back to article Bruce Willis didn't Buy Hard: His girls can't inherit his iTunes

Hollywood actor Bruce Willis could reportedly take Apple to court over a massive digital music library that he wants to pass on to his kids when he dies. The Die Hard and Armageddon star wants his daughters Rumer, Scout and Tallulah to "own" the digital music he painstakingly downloaded from iTunes, but the current terms of …

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wag
Childcatcher

I don't use iTunes (or similar sites) for that very reason. I don't think Willis has a leg to stand on from a legal point of view as the terms are pretty clear and he presumably agreed to them when he signed up. But if he does take action I hope he succeeds.

The whole "digital legacy" issue is becoming more and more important to consumers and the big tech companies should stop brushing it under the carpet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re:

Downvoted: just because you agreed to their license doesn't mean you wave away your rights, if the terms of the license are illegal or unenforceable. *That* is was a court will have to decide, if Bruce manages to get this far.

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Holmes

Naturally, you went with an alternative which supports your legacy requirement.

...and that would be...?

On a side note:

One can't help but wonder why he's spoken out. All he's done is drawn attention to his collection, which can and probably will be persued.

Assuming his entire collection is DRM free, with no obvious evidence he torrenting it all (ie it's all legit), then what was stopping him ...*cough*..."accidentally leaving it on an external hard drive" once he had croaked?

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Anonymous Coward

alternative which supports your legacy requirement

TPB. They don't have that clause in their "license agreement"

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Re: Re:

Actually I believe that the fact that the contract is non-negotiable is more relevant, since there is no mechanism for putting your wording on the 'agreement' your bargaining position is zero.

I suspect the lawyers would love to get their teeth into that one since it's one way to truly alienate your customers - paying full price for something that you can't pass on? not fair...

ttfn

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@silverburn

Best option - buy the CD/DVD and rip/convert it yourself.

If I download a movie, can I pass that copy on to my progeny? Will Mr. Willis happily give up his share of the re-purchase price of the digital media in perpetuity?

The digital download scam, whilst convenient, is just that; a scam. Buy the original media and DIY.

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Go

"ou went with an alternative which supports your legacy requirement.

...and that would be...?"

Amazon MP3

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @silverburn

There *is* a problem here, your solution is to rely on a loophole using legacy media. CD's already don't exist for some music and likely won't exist much at all in ten years. Perhaps you should applaud him for taking this issue on?

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RE: ...and that would be...?

A CD

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Boffin

Re: Re:

Downvote Downvoted: OP was just stating his opinion, not claiming that Mr. Willis had necessarily waived any rights. Besides, a licensee has no rights* to licensed material other than those conveyed by the license he agreed to.

Furthermore, the existence of illegal or unenforceable terms does not negate the necessity of reading and understanding the terms of any contract one enters into. Most modern contracts include a clause, which has been held to be legal, which states that if there are any illegal terms in the contract, those terms are null and the rest of the contract stands.

Many software licenses include a non-transferable clause which has held up in court (for a good example, research the legal history of AutoDesk's AutoCAD license.) That would easily cover this "legacy" scenario. So unless Apple's lawyers really messed up, or a judge were to find a substantial and relevant difference between music licensing and software licensing, Mr. Willis is not likely to succeed.

PS. It's waive. You can wave your rights all the way to the bank, but you'll just look like a fool.

* Technically, "fair use" and other similar constructs are not licensee rights, but exceptions to rightsholders' rights of enforcement.

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Re: @silverburn

@AC 12:50 Perhpaps. But if something is not available in a format I want, you know what I do? Don't consume. I don't agree to a license, but it and then moan after the fact.

If enough folks did that, basic market forces would solve the problem. Some places already play fair (e.g. wo.do, Jamendo, Magnatune), so why can't the big-boys?

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Stop

not allowed

"Best option - buy the CD/DVD and rip/convert it yourself."

In the USA, If you have to circumvent any copy protection or region coding of a DVD/blueray or CD then you are in breach of the DMCA..... your not allowed.... and because its not allwed in the USA the music and film industry think its applicable here in th UK to.

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FAIL

Another BS story from the Daily (M|F)ail

This is a bullshit story yet again from our dear Daily Fail. Willis' wife has denied the whole thing.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/03/bruce-willis-itunes-music-library/

iTunes music T&Cs don't actually impose any restriction on transfer of ownership. Just shows how the media didn't even read them and just parroted the story (with few exceptions).

Shame on the commenters who fell for this too.

