iTunes Replay: Relearning past lessons

August 3, 2011

Aside from superficial legalities, what’s the difference between Apple’s download and play anywhere iCloud music service, and BitTorrent? How you answer the question largely depends on which side of the religious divide you fall. Now, Apple’s moving to obviate some of that destructive rancor, though the debate won’t be fully silenced.

Former EMI digital boss Douglas C Merrill caused quite a stir when he said music pirates (BoingBoing) were among that company’s best paying customers.

“For example, there’s a set of data that shows that file sharing is actually good for artists. Not bad for artists. So, maybe we shouldn’t be stopping it all the time. I don’t know,” said Merrill.

With that in mind comes news that Apple is expanding its latest ‘helping honest people stay honest initiative.’ AppAdvice reports that iCloud’s recently announced music redownload service will be extended to more content types. Whereas Apple, acting on the licensing terms granted by music labels, allows some songs to be legally reacquired, a new initiative called iTunes Replay will allow some TV shows and movies to be redownloaded and played again.

In a nutshell, iTunes Replay is an extension to what Apple is already doing with iCloud and free re-downloads of previously purchased music. As Apple secures the remaining rights, TV Shows as well as Movies in iTunes will be given little arrow indicating whether they’re “iTunes Replay eligible,” that is, available to be downloaded subsequent times.

There are quid pro quos. Specifically, some content will be only be redownloadable five times times and items purchased before January 1, 2009 might not be eligible at all.

Now, baby, now…

To date, if you have lost or thrown away an iTunes purchased song, TV show or movie, it was gone and downloading it again from iTunes meant paying again. Needless to say it would be cheaper and not morally/legally indefensible to simply redownload that content from a peer-to-peer service.

AppAdvice thinks iTunes Replay will be rolled out over the coming weeks. However, given that iOS 5 is expected to bring full iCloud compatibility to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch in September, it makes sense that we’ll be waiting at least until then to see the full scope of what iTunes Replay has to offer.

I understand a five download limit as a backstop against stupid and profligate people. I don’t understand the January 1, 2009 cut off — either I own a license or don’t, any other reckoning is just so much legal/accounting hubris…

Ready for iTunes Replay?

via MacNN

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