Saturday, May 07, 2016

REPORT: Apple Music Now Finding and Removing Your Personal MP3s

By Karl Denninger

Companies come into your private property and destroy what you own.

Seriously, that really happens today, and there's nothing you'll do about it.  You signed away your right to sue, and what's worse you still buy products and services from firm that do this sort of thing.

Apple Music is a new "subscription" music service.  But it has a twist -- when you sign up it will root around your hard drive (and, presumably, any network-attached drives) and any music it "thinks" it has in the "cloud" that it deems to be the "same" was what you own it will remove from your computer entirely.

This does two things to you immediately: First, it causes you to consume bandwidth (on the Internet, which depending on where you are and the circumstances may be metered, causing you to spend more money to listen to what you have already paid a fee to own.  But much worse is that it literally destroys your personal, private property.

Note that the files it removes aren't the same and can't be in essentially every case, because MP3s (or other compressed music) aren't the same as WAV or FLAC files and MP3s, even two rips from the same source, are often not bit-identical -- especially if the MP3 encoder used wasn't the same (there are several of them, you see, and they're all slightly different and some can be adjusted to produce different quality results, etc.) Further, WAV and FLAC files are frequently not bit-identical either, because errors happen and they're usually inaudible to you, but they result in slightly different files.  So "comparing" the files, when it comes to music, is always an inexact science.

No, what happens here is that Apple decides that it has the "same song", which means it removes files it doesn't actually have stored -- either not at all, of different quality, or a different version of a given tune -- and this can (and apparently does) extend to in some cases original music that you recorded -- that's right, music you authored and own all rights to.

The real "hook", of course, to this is to attempt to prevent you from leaving Apple Music.  By removing your music -- music you own, presumably have paid for and have stored on your own machine they try to keep you from canceling your subscription.  The hope, of course, is that you don't have a backup somewhere, or that you won't notice that the files are gone until you've overwritten said backup.

Then you're stuck as those files may be truly unrecoverable, in the case of something you bought via digital download.  If it was a CD you can probably rip it again.  Maybe.  You see, CDs are subject to bitrot, and I've had it happen a couple of times where music I own has become unplayable 10 or 20 years hence off the original CD.  Fortunately, my FLAC copy is securely stored and intact.

Why isn't this sort of thing a felony?  Why is it that a company can come into your home, onto your private property and destroy things?  Does a fine-print "license agreement" cover this sort of situation when there's no possible way you gave actual informed consent?

It most-certainly should not, but today it sure appears that it does.

More to the point is that you, the American Consssssuuuuuuummmerrrrr, have made this sort of crap possible.

You have made it possible because you will buy products and services from companies that pull this sort of crap.

We as a body politic deserve this sort of outrage because we permit it.  We permit it by allowing firms that build walled gardens filled with various means of enslavement to their cash flow to exist by voluntarily paying them money for goods and services.

We're stupid, to put not too fine a point on it, and until we cut that out and start being smart this sort of ass-reaming is not only what we're going to continue to get, it's what we deserve.

I have never owned a piece of fruit technology and never will.

This sort of outrageous practice, which I remind you began in the music realm for Apple with their iPods and "secured" music that was not transportable to anything else even though you bought it, is why.

I'll start feeling sorry for the author of that blog when he, and the rest of you, financially destroy companies that have a decade-plus long record of doing this sort of thing by refusing to buy their products and services.  When their stock price is zero and there's a big smoking hole where their balance sheet used to be through entirely lawful and voluntary response to such tactics then I will feel sorry for you.

Until then I have just four words for you: You asked for it.


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