PM (#36517340)

      5) Even if you owned a file that was without a shadow of a doubt pirated, that doesn't matter if they can't prove you SHARED it. If you just own it all you MIGHT be liable for the 0.99 the song could be purchased for, not the 200x damages they normally seek in lawsuits. There is no way to prove, from a file, that YOU have shared it as opposed to someone else.

      • Even if you owned a file that was without a shadow of a doubt pirated, that doesn't matter if they can't prove you SHARED it.

        I hate to hit you with this, but the whole "shadow of a [reasonable] doubt" standard applies to criminal cases, not civil suits. Even in criminal cases, we're talking about reasonable doubts, not the sort of infinitely elastic justifications that small, grouchy children in the back seat on road trips give about how they really didn't touch each other. In a civil case, the standard is the preponderance of the evidence which, even if it's on your side, will cost you an arm and a leg to prove, with the usual r

        • I hate to hit you with this, but the whole "shadow of a [reasonable] doubt" standard applies to criminal cases, not civil suits.

          a) Without any inking of who might have pirated music, the companies have no reason to legally compel Apple to give up data they are probably not even keeping. If the companies already have proof you are pirating music they don't need Apple's data anyway.

          b) To bring a suit you must have some proof. If you are bringing a suit for copyright infringement you must have some notion a

    • 2) The implied message of the program is to bring pirates in "out of the cold" with a blanket payment. The music industry doesn't care as they finally get something instead of nothing. They would not seek to kill this golden egg they are about to hatch.

      I think it's important to note that past services have existed to bring pirates in "out of the cold" before. Internet radio, individual song purchases, etc. Yet the industry still pursues legal cases.

    • All of your arguments are pointless. They've proven time and again that logic doesn't matter in these cases. They sue people to get them to settle. They don't want any of these cases to go to court. They HAVE made huge profits suing people. They do not have to prove you downloaded or not. There was a case a couple of years ago in which the person sued owned ALL of the music he had downloaded and he still lost the case. As far as the RIAA and our court systems are concerned, digital music files are illegal.
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brit74 (831798) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @02:57PM (#36517312)
    Yeah, because Apple wants to spend hundreds of millions of dollars creating and promoting its iCloud service just so that they can bring the hammer down on pirates and drive everyone away to other services. That makes sense. Maybe Slashdot is getting a little paranoid and forgetting what companies actually care about (money). Seriously, how did this type of paranoia get to the front page without being flagged as "makes no economic sense". Besides, if Apple were going to do that, then why haven't they already leveraged their iTunes application to do the exact same thing?
    • by c0d3g33k (102699)

      Well, why not?

      Will Apple make more money selling music at $0.99/track, or $hundreds_or_thousands_or_millions selling infringers to the lawyers?

      My money is on the lawyers.

      • I'd take that bet.

        iTunes is now the dominant force in the music industry. Apple has the RIAA members over a barrel, with respect to distribution. Any play to "get pirates" would not come from the RIAA or its members. That leaves Apple to make the move. If they did this, they'd lose a lot of revenues from iTunes and have the customers having illegal files leave iCloud almost immediately. They'd probably lose a buttload of revenue on their other products since this would be a major dick move.

        If they actually

      • by Ixokai (443555)

        What?

        The drugs, man. Lay off the drugs.

        They won't make more money selling music at $0.99/track -- they, various reports indicate, don't really make much money off of that at all. They do, however, make enormous, mountain-sized piles of cash that they can't manage to haul off to the bank fast enough, selling their devices that tie into their Ecosystem. The iTunes Music Store isn't about making a ton of money selling music -- its about keeping customers (and record labels) happy-ish in the iUniverse that Appl

      • by node 3 (115640)

        Well, why not?

        Um, he explained why not.

        Will Apple make more money selling music at $0.99/track, or $hundreds_or_thousands_or_millions selling infringers to the lawyers?

        Selling iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Macs. Something they will find extremely difficult to do if people are afraid of them.

        My money is on the lawyers.

        Well, you know what they say about a fool and his money.

      • Will Apple make more money selling music at $0.99/track, or $hundreds_or_thousands_or_millions selling infringers to the lawyers?