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Re: Re:

"Many software licenses include a non-transferable clause which has held up in court (for a good example, research the legal history of AutoDesk's AutoCAD license.) That would easily cover this "legacy" scenario. So unless Apple's lawyers really messed up, or a judge were to find a substantial and relevant difference between music licensing and software licensing, Mr. Willis is not likely to succeed."

Vernor v. Autodesk (2008) originally ruled in favor of Vernor, citing if it looks like a sale and transacts like a sale, it's a sale--and subject to first-sale doctrine. What derailed the case in the Court of Appeals was the finding that the copies didn't come to Vernor through proper channels. The copies IIRC were meant to be returned to Autodesk or destroyed as part of an upgrade contract (thus making the copies spoken for), but Vernor physically stole the copies instead, breaking the chain of ownership.

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Indeed, and more generally, there are absolutely loads of places to buy DRM-free mp3s, and has been for years now. All the mainstream stores that sell music also seem to offer mp3s online. If people want to give their money to late-to-the-party patent trolls who have crappy terms and conditions, more fool them.

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Re: @silverburn

"@AC 12:50 Perhpaps. But if something is not available in a format I want, you know what I do? Don't consume. I don't agree to a license, but it and then moan after the fact."

Or be like the other 90% of the population and just pirate it

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FAIL

@Mark .

You're the one being a troll here. iTunes is DRM free.

Other stores have the same or worse restrictions. For example Amazon MP3 won't even let you re-download the songs you purchased (lost your file? buy again. music file on computer back home? buy again). This is much worse than iTunes.

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Amazon..

See, if he just bought them from Amazon MP3, or bought them on CD, he wouldn't have a problem. DRM free files not tied to any accounts, to do with as you please.

Why anyone would pour money into iTunes is beyond me.

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@piro

Let's not let the facts get in the way of a good bit of Apple hating hey? iTunes have actually been offering DRM free music since May 2007 (initially with EMI content). The Amazon MP3 store wasn't even in beta until September 2007 and didn't open fully until 2008.

I'm no Apple fan boy, but the fact is that Apple were fighting for DRM free music for a long time and it was the record companies that resisted. Most of these restrictive license agreements on music in the iTunes store are not put there by Apple, but by the record companies, and any online store you purchase from will have very similar agreements.

iTunes music is DRM free, it's one of the only stores to allow you to redownload your purchased content to any of your devices, so if you're on holiday and really want a song on your iPod that you left at home, you can redownload it. You can't do this with Amazon or any other store I've used. Also, with services like iTunes Match, that allows you to sync all of your music to the cloud and download anywhere (even tracks you haven't purchased from iTunes, or have ripped yourself), it strikes me that Apple are trying harder than anyone to negotiate fairer music licensing with the 'stuck in their ways' record industry.

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Apple Schmapple

Somebody gave me an iPod touch a couple of weeks ago. Fancy thing with a big touch-screen, I was pretty chuffed.

I have a large music library on an external hard drive, I've been working in IT for twelve or so years, so didn't feel intimidated by the idea of copying some mp3 files to it.

After three days of farting about with iTunes I was about ready to throw the thing against the wall.

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WTF?

Re: Apple Schmapple

What do you do in IT - make the tea for the techies?

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Go

Re: Apple Schmapple

Get rockbox

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple Schmapple

Same here. I remember the horror of spending a whole day trying to work a gen 1 (or 2?) Ipod. Never looked at one since then!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple Schmapple

1. Create playlist.

2. Add songs to playlist.

3. Connect device to computer.

4. Choose to sync playlist to device.

5. Sync.

Is that so hard?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple Schmapple

Probably does password resets or some Windows admin.

Life is about learning to do things, no matter how difficult or counter-intuitive they are. If you're not challenged or having to work things out then you're treading water, your brain will shrivel.

Challenge yourself to solve something once in a while. It gives you immense satisfaction when you solve it too.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Apple Schmapple

Surely creating playlists are optional, I just drag & drop mine then sync the lot.

PARIS: I could even teach her to do it.

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Trollface

Re: Apple Schmapple

1. Shove in Media Card

2. Copy MP3 files

3. Paste MP3 files

4. Shove out Media Card

5. Shove in Media Card

Well my argument for its easier is out of the window so I'll attack with "Never saw why people wanted software to arrange it in a way they didn't like"

Re: Apple Schmapple

1. Create playlist.

2. Add songs to playlist.

3. Connect device to computer.

4. Choose to sync playlist to device.

5. Sync.

Is that so hard?

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Re: Apple Schmapple

I have to say, I have only ever used iTunes once. This was when my fiance had put some music from my server onto her iPhone before I had organised it, so it needed re-adding once I placed the files in the correct place. Although it took took me longer than I would expect for such a simple task, this was only because I had never used it before, and even so I had it done in 10mins.

