iTunes Plus is DRM-Free, But Not Personal Data-Free

iTunes Plus is DRM-Free, But Not Personal Data-Free


The original songs that you downloaded from the iTunes Music Store got stuck with DRM, so you could only enjoy that music on select devices. This was a pain, of course, but after a while, Apple was nice enough to reveal iTunes Plus for DRM-free music.

Now that DRM-free iTunes Plus music tracks are becoming the norm, we assume that the downloaded files are totally good to go. However, they still come with a very important hidden secret. There may not be any DRM on there, but each files still gets embedded with the original purchaser’s personal information.

The file is embedded with the buyer’s email address. This isn’t quite the same thing as the DRM (digital rights management) shackles that previously plagued iTunes music, but it still means that Apple has a way of tracking where those files are coming from and where they are going.

One such example would be if someone were to legitimately purchase an iTunes Plus song, turning around to share it through BitTorrent or Limewire. The random person on the other end illegally downloading the file will now have a music track embedded with the original purchaser’s email address. What they could or could not do with that information remains to be seen, but know that DRM-free does not mean personal data-free.