        Apple makes billions every quarter selling hardware to their customers. "Happy customers" is worth billions and billions to them. Do you really think they would give one damn about any amount of money the record industry could pay them, when that would turn their customers into "unhappy customers"?

    • My concern is far less about what Apple wants to do, but more what RIAA's lawyers are able to get a subpoena to. When music I backed up from CD's that I own is sitting on my computer, in my home, there is a different expectation of privacy, and a different form of ownership, when compared to files on a remote server, housed by someone else. I won't use it or anything like it until read about the cloud provider insisting on a court order when RIAA comes knocking, and winning when they bring it to trial.
    • by 1 a bee (817783)
      Agreed. Even if this privacy thing does become an issue, it's can probably be technically addressed. For example, if the only information is in the collision of watermarks, and if those watermarks are not steganographic, then the client app downloading the file could be made to modify the watermark. That way downloaded files will look like ripped files.
  • You can pay for a website, run something like Ampache, and have better functionality, have it be cheaper, and have your privacy.
  • Follow the money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hellfire (86129) <deviladv.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @03:07PM (#36517500) Homepage

    1) Apple creates this service to upload your music
    2) User's upload massive amounts of pirated music
    3) Apple passes to RIAA all the logins of people who have uploaded watermarked music
    4) RIAA sues these people with massively punitive lawsuits
    5) Apple profits!!... profits?!?! Right? Hey, where are all our iPhone customers going?

    Such a move is entirely not in Apple's best interest and Apple would not let such a thing happen. Nor would Google or Amazon, unless compelled by a court of law. Steve spent months negotiating so they wouldn't get sued, they wouldn't turn around and allow their customers to be sued en masse. All the Android fans could only hope that Apple would be this galactically stupid.

    • by revscat (35618) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @03:13PM (#36517610) Journal

      > All the Android fans could only hope that Apple would be this galactically stupid.

      Which is exactly why this article was posted in the first place.

    • All the Android fans could only hope that Apple would be this galactically stupid.

      Actually, I'm an Android fan that wishes nothing but good things for Apple, and stronger iPhones. It's unbelievably awesome that iPhones aren't just limited to AT&T, I'd like to see every carrier have an Apple offering. We're not talking sports, were talking products. Better iPhones means that Android manufacturers have to do better to compete. Apple fans should be hoping for better Android phones to come out, to continue to push the iPhone to be better. That's the problem with Windows. As soon a

  • It's not illegal to have a copy of a song.
    Pretty trivial to have made a legal copy in a variety of ways including recording off the radio or your personal CD.

    It is illegal to distribute songs.

  • by Hatta (162192)

    To date, no one has been sued for downloading a file. Simply possessing a copy that was illegally made is not illegal. It is making the copy that is illegal. Since this service cannot determine who made the copy, it is no threat whatsoever.

    • by c0d3g33k (102699)

      Are you sure about this? Citation needed.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        How can I cite the absense of a law? Typically the burden of proof is on those making a positive claim, i.e. that possessing an illegal copy is in itself illegal. The best I can do is offer the list of exclusive rights [cornell.edu] from Title 17 and note that possession of a copy is not among those rights.

      • by node 3 (115640)

        Um, a citation that something hasn't happened? How exactly do you provide that?

  • Not that I would ever do such a thing -- cough, cough -- but if I was pirating mp3s and wanted to store them on a remote server under the control of someone else, which is not very smart to begin with, I sure as hell wouldn't pick a service run by the music industry or one of its primary partners like, just for the sake of argument, Apple.

    Ergo, I read this story as an excessively wordy way to say that, yes, if you are dumb as a fucking rock, the odds that you'll get caught doing something illegal are higher

  • ... Capt. Obvious. Without this story, the re-re's would never have thought of this.

    As for those talking about "Aww, they'd never go after individuals!" Um, what universe did you come from? Before, they had to settle for little girls downloading Happy_Birthday.mp3. You think they'll ignore someone with a 50,000 mp3 collection given the chance? Hell no! Why? Because most people SETTLE. And they can hold you up and say, "See, see, here are the ones we've been talking about!"

    So, are you, owner of 50,000

  • I was rather under the impression that possession of copyrighted works isn't the illegal bit. It's distribution that's the illegal bit.

    As iCloud won't provide any evidence of distribution, I'm not sure how useful the information will be.

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai

Working...