So I must ask: how can people who "work in IT" take so long to sort this out?

I will refrain from posting the answer I expect, as I am likely to offend...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple Schmapple

1. Create playlist.

2. Add songs to playlist.

3. Connect device to computer.

4. Choose to sync playlist to device.

5. Sync.

alternatively, don't use an Apple device...

1. Connect device to computer.

2. Drag n drop files

hmmmm.

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Re: Apple Schmapple

Nice ad-hom you've got going there.

Life may be about learning to do things, but software design should definitely be about makig things as easy and intuitive as possible. As a professional software developer, I am frequently appalled by how little these basic principles are followed by some companies.

iTunes is a prima facie example of poor software design; it is not designed to make things easy for the user, it is designed to make certain things hard, such as taking control of your own music collection. This is clearly intentional, and a business-driven decision. Apple can more than afford to employ some developers with a knowledge of user interface design, that iTunes is designed to work the way it does tells us as much about Apple as a company as we need to know, and, to me, is evidence enough that they should be avoided.

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Thumb Up

Re: Apple Schmapple

and you don't have to create a playlist, either.

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FAIL

Re: Re: Apple Schmapple

"What do you do in IT - make the tea for the techies?" Well, seeing as Apple products just aren't used in real IT, I'd suggest it is you that doesn't actually work in a real IT role.

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Happy

Re: Re: Apple Schmapple

".....but software design should definitely be about makig things as easy and intuitive as possible....." I had a great laugh recently with a fanboi that was bleating on about the brand new iPad he'd just rushed out to buy at lunchtime. He had all the marketing phrases down pat - "retina screen", blah, blah, blah - but was completely stumped when I asked him if he knew how to turn the volume up or down. It took him a god ten minutes of looking through all the settings menus to work out it was a rocker switch on the side!

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Re: Apple Schmapple

Itunes is a mess because it's designed to stop you sharing music files -- presumably the price Apple paid for getting the record companies on board the iTunes site.

Far simpler to use a player which supports drag and drop and rip your own CDs (between 50p and £3 in flea markets, charity shops).

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Re: Apple Schmapple

To all the haters because the OP mentioned he works in IT.

I too work in the industry, as a programmer and occasionally as an analyst, having had the misfortune to use iTunes on occasion I can understand the frustration - I found it to be an annoying incomprehensible pile of crap, that refused to let go control. To be honest, I can say much the same about Windows Media Player as well, although that doesn't try quite so hard to force me to use it's ecosystem.

Working in IT, I also have many friends who work in the industry, some of whom are Apple afficianados, some aren't. More than one have at times complained about iTunes and their Apple kit, most noticably the horrendous time it takes to sync your collection to the cloud (several days, according to the few people I know who've tried it with large collections).

What Apple got right, was the UI on the iPod - beyond that I cant give them any credit, since the software required on your PC is attrocious.

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Re: Apple Schmapple

Mostly application development, business and systems analysis, and a bit of server administration.

And yes, it is possible to install iTunes and point it at a large existing music collection located on a samba share mapped to an external hard disk on a home server. It does (eventually) sync. You can remap things after it loses setting at the drop of a packet. You might even get used to thinking about, and interacting with, files and folders in a way that Apple has decided is best for you.

I just don't know why you'd want to do that to yourself.

In my case, I found the whole experience totally frustrating and ended up installing one of the third party apps available from cnet or similar.

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Thumb Up

Re: Apple Schmapple

Those ipods can run rockbox :)

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@Steve 1

" and you don't have to create a playlist, either."

I tried it on my 1st gen ipod without creating a playlist. It spent about half an hour copying before telling me it failed because it didn't fit. I wonder why it didn't check that it would fit before wasting half am hour trying, but never mind. It seems I had to create a playlist to say what I wanted copied (or at least, that was by far the easiest method)

A bit later when I tried to chage what I had on it, I was told that my itunes was too old. I theb went through untold downloads/installs/reboots before deciding that I couldn't get it to work and giving up. On the way, quicktime (which seems to be an essential component of copying files over USB) broke the codec for. mov files, and since then I haven't even wbeen able to play them with Canon's own software.

In my opinion, the ipod touch is a marvelous product, but itunes rates worse than Adobe flash on my list of worst ever software :-/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple Schmapple

I buy albums, I rip my CD's as albums, I want to listen to ALBUMS.

Fuck playlists!

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Re: Apple Schmapple

Sharepod - tiny executable, portable. Never touch iTunes again.

Or, as has already been suggested, Rockbox. If you really wanna geek out/feel superior. Mind you, the geeking out part is debatable these days since they moved to a pretty much one-click installer.

