Wednesday, July 18, 2007

*&%$#@ iTunes!!

Six months ago, I was praising iTunes. Now I am flipping mad again and am wondering about music rights.

That computer crashed again in May. Would not boot, whatever. We had to fix it using the restore disks. Unfortunately, I knew that this would erase all of our stuff on the hard drive. What I was specifically worried about is that it would erase all of the music and .mp3 fileswe had on there. Morgan's stuff. My stuff. Amy's stuff. Not a drastic amount of music, but enough that I didn't want to have to buy tracks again. Imagine right now if your computer wouldn't boot up and the songs you would lose. You want to swear.

Back in late December, I asked iTunes for an exception and that was granted. Yippee! I had my music back. We had to re-download it all and that took flipping forever on the connection that we had up in Nome, Alaska. Weeks went by and it wasn't done yet (of course, we paused the downloading when we were using the computer for other things or other browsing).

I meant to back it all up. I really did. But we were in Nome, Alaska, and a set of CD-Rs cost an arm and a leg at the local AC Grocery, the only place to buy them. I kept meaning to order some but we weren't putting in any order with companies that really sold those. So I was biding my time.

Then my computer went out again in May.

I was told:

Dear Matt,

I am very sorry to hear that your computer was not backed up and you lost your purchases you made from iTunes.

After researching your request, I found that on 12/23/06 you were allowed to redownload the purchases you had made with the account "" This was an exception to the iTunes Store Terms of Sale. I'm sorry, but the iTunes Store can't make another exception for you.

Apple encourages customers to back up their hard disks regularly. If the disk needs to be replaced, you can restore your purchases and other data from the backup and avoid the need to purchase replacement copies of your collection.

So I am out of my music. And I am left with wondering if this is fair.

I know the agreement states that I am only allowed to download the tunes once. If I want to download again, I have to pay again. And it is completely my responsibility to back it up. However, I still think it is unfair.

Am I buying a download or a song? That is the sticky wicket. According to all that I've read on the site, I am really buying a one-time download. Then it is my obligation, much like a CD, to keep it safe. If my house burns up, my insurance would cover the cost of the CD and my stuff. If my computer crashes, there is no insurance and I am shit out of luck.

It's my own fault, I realize that and I agreed to it all. That's why I have started emailing my stuff to another Yahoo account I set up. They don't have a storage limit any more, and as long as the file is 10 MB and under, it can stay there.

I just think that I have a new computer. I reinstalled iTunes. My account at iTunes clearly remembers and lists what tracks I have bought there. So why can't I just download them again. It's my account, a personal account, that will not get used anywhere else. I don't even share the music.

The hardest part is that Morgan's music, with quite a few iTunes gift cards that she has gotten over the last couple of years, have been wiped out. That's my fault and I am sorry for her, kind of like someone else throwing away your stuff.

I've bought music multiple times and I'm sick of it. My very first cassette tape was U2's The Joshua Tree. I re-bought it again on CD. I one time had to re-buy it again on account of losing it. I've lost it again, somewhere, either I lent it to someone or it walked off, whatever. I love that album, but I'll be damned if I'm buying it again. Because, if I buy it on iTunes, I have to back it up, and I am sure, after paying for a back-up disc, I will eventually lose that one too. Or technology will change, like my 5 1/4" floppy disks, where my CD-Rs won't be readable anymore. Will I have to do another back-up of my back-up? As it stands right now, yeah.

That's why I think that a database as large as iTunes, who already has my complete download history, could just *&%$#@ let me download my paltry amount of songs again. I should be able to do it ad infinitum, on any machine that I own in the future. I personally think that I bought my usage of a song, and not a one-time download, whatever contract I agreed to with a single click.

[As a footnote, remember three things: 1) They do not make singles anymore, or if they do they are very hard to find so iTunes is truly one of the only ways to buy one song. 2) I lived in Nome, Alaska, without a music store of any kind. and 3) I know there are subscription sites out there but I realy don't think paying monthly is an option for my listening habits.]

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