Apple accused of deleting songs from iPods without users' knowledge

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2014
During in-court proceedings of Apple's iPod/iTunes antitrust lawsuit on Wednesday, plaintiffs' lawyers claimed Apple surreptitiously deleted songs not purchased through the iTunes Music Store from users' iPods.




Attorney Patrick Coughlin, representing a class of individuals and businesses, said Apple intentionally wiped songs downloaded from competing services when users performed a sync with their iTunes library, reports The Wall Street Journal.

As explained by the publication, users attempting to sync an iPod with an iTunes library containing music from a rival service, such as RealNetworks, would see an ambiguous error message without prompting them to perform a factory reset. After restoring the device, users would find all non-iTunes music had disappeared.

"You guys decided to give them the worst possible experience and blow up" the iTunes library, Coughlin said.

It is unclear if iTunes or iPod encountered a legitimate problem, though Coughlin seems to be intimating Apple manufactured the error message as part of a supposed gambit to stop customers from using their iPod to play back music from stores other than iTunes.

For its part, Apple said the system was a safety measure installed to protect users. In testimony, Apple security director Augustin Farrugia said additional detail about the error's nature was not necessary because, "We don't need to give users too much information," and "We don't want to confuse users." He went on to say that Apple was "very paranoid" in its protection of iTunes, a sentiment echoed in an executive email penned by Steve Jobs in 2004.

Heard in court yesterday, Jobs' emails and a videotaped deposition revealed Apple was "very scared" of breaking contractual sales agreements with music labels, which in turn prompted an increased interest in digital rights management (DRM). Although iTunes no longer sells DRM-protected content, Jobs said frequent iTunes updates were needed to protect as "hackers" found new workarounds.

Apple is accused of creating a monopoly locking users into a closed ecosystem with FairPlay digital rights management (DRM), the iPod and the iTunes Music Store. The class includes individuals and businesses who bought iPod classic, iPod shuffle, iPod touch or iPod nano models between Sept. 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009, and plaintiffs are seeking $350 million in damages, an amount that could be tripled to over $1 billion under U.S. antitrust laws.

Aside from Jobs' deposition, current Apple execs Eddy Cue and Phil Schiller are scheduled to testify later this week.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 79

    Mhmm. Something like this was REALLY hidden for a decade. Yep. This wouldn’t have been immediately reported from here to Honduras, no way.

     

    Sarcasm aside, how stupid can people be to claim something like this? It’s not even remotely true. Their entire lawsuit isn’t even remotely true. Never was. How has it existed for a decade? How are they allowed to have it continue? How are the lawyers not disbarred and the plaintiffs imprisoned for criminal stupidity?

  • Reply 2 of 79
    Biggest bucket of manufactured garbage I have heard in awhile.

    Since 2002, I have had 9 iPods and used iTunes, Rhapsody and my own collection of purchase physical media. No problems. I call BS on these greedy bastards.
  • Reply 3 of 79
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,009member
    To me, it sounds like people were hacking their iPod's to allow non-iTunes content with DRM to go onto the devices, and I remember anytime I tried that, iTunes detected improprieties on the device that needed a restore.

    I don't see this as an issue one bit, and if this is what that scumbag lawyer is using as his main playing chip, the all I have to say to him is...

    [SIZE=6]UP YOURS[/SIZE]
  • Reply 4 of 79
    magman1979 wrote: »
    To me, it sounds like people were hacking their iPod's to allow non-iTunes content with DRM to go onto the devices, and I remember anytime I tried that, iTunes detected improprieties on the device that needed a restore.

    I don't see this as an issue one bit, and if this is what that scumbag lawyer is using as his main playing chip, the all I have to say to him is...

    UP YOURS

    I couldn't agree more.

    If you break Apple's terms and conditions, then you get what you deserve.

    I would be delighted if Apple were to write an app that detected pirated or malicious music and software. In the event of a positive, Apple forces the user to enter a 666 digit password every time he wants to play a track or open an app.

