A piece of you in every track

In “Look! Four Horsemen!” I wrote about how iTunes Plus tracks contain your e-mail address even though they are DRM-free. The same day, CNet published an article called “iTunes Plus: Everything you need to know” in which they state:

Be warned: your account information is stored in every file

Although iTunes Plus files feature no copy protection, files downloaded still contain the e-mail address you have registered with iTunes. So although files can physically be shared with, and played by, friends and family, any of your purchases that end up on file-sharing networks, for example, can be traced back to you.

This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, really. If you right-click a track and choose Get Info within iTunes, the purchaser’s e-mail address is listed as an attribute of the song, and that information has to come from somewhere. This could raise privacy concerns for some, but I don’t have significant problems with it, really. I wanted DRM-free downloads so I could use them as I choose, not so I could upload them to a file sharing site.

If my computer were stolen, I’d prefer the music not be traceable back to me because I will have no control over what the thief does with it, but this is not going to prevent me from buying music.

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