iTunes 4 + iLeech = Napster
May 14, 2003 10:16 AM   Subscribe

iTunes 4 + iLeech = Napster. iTunes can stream songs over the internet right now. With iLeech or iTunesDL (direct download link, no info available) you can download files from other iTunes 4 users. With ShareiTunes and Spymac Music you can search for available iTunes libraries. Now you have access to hundreds of thousands of songs. Will this mean big trouble for Apple or were they planning for this?
posted by capndesign (14 comments total)

 
Jason Kottke has a good take and discussion on this today.

My wife is much more experienced with music downloads (and has an iPod), but my opinion is that Apple is safe from the RIAA. Napster was tiny and easy to attack. Apple is established, smart and has many supporters.
posted by msacheson at 10:27 AM on May 14, 2003


A couple of notes:

If I'm not mistaken, when playing shared libraries, iTunes skips over music purchased from the Music Store. If you double-click on a purchased track specifically, you will be asked to authorize your computer, as if you had copied the track to your computer directly and tried to play it.

I've also heard that iTunes kills any process that tries to "pause" its process (presumably to insert foreign code) -- which supposedly defeats applications like Audio Hijack.

But, all that aside, non-DRM'ed files are still ripe for iLeeching.
posted by stevenf at 10:51 AM on May 14, 2003


a third tool, islurp.
posted by machaus at 11:15 AM on May 14, 2003


I use a Taurus as a getaway car after robbing a bank. Will this mean big trouble for Ford, or were they planning for this?
posted by mcwetboy at 11:16 AM on May 14, 2003


I don't see where the increased liablity for Apple is. OS X was capable of sharing the iTunes library before iTunes 4 came along. The built-in web sever can do it with a small addition to the configuration. File sharing can also be used. The user must take action to share files with all of these mechanisms including iTunes 4.
posted by bravada at 11:28 AM on May 14, 2003


It's still early adopter phase, the numbers probably aren't big enough for the RIAA to care yet. An added advantage is the relatively small number of mac users vs pcs, even large percentages of the mac market won't hold a candle to napster in its heyday. As long as it stays low key, the RIAA will probably leave it alone, especially with the music store thing doing quite well. But if it ever reaches the adoption level of napster I expect Software Update will pop up with a new version that closes the hole(and we'll be right back to the same old DRM vs Creative Determined Developers gig)...
posted by ehintz at 11:58 AM on May 14, 2003


stevenf - Audio Hijack works just fine with iTunes4. I just tried it myself to verify this. My understanding is that Audio Hijack does not need to "insert foreign code" into applications that it wants to record from - it relies on the standard capabilities of OS X's audio APIs to do it's job - which is why it works with just about everything.
posted by pascal at 12:42 PM on May 14, 2003


As Kottke suggests, Apple developers are not at all stupid. I cannot believe that this easily exploited loophole was some sort of oversight.

But I also don't believe that it's a calculated effort to stump for file sharing in general. Instead, it's an effort to corner the market (so to speak) on an emerging digital music format. It's all very Machiavellian.

The ultimate solution for music companies? Stop publishing music on antiquated discs, and start pushing your tunes exclusively through Apple's iTunes music store - the DRM features of Apple AAC files are extremely offputting to potential pirates.

That people are trading MP3 files via iTunes itself - something which had to be forseen by Jobs and Apple programmers - only makes AAC files all the more desirable.
posted by aladfar at 1:26 PM on May 14, 2003


Shouldn't this be called iSuck?
posted by alms at 2:09 PM on May 14, 2003




"It sounds as if it is a hole in the security that needs to be closed, I don't know what Apple can do to achieve that, but I would certainly hope that they would take steps immediately to address this issue."

- Cary Ramos, an attorney for the National Music Publishers Assn., in referance to simply shareing (or streaming) music via iTunes 4.

As well as iTunesDataBase, as alms points out, SpyMac has also closed it's music site.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:39 PM on May 14, 2003


I always thought the idea was that having a service such as Apple has provided was to provide people with an affordable way to support the artists. (Although I know most of the money is still going to the record companies)

By leeching you're not only stealing from the record companies/artists, you're stealing from people who paid hard-earned money for that music. Is a buck really too much to ask?
posted by ejunek at 10:20 PM on May 14, 2003


The ultimate solution for music companies? Stop publishing music on antiquated discs, and start pushing your tunes exclusively through Apple's iTunes music store - the DRM features of Apple AAC files are extremely offputting to potential pirates.

Yeah sure. Because more people own macs than own cheap portable CD players.
/sarcasm
posted by fnord_prefect at 2:05 AM on May 15, 2003


...and the hole has been closed.
posted by mathowie at 3:06 PM on May 27, 2003


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