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Bruce Willis Considering Legal Action Against Apple Over iTunes Collection 570

Posted by samzenpus
from the yippie-ka-yay dept.
First time accepted submitter oobayly writes "It appears that Bruce 'Die Hard' Willis isn't too impressed that he can't include his iTunes collection in his estate when he dies. According to the article: 'Bruce Willis, the Hollywood actor, is said to be considering legal action against Apple so he can leave his iTunes music collection to his three daughters.' Such a high profile individual complaining about the ability to own your digital music can only be a good thing, right?"
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Bruce Willis Considering Legal Action Against Apple Over iTunes Collection

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  • ITunes music has been DRM free since 2009.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/1137946/itunestore.html [macworld.com]

    So he can't be bothered to just copy his music out of iTunes and do whatever he wants with it?

    This sounds more like he wants to leave his iTunes *account* to his estate. It also sounds like he didn't read the iTunes Terms of Service before he agreed to it. Doesn't seem to me Apple is being the "bad guy" here, at least no more than 99.99% of every company out there, as an account you make is for YOU, I've never seen anyone else that allows you to transfer your account to someone else either.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday September 03, 2012 @01:07PM (#41214339) Homepage

    But as a consumer, you're not dealing with the RIAA directly. Your licensing agreement is with Apple, so I believe they're the people you would need to sue. If Apple is forced to change the terms of their licensing, then it falls back to them to negotiate terms with the record labels and deal with the fallout.

    Personally, I'd like to see an overhaul of copyright law to deal with the realities of digital content, instead of hacking through it piecemeal on a case-by-case basis. I guess that won't happen, though.

  • by hey! (33014) on Monday September 03, 2012 @01:19PM (#41214469) Homepage Journal

    Copyright isn't the issue per se here. The restriction on copying here is a legal hack used to induce customers into buying a package of rights, which constitute a lot of the convenience of digital formats (no more carrying boxes of tapes car). What is at stake is passing on that package of rights, not the copy.

    True, he could buy an iPod for each of his daughters, put his entire music collection on each iPod and leave it to them that way. He could even burn audio CDs and do it that way. But they wouldn't have the *rights* package he paid for. They could not legally transfer those copies to their own iPhones, a right *he* enjoys. They're back to carrying, not a box of tapes but a box of devices.

    This really is a fascinating question, because no matter what is decided, one side comes out with more and the other less, than what they'd have got under the traditional analog scenarios. When music was on vinyl, giving that record to another person in effect transferred the rights to listen to the music, but the utility of that right degraded with the physical copy.every time the record was played. Thus you might well have inherited a copy of the Beatles *White Album* from your parents, but if you want to listen to the music regularly there's a good chance you've bought a digital copy. The physical album probably stays on the shelf and comes down only for special occasions.

    If iTunes rights cannot be inherited, Mr Willis can't leave his offspring something he has paid for and enjoys. If they *can* he leaves them perpetual utility and the next generation sale won't be made. Of course maybe that's a good thing, given perpetual copyright extension.

  • Couple of questions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fikx (704101) on Monday September 03, 2012 @01:22PM (#41214489) Journal
    I wondered what he is trying to accomplish, end of the day if he left his collection to someone: Is he wanting to be able to transfer the collection from his account to his kids account? Does apple allow that ?
    If someone used the export or whatever to get it out of iTunes as DRM free files, can those be added to someone else's collection? what's the difference between an "official" iTunes file and an mp3 or such?
    Just curious, I've stayed away from iTunes for the most part myself....
  • by Zocalo (252965) on Monday September 03, 2012 @01:24PM (#41214511) Homepage
    Sssh! On the off-chance that he manages to win the case over the licensing of digital music, then there would be a clear legal precedent for digitally distributed TV shows and movies too. While the movie business might lag behind the music industry in terms of digital distribution, it is slowly getting there and some of us would like to actually own, as opposed to "rent" or "license", our digital media. Unless Bruce has the world's largest music collection by a considerable margin, he must know that legal fees are going to cost him more than the collection is worth, meaning this is about the principle of the thing, and he's got the money to take it quite some way. I'm getting some popcorn in; this could be the best thing to come out of Hollywood for years.
  • by msauve (701917) on Monday September 03, 2012 @01:57PM (#41214775)
    You can copy the files to audio CDs, completely legally. You can then transfer ownership of those CDs. 17 USC 1008 [house.gov].
  • by Solandri (704621) on Monday September 03, 2012 @02:40PM (#41215165)
    What's amazing to me is how distorted people's perception of money and value becomes when it comes to iProducts. I helped low-income friends buy a computer. They passed on $350 laptops, $300 laptops. They finally jumped on a $260 Sandy Bridge i3 refurb laptop I managed to find. They were that price-sensitive. Then a couple weeks later I find they're sporting a 64GB iPad 2. Apparently the need to be trendy is worth hundreds of dollars in price premium.
  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday September 03, 2012 @02:49PM (#41215229)

    Last time I tried to go into an iPod and copy music off of it, it was even less accessible than music that had DRM on it. So... thanks Steve Jobs... for "freeing" my music.

    Was that really _your_ music?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2012 @02:52PM (#41215255)

    Last time I tried to go into an iPod and copy music off of it, it was even less accessible than music that had DRM on it. So... thanks Steve Jobs... for "freeing" my music.

    Well, let's see...simply plug your ipod into a Linux box, determine which drive name it's given, mount its file system, & look around for the music files. On my Nano Gen3 (I think) the directory path became /media/ipod/iPod_Control/Music/ & contained sub folders called F00, F01, etc.

    Each folder contained a bunch of music files with goofy names. I wrote a little perl program which examined each file & dug out the song, artist, & album names from metadata; I pushed the info into a SQLite database.

    I then wrote another perl program that used select statements to retrieve each album's contents, renamed the files, & created a new subdirectory tree by artist & album name.

    Well, I never completed the final program 'cause the music came from an iPod which was given to me with a dead battery. I changed the battery myself, copied the files to a hard drive, then put my own music on it. I'm not much of a fan of my gifters' choice of music, so why bother reconstructing it? It was a fun afternoon's coding while on vacation.

    Upshot is, if you really want the music on an iPod, you can get it. Just takes a little work. I'd be really surprised if there wasn't already a program that could reconstruct the music contained on an iPod, a program much more user friendly & "automatic" than mine.

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