If There’s a Will(is), There’s a Way…to Stir Up Trouble for Apple
So as of this morning, there’s already (at least) 159 articles swirling around in the pool of Google’s search databases on the both the original explanation and now debunking, of a story that ravaged the internet at the common person’s validating speed of Twitter “Trending Topic” status just over the past weekend. The faster you trend, the more you know a LOT of people are talking about whatever the phrase/person/event of the moment is.
|The Speed of Google News Status ≥ the Speed of Light? (Time: 12:26PM 9/4/2012)
Yes, the story
, no longer in question, is that of actor Bruce Willis
and his supposed desire to file a lawsuit with Apple over the state of future ownership for his iTunes music library. Specifically, in the original claims, the ownership aspect was in reference to Willis leaving his music library in his will, to his daughters after he passes away.
There was a whole lot of chatter about the idea of an A-lister like Willis trying to take on one of the most well-known and financially engorged corporations active today. (Especially given the “take no prisoners” attitude Apple can take on when it needs to in the courtroom, a la the recent Samsung vs. Apple
patent case.) Despite the fact that this proposition has been all but been deemed complete ludicrous fantasy by Willis’s wife Emma Heming, one could say even amidst a complete loss of a story, there is plenty to talk about anyway.
Good press, bad press, true press, false press, news still draws attention from the public and that’s precisely why this story may stick around longer in the general public’s water cooler topic agenda longer than the time it took to throw this fake headline into the trash. Apple’s iTunes Terms and Conditions, as exhaustive as they can be to attempt to read, do have an entire section devoted to “Usage Rules” that explain what a user is “authorized” to do and not do with their “purchases” and “rentals” from the iTunes store. Although the excessively jargon filled document has been the punchline to many jokes in the past, there are still those iTunes users that either newly discovered or reaffirmed their distaste for this idea of non-ownership via the many comments sections that accompany most of these news outlets that reported the story to begin with.
Here are just a few quotes, courtesy of the community blog “Oh No They Didn’t!” (ONTD!)”
off of the collective personal blogging site, LiveJournal, that show individuals supporting physical albums or digital purchase from other sources like Amazon:
if you read the TOS you will find that the music is not legally your’s to own. It doesn’t matter that you have the ability to share the music with other people, it’s not legal for you to do so. and that’s the problem. you cannot bequeath digital music from itunes like you can with a physical CD.
Guess I’m going back to buying physical copies or Amazon again.
same. it doesn’t say, “borrow now” on that [iTunes Store] button…it says “buy now”…but I’ve lost enough digital music that I’m over it. gimme dat cd. I’ll make room in my sock draw’ if I have to…
One such as myself, who treasures the physical medium, takes great heart in seeing a more open display of other individuals who have long since, or possibly never first used, iTunes for downloading content -specifically for the very reason of false ‘ownership.’ it goes to show one very crucial aspect of buying from the shelf of a record store that iTunes can never attain, because it manages distribution on a license model.
After I hand a cashier money for a CD, I can do whatever I want with that physical object because it’s mine. (Within reason of course, there are still those FBI piracy warnings on the back.) Nonetheless, if I want to use my CD as a coaster, I can. If I want to write my name and date of purchase on all of the cases with a Sharpie marker, I can. If I decide I’ve played a record enough and want to pass it on to a friend as a road trip gift, I can because it’s my private, personal property.
Now, with regard to the passing of music on after death, though the deceased may have no use for digital mp3s and for them it is a moot point, for a long time, old vinyl collections, 8-tracks before that and now CDs, are what younger generations would either be given or perhaps find when sorting through a loved one’s belongings. It isn’t hard to imagine how many attics or closets or old boxes people have rummaged through in cleaning up possessions and how many subsequent stories of personal music history have come up as a result. Old prom songs, summer after high school mix tapes, “that song your father and I danced to at our wedding…” there are a myriad of emotional and unique reasons why songs are important to the legacy of someone’s life, similar to the existence of any paper journal, old photo album or old letters. Add to any of these, things like ink stains, CD scratches, little notes on the backs of polaroids…and these are the extra touches in someone’s story or the extra truly personal bit of information that someone else won’t have, even if they have a duplicate of the same photo or know the exact text from a letter.
Society is always looking to advance and change. Change and death are about the only two sure constants in the world but change itself doesn’t necessarily require one direction of departure. If the whole world’s stock of creative commodities were to be digitized, none of the above discoveries could be made after someone is gone. As a general population, people might remember, “Hey, in 20XX, that song was all over the radio!” but a playlist with artist and title listed alone doesn’t necessarily tell a person’s whole story. Bruce Willis might not be suing Apple, and there may be all kinds of ways people were trying to say he could get around the license if he really wanted his daughters to have access to his music but maybe the light will re-shine, even if only briefly, on the also intangible but the forever emotionally valuable relationship between memories and physical assets.