Legally Share iTunes Purchases with Friends? Apple Receives a ‘Legal P2P’ Patent

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Apple recently acquired Semetric, the company behind Musicmetric. What else is new in Apple’s music strategy?

TorrentFreak has posted a patent obtained by Apple on January 13th.

The patent is for a legal file sharing method, or “Decoupling Rights in a Digital Content Unit from Download”. This method would allow users who bought a file from Apple to share it with others using a separate “key”.

These secondary files would only play on “trusted client software”, bringing back DRM hoops. If this sounds a little outdated it’s because Apple filed the patent in 2011.

The full patent can be seen here:

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Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

16 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    smart, they are still very very smart… good for them, good for those with the leverage to negotiate something for it, not good for the indies or diy’ers, but never the less, it’s clearly a smart play…

    good for the consumers of content as well, most likely anyways…

    it’s still all just kind of treading water until tech advances enough and they figure out a way to get photon encryption poppin, which is why you see all this key stuff right now, they slowly have to drip it from the tap, which is a shame for those of us who are sideways at the thing mouth open ready to chug some fresh water, they got it like the dessert out here…


    • FarePlay

      If Apple can enroll people in purchasing music and sharing that music with a limited number of friends, it would be a vast improvement in artits’ compensation over sharing songs over Spotify.

  2. Read again

    Paul, the title is misleading. There is no P2P involved. The patent covers Apple for legal situations like providing a music library to the relatives of a dead person.

  3. Worthless IP

    While the patent itself may have some merit, its practically worthless. Legally any copying of licensed songs (i.e. a downloaded song) to “transfer” ownership is illegal without the copyright owner’s permission (most likely the label). Therefore, if you are the receipient of the second “legitimate” copy, you could end up on the wrong side of a copyright lawsuit.

    • Anonymous

      depends on the jurisdiction actually, just remember, the Planet Earth is not comprised of one big chunk of land called america, there are actually other places that do exist that have different laws where sharing is allowed, you know, where there are lines, lines you dont cross unless you abide by that jurisdictions rules and regulations, meaning if you come up here, you better damn well abide by our laws and not still waiving that american flag like it owns the world where we just move aside and let you waive guns shooting in the air sniffin coke everywhere while we kneel and bow to your amazingess god like stature old good old star spangled banner, we’ll let you bring your flag burning law up here so we can burn some of your books or something, we are a civilized hard working honest bunch up here and you better damn well play by our rules when you cross that line, so just stay down there and keep cocaine cowboying… 😉

      there are jurisdictions where this would be very handy for many people to share their legally purchased content with only those they choose to share it with, as how actual legal sharing goes, so technically its not totally P2P as we know it to be where you seed one file to a plethora of masked marauders, perhaps they have some inside knowledge about some likely to change legislation that will make it legal there as well, and getting the jump on it would certainly help them sell even more high margin hardware devices…

  4. D. Schwartz

    Poor choice of headline or worse – very misleading. As I note above, having a patent to copy a song does not make it legal to copy a song.

    • Nina Ulloa

      Apologies to everyone that immediately shared all their iTunes purchases with friends after reading the headline

      • Ned

        No problem, I’m sure. People should just ask their friends to return that content which was shared.

        • Anonymous

          jurisdictional, again, america is america, it isnt the world, stay inside yalls little borders there, all of them, meaning dont come up that wire like a bunch of petty thieves to steal peoples property while publicly talking a big game of being anything but that… we know what yall are up to down there, keep it down there…

          • Anonymous

            You’re right.

            America is in fact America. As well as the largest music market it in world.

          • Myles

            Of course there is know way to protect IP outside of the USA and even if there were I’m sure Apple Inc is too stupid to bother filing patent applications in those foreign jurisdictions. You know cuz it’s American

  5. Kirk

    This is just a patent for what Apple is doing with Family Sharing. It’s not specific to music, but can be used with any DRMed content.

    • Kirk

      Actually, having read more of the document than what’s visible above on the front page, it looks like a way that a user who has encrypted content can obtain this content from another user, while obtaining the digital rights from a digital content store. If you’ve bought a movie from the iTunes Store, you can pass it on to a friend, who, using this system, obtains – on purchase – the necessary keys to access the file from the iTunes Store, without having to re-download the file. This is especially useful for movies, which, in HD, can be 4 to 5 GB or more.

  6. Versus

    Apple should never have removed DRM; they should have simply improved it.