You can’t make this stuff up: the new Apple iTunes Match service has been described as “legitimizing piracy” by an Australian lawyer.
The US$24.99 per year Match service will identify and index the songs on a subscriber’s hard drive, locate those songs in iTunes, and add those tunes to the user’s account in the new Apple iCloud. The music industry gets its slice of the income, and users get the right to play their songs on as many as 10 devices.
However, Match doesn’t care if the originals on a user’s hard drive are legit or not: regardless of source, the “Matched” songs on the iCloud will come with a license.
This seems to have wound up an industry lawyer in Australia, who seem to have been drinking too much coffee.
Substituting an unauthorized copy of a song for a licensed copy is not, apparently, a user cleaning up his or her act: rather, it’s “laundering” that user’s past indiscretions, according to Brisbane lawyer Ken Philip, who among other things defends the rights to Hendrix material in Australia.
Freshly-licensed freetards would, it appear, become law-abiding citizens at a stroke. On the basis that this is apparently a bad thing, Philip told AustralianIT: “You could get rid of all your pirated versions of tracks that match Apple’s collection.”
Whether or when Australian pirates will have a chance to ruin the music industry’s day is up in the air. Apple has rolled out its standard boilerplate response to queries, saying it will not comment on when or if iTunes Match will launch here, whether it is in fact Wednesday, or when Apple will launch its Australian office. ®