    And also confirm the password with copy/paste disabled.
  • Reply 5 of 79
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 4,984member

    What a fucking sham. Yeah, I'm sure the plaintiffs were so traumatized over these fictional claims. Never mind the fact that Apple was the main driving factor behind killing music DRM for good, with that open letter Steve Jobs penned. 

     

    Also, I've never had any iPods "delete" anything, but sure. 

  • Reply 6 of 79
    Troll food.
  • Reply 7 of 79
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,270member
    These attorneys must have flunked out of Clown College before refocusing their life ambitions on extorting money from Apple. Another sickening waste of the court system and people's time.
  • Reply 8 of 79
    People seem to forget what digital music was like prior to the iPod and iTunes. Either it was illegal (via napster), and you burned it to a CD. Or it was legal and DRM'd to hell, on a device that sucked.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/HitClips
    Anyone remember this thing?
  • Reply 9 of 79
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,337member

    Pure poppycock.

     

    I purchased my first iPod in 2003 (3rd generation). 99% of the music in my iTunes Library was ripped from CDs and not one song has ever been "surreptitiously deleted." 

     

    This lawsuit should be thrown out of court if the plaintiffs are going to manufacture this kind of nonsense. This is an utter disgrace to the judicial system and an unapologetically disconsiderate waste of taxpayers' money.

     

    Appalling.

  • Reply 10 of 79
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Hmm...9to5Mac claims Apple admitted they did this but it was for security reasons.

    http://tinyurl.com/p852ulb

    This quote was in the WSJ story;

    [QUOTE]Apple contends the moves were legitimate security measures. Apple security director Augustin Farrugia testified that Apple did not offer a more detailed explanation because, “We don’t need to give users too much information,” and “We don’t want to confuse users.”[/QUOTE]
  • Reply 11 of 79
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member

    If one were to only read this recent articles they may be left with the impression that the iPod was the only mp3 player around at the time.  This isn't the case.  There were many people (myself included) that didn't want DRM with our music collection and therefore stayed away from the iPod.  There were alternatives.  Apple didn't have a monopoly so I'm not sure I see how this lawsuit has legs.  Apple currently has a closed ecosystem with iOS and OSX as well and that's allowed.  I fail to see the difference.  Is it anti-competitive that Apple doesn't allow anything and everything into their closed ecosystems?  I don't think so.  That's how Apple designed it from the beginning.  It's not like it was open to begin with and then they started closing out competition once they became popular.  I could see a problem with that, but that's not the reality of the situation.

  • Reply 12 of 79
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,405member

    Not going to be popular, but it might be possible in unusual circumstances...

    For a while there, Amazon would very occasionally disappear a Kindle book, when for some contractual reason

    or other they'd lost rights to a title...no reason a similar thing couldn't have happened in iTunes,

    if iTunes got confused about what they'd sold you versus what you'd ripped.  

    Not suggesting it's likely, but perhaps not impossible.

     

    More currently, ripped titles are regularly disappearing from my cloud match -

    about 100-150 at various times.  That's out of almost 7,500 titles, so again,

    not common and I'm sure not intentional, but not "never" happening.

  • Reply 13 of 79
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,529member
    This is a joke, right? Most Of my music is ripped, stolen, or Amazoned. My iPod still had all the tunes.
  • Reply 13 of 79
    Dudes I remember on installing real player, and guess what happened? My computer stopped working! That's right, just uninstalling real player %u2013 %u2013 which would you would definitely want to do, and your computer doesn't even boot after that? Give me a blankety-blank break!
  • Reply 15 of 79
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 530member

    smells like desperation (bullshit).

  • Reply 16 of 79
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,337member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post

     

    If one were to only read this recent articles they may be left with the impression that the iPod was the only mp3 player around at the time.  This isn't the case.  There were many people (myself included) that didn't want DRM with our music collection and therefore stayed away from the iPod.  There were alternatives.




