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Friday, 25 July 2003

MacNN is Stupid - iTunes Overseas

This post has been updated. Please see the updated text at the bottom of this entry.

Picking up on a mail sent to the Politech list, MacNN covers the "iTunes Music Store Won't Work Outside the USA" meme:

iTunes Music Store user Declan McCullagh writes about his difficulties playing music purchased with the Apple's online music service, after moving to Canada. [more]

Only, of course, it wasn't Declan who this happened to, simply an email that he forwarded to the list. It gets worse: there's no fact checking on the article at all, neither on Politech nor at MacNN. Slashdot is no better, with an original story stating that the bought audio files were deleted, when they weren't.

Whatever happened to journalism? There's no mention apart from in a particularly astute slashdot reply that Shawn Yeager, the person who sent the original mail to Politech, worked for MusicDirect.com, an iTunes competitor. Oh, and he worked with Microsoft as "part of an elite team of business development and technology professionals tasked with answering Netscape's threat to Microsoft's dominance in desktop and server technology." [Yeager's site] -- and we all know how well that turned out (for those who aren't following too closely, it turned out wonderfully well for Microsoft - aside from a pesky lawsuit - and rather terribly for Netscape).

Shawn says

I've now discovered that if you leave the country, your songs may just disappear, as mine have. I've recently moved to Canada and just this week had a problem with my PowerBook that called for me undertaking a reinstall.

Well, they'll "disappear" if you do a wipe-and-install, that much is for certain. It's also quite abundantly clear that the iTunes Music Service is a US service only - to the chagrin of people like me, who for some reason think the idea of paying 99 cents for manufactured music is something they really must try at some point in their life.

So yes, shame on Shawn for not reading the fine print. He'd also do well to take his own advice:

[I]f you're spending money with Apple and plan a departure from the States any time soon, your money would be better spent on little round platters.

Yes, they're called CD-Rs, and Apple will happily let you burn unlimited CDs of your purchased music, and you might also want to learn how to back up your purchased music.

Updated July 26 2003, 23:26 BST: Shawn has responded to clear the situation (and it's in no way as bad as described as above), and I have written a followup post here.

38 comments and trackbacks

Good of you to take the time to comment, but unfortunate that -- just as you critique Slashdot and MacNN -- you failed to do your homework. First, Musicdirect.com is no longer a going concern, having been sold some time ago. I left the company in '97. Clearly, it is not a competitor to the Apple Music Store, as if that were ever relevant to begin with. Further, my former employment with Microsoft is completely irrelevant, but irrestibly controversial for those unable to make a point with sufficient merit to stand on its own.

Now that we've cleared that, my use of the word "disappeared," was tongue-in-cheek. I never said I did a wipe and install. I did an Archive/Install/Restore, in Apple parlance. But thanks for condescendingly reiterating my own statement and directing me to learn to back up what was never lost in the first place. It was about authorization, not bits.

In the future, if you're going to smeer someone with what you write, I propose that you have the courage of your conviction and be good enough to let them know you wrote it.

The details of what *did* happen can be found here:

http://algorhythm.org/archives/2003/07/25/apple_drm_and_me.html

Posted by: Shawn Yeager on July 26, 2003 09:49 PM

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