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Re: Apple Schmapple

Playlists = albums

1) Buy CD

2) Rip to PC using MediaMonkey

3) Open iTunes

4) drag and drop folder created by MediaMonkey onto the word "Playlists" in the left menu of iTumes

5) Rename playlist to something more informative than just album name

8) sync to iPod

Simples!

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Pirate

Rockbox? Re: Apple Schmapple

I envy people who can type faster than they can think...

Have you seen the original post? It says iPod Touch. Ever considered that it is a hard to support device, given Apple's son-of-a-bitchery encryption that gets changed all the time just to screw third party coders (like the libgtkpod guys)? Rockbox's late 1990s-looking website does not even list the Touch in its device page. Their iPod FAQ page says that a crapload of iPod models (including the Touch) are not supported.

And that is why I had to boot into the Win7 that came with my "netbook" and install iTunes (shudder) in order to initialize the Touch and load all my music into it. Problem is that I now have more music and need to go there again to add it to the thing... Programs currently distributed with Ubuntu are almost there in the support for the new devices; I can read the iPod, for now, and can almost delete songs -- they are still listed in the internal DB, but don't play anymore, but no adding songs yet.

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Re: Rockbox? Apple Schmapple

Hence my recommendation of Sharepod first and foremost. Even if Rockbox does support the iPod Touch (something I can't be bothered checking) its UI is, ahem, an acquired taste. Definitely suited to those of a more masochistic bent.

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Re: Apple Schmapple

If you had one more year of "working in IT", you would have known to look inside this top-secret, hidden dialog box in iTunes called "Preferences" or "Options."

Inside, you will see two confusing (almost invisible) checkboxes:

o Manage music files manually

o Sync over WIFI

I'll let you figure out how those cryptic settings will work. (Your decade of "working in IT" should serve you well here...finally.)

And don't tell anyone about these iTunes settings. Very hush hush.

As to Bruce Willis' "issue", all his mp4/AAC files are DRM-free. I'm certain his lawyer didn't point that out before asking for his retainer-fee payment.

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Re: Apple Schmapple

So I must ask: how can people who "work in IT" take so long to sort this out?

Well, I technically don't work in IT, but I do have a couple of decades or so of experience with computers and networks in the context of graphic design shops as a senior designer and "resident geek".

Despite this, I never could learn to program a VCR properly, and to this day still struggle with microwave ovens. Sadly, I've got no experience with iPods, and use iTunes primarily to create playilsts for my music collection which sits on a local hard drive, and sure as hell don't use it to buy copies of albums. The most involved thing I've ever done with iTunes is to build LittleSnitch rule sets which keep it from accessing the Internet every time I insert a CD to rip while still allowing it to get on the 'Net for the grand total of two (2) radio station streams.

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Re: Apple Schmapple

Well, part of me wants to downvote that post, except I'm also one of those old-skool geezers who still listens to whole albums from start to finish, especially stuff like Quadrophenia or The Wall, which really were designed to be taken in in one sitting, like an opera or a film; the individual songs stand well on their own, but they're still best enjoyed in context.

On the other hand, though, since I first got hold of iTunes and started ripping my album and live bootleg collections about six or seven years ago, I got to be a real "playlist" kind of guy, as I'm just old enough to have gotten in on the tail end of the "mixtape" era. In fact, a lot of the playlists I build in iTunes are done with the same approach I took toward mixtapes twenty years ago, except now with an eye (and an ear) toward "mixes" that fit within the 75-80 minute constraints of a CD.

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Re: Apple Schmapple

"Itunes is a mess because it's designed to stop you sharing music files -- presumably the price Apple paid for getting the record companies on board the iTunes site."

Huh?

I've always been a bit baffled about why folks find iTunes so hard to use. I've found it quite easy:

Launch iTunes.

Click on your folder chock full o' MP3 goodness.

Hold down the mouse button and drag your MP3 folder into the iTunes window, where they'll all be imported into iTunes. You can, if you like, tell iTunes to leave the MP3 files where they are, or have it make copies of them and stash the copies in its own library. Your choice.

Click Sync.

Sit back and sip tea while your MP3 files zip over the USB cable onto your iPod.

It doesn't stop you from sharing them; they're still there, sitting on your hard drive, ready to be shared any way you like. It doesn't prevent you from using them with other devices. I'm flummoxed; what is it that makes iTunes so difficult?

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Re: Apple Schmapple

It's even easier than that, you can just drag the CD onto the iPod icon in iTunes and it will rip the CD straight onto your iPod. No need to create playlists or import to iTunes first.

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