    Yeah, Rob Malda (a.k.a. CmdrTaco at Slashdot) stuck with his MP3 player from Creative.

     

    "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

     

    If Malda had purchased AAPL shares when the market opened on October 24, 2001, the day after the iPod announcement, he would have paid an adjusted share price of $1.22. If he had invested $1000 in AAPL that day, today it would be worth $95,024.

     

    Even today, there are MP3 players that offer better price-performance value than the iPod shuffle or iPod nano. The iPod touch has no real competition, the long-defunct Microsoft Zune was the closest thing to a real competitor.

  • Reply 17 of 79
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     

    Yeah, Rob Malda (a.k.a. CmdrTaco at Slashdot) stuck with his MP3 player from Creative.

     

    "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

     

    If Malda had purchased AAPL shares when the market opened on October 24, 2001, the day after the iPod announcement, he would have paid an adjusted share price of $1.22. If he had invested $1000 in AAPL that day, today it would be worth $95,024.


     

    The stock market is very easy in hindsight.  I could give you a whole list of companies that you should have invested $1000 in.  You really dropped the ball on those...  ;)

  • Reply 18 of 79
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    "As explained by the publication, users attempting to sync an iPod with an iTunes library containing music from a rival service, such as RealNetworks, would see an ambiguous error message without prompting them to perform a factory reset. After restoring the device, users would find all non-iTunes music had disappeared."

    That doesn't even make sense to me. Users would find all [I]iTunes[/I] music had disappeared too! And your contacts and calendars and high scores in Parachute! Then you sync the stuff back again.

    The rival music was in the iTunes library (no other way you could sync back then)... so how does erasing the iPod delete it from your local library? Sure, the iPod gets wiped--of Apple's OWN music too--but then you sync again. If the files are real MP3s without DRM, they'll play. Are they saying Apple secretly deleted paid-for files from people's PCs? Dubious.

    I had MP3 from non-Apple sources on an early iPod and never saw such a message. I thought that was common. (I used MP3 CD rips, files sent to me by other people, and ultimately Amazon downloads too.)

    Or are these DRM-wrapped, non-standard, not-quite-MP3s? Even if so, I don't understand how anything would be deleted from your PC/Mac by wiping the iPod. If there were DRM, neither iTunes nor the iPod could play it... but the files still exist.

    What am I missing? Is a lawyer bending technological facts to sound dramatic, or are they just failing to explain something that's truly serious? (If the latter, by all means, crucify Jobs and anyone else who did wrong.)
  • Reply 19 of 79
    The iPod may have been a closed system, but it was in no way a 'monopoly'. Users were free to rip their CD's and install music purchased from the iTunes Store. What they could not do was install music encoded with competing Digitial Rights Management (DRM) from companies like Real or Microsoft. It makes perfect sense for Apple not to support competing DRM. As I recall, Steve Jobs was also a huge proponent of getting the labels to drop their requirement for DRM by demonstrating that most people would be willing to pay for the convenience of purchasing music online. How this lawsuit got this far is beyond me...
  • Reply 20 of 79
    boredumb wrote: »
    Not going to be popular, but it might be possible in unusual circumstances...
    For a while there, Amazon would very occasionally disappear a Kindle book, when for some contractual reason
    or other they'd lost rights to a title...no reason a similar thing couldn't have happened in iTunes,
    if iTunes got confused about what they'd sold you versus what you'd ripped.  
    Not suggesting it's likely, <span style="line-height:1.4em;">but perhaps not impossible.</span>


    More currently, ripped titles are regularly disappearing from my cloud match -
    about 100-150 at various times.  <span style="line-height:1.4em;">That's out of almost 7,500 titles, so again,</span>

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">not common and I'm sure not intentional, </span>
    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">but not "never" happening.</span>

    You surmise accurately.

    I own Beauty and the Beast from iTunes. It was removed by Disney for a few years. It's now back, but a different version. Therefore, if I delete it from my Mac, I won't be able to redownload it unless I buy it again.
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