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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Question about the Terms of Use for iTunes and Amazon

    Hello,

    I'm having... difficulties... with a certain teacher. He is having us use music from Apple iTunes and Amazon.com's MP3 section for our Flash assignments. I read through the Terms of Use for each and found several conditions we are likely violating because of this usage. He disagrees, and is kind of being a jerk about it as well. So, I'd like the opinions of others, likely more experienced then I am. Here are links to their terms of use:

    iTunes: http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/service.html
    Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/custom...deId=200154280

    Basically, we are to use the mp3's in Flash animations, which are then placed on our student websites. So, these are non-commercial, educational usages. However, they are still publically available, and I'm not sure, but I think you could consider displaying song in a Flash on a website as several things, which I'll outline in the quotes I'm about to pull.

    As many of you probably know, when you download iTunes songs from their iTunes store, they aren't in mp3, they are in a proprietary format with security which restricts their usage. Our teacher taught us a method in which we burn the songs onto a CD, and then re-import the songs as MP3s to get around this security. I feel that this violates the following portions of the iTunes Terms of Use:
    Quote Originally Posted by Section 8b.
    You understand that the Service, and products transacted through the Service, such as sound
    recordings, videos (including movies and television shows), games, software, ring tones, and related
    artwork ("Products"), include a security framework using technology that protects digital
    information and limits your usage of Products to certain usage rules established by Apple and its
    licensors ("Usage Rules"). You agree to comply with such Usage Rules, as further outlined below,
    and you agree not to violate or attempt to violate any security components. You agree not to
    attempt to, or assist another person to, circumvent, reverse-engineer, decompile, disassemble, or
    otherwise tamper with any of the security components related to such Usage Rules for any reason
    whatsoever.
    Quote Originally Posted by Section 9b.
    Use of Products. You acknowledge that Products (other than the iTunes Plus Products) contain
    security technology that limits your usage of Products to the following applicable Usage Rules,
    and, whether or not Products are limited by security technology, you agree to use Products in
    compliance with the applicable Usage Rules.
    Quote Originally Posted by Section 9b. iii
    You shall be authorized to use the Products only for personal, noncommercial use.
    Quote Originally Posted by Section 9b. x
    You agree that you will not attempt to, or encourage or assist any other person to, circumvent
    or modify any security technology or software that is part of the Service or used to administer the
    Usage Rules.
    I think this is pretty cut and dry. It says no getting around the security, and no teaching how to get around the security, for any reason whatsoever.

    The Amazon one isn't as cut and dry, but I still think it violates the following:
    Quote Originally Posted by 2.2
    Except as set forth in Section 2.1 above, you agree that you will not redistribute, transmit, assign, sell, broadcast, rent, share, lend, modify, adapt, edit, sub-license or otherwise transfer or use the Digital Content. You are not granted any synchronization, public performance, promotional use, commercial sale, resale, reproduction or distribution rights for the Digital Content.
    I think it violates the following in that list: redistribute, transmit, broadcast, share, modify, adapt, edit, synchronization, public performance, and distribution. It's a bit iffy, but I'm sure within one of those there is a violation since we are modifying it to place it in a Flash which is then placed on a public section of a website.

    Please let me know what you think. My teacher seems to be taking this as a personal attack so I need some real backing. I'm going to try and contact Apple and Amazon directly and ask them, if I can. If you know how I can go about this, please let me know.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard chris_fuel's Avatar
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    Well, it's not even that, it's the fact that you shouldn't be teaching people who may likely be using this in the workplace to use non-rights managed material. That would be like a grammar teacher showing you how to write an essay by copying and pasting things from various sites. Bring it up with a dean if you have to.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I may well. He is taking it as a personal attack on him when I simply was bringing it up so he could make an explicit point that they can't do this for a real application and are only for educational purposes (though in this case I don't think that's even allowed). This is the same teacher that I talked to about using HTML 4.01 (or at least XHTML 1.0) instead of XHTML 1.1 which is what he was teaching. I skipped the first of his class because of my experience and anytime I say something to him that is contradiction to what he says,

    he always says:
    "I wish I didn't let you skip this because in the other class we covered this and I made them do a project on it"... no matter what the topic is."

    He's also the one who I sent him info from here and in my email I explained just briefly about Sitepoint and he was like "Why do you assume I don't know what Sitepoint is and that I don't go to it"... if he did know and did read from Sitepoint, I wouldn't have had to be explaining why he was doing what he was doing wrong because he would have already read it from here.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Well, I've managed to get an official statement from Amazon:
    Quote Originally Posted by Amazon
    After research regarding your specific inquiry, it is a violation of our terms of service under section 2.2. Specifically, this would fall under broadcast, public performance, and distribution.

    Therefore, any broadcast, redistribute, commercial sale of the Music purchased from our store is not allowed.
    So, it is at least in violation of Amazon's Terms of Use, as I thought. Apple's is even more cut and dry, I'm just waiting for their official statement as well.
    Last edited by samanime; Mar 27, 2008 at 21:08.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Does anyone else have any experience or comments on this situation? They're greatly appreciated.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Your teacher is clearly in the wrong and teaching suspect/illegal practices.

    However, tread carefully - after all, this guy is your teacher and has certain powers over your grades (I assume), plus has the power to make your life hell. I cant think of anything worse than having your teacher seriously dislike you (especially if you report him to the dean).

    I suggest you approach him privately with the email from itunes and offer an alternative solution - e.g. locate a web site that offers royalty-free (and license free) music for unrestricted download and usage and suggest he have the class use this music instead.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Yeah, I know, and I have been treading careful. I said this to him in a private email being as passive as possible, simply highlighting the areas I thought we were violating and saying he might want to read over it agian.

    Here is the email he replied with:
    {email removed - didn't help this topic}
    Just to be fair, here is my original email:
    I've attached a file which contains the Apple iTunes Terms of Use. I've bolded several sections which we violate when we remove the security, proprietary format for songs downloaded from there.

    Also, the Amazon MP3 terms of use have a statement which could be argued we violate as well:
    2.1 License. Upon your payment of our fees for Digital Content, we grant you a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use the Digital Content for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use, subject to and in accordance with the terms of this Agreement. You may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content only for your ---personal, non-commercial, entertainment use---.

    2.2 Restrictions. You represent, warrant and agree that you will use the Service only for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use and not for any redistribution of the Digital Content or other use restricted in this Section 2.2. You agree not to infringe the rights of the Digital Content's copyright owners and to comply with all applicable laws in your use of the Digital Content. Except as set forth in Section 2.1 above, you agree that you will not ---redistribute---, transmit, assign, sell, ---broadcast---, rent, ---share---, lend, ---modify---, ---adapt---, ---edit---, sub-license or otherwise transfer or use the Digital Content. You are not granted any synchronization, public performance, promotional use, commercial sale, resale, reproduction or distribution rights for the Digital Content. You acknowledge that the Digital Content embodies the intellectual property of a third party and is protected by law.

    In the first part, it is just worth noting the statement about personal, non-commercial use. Since this is for educational purposes, we aren't violating it with our project. However, it should be worth mentioning that they can't use it for anything outside of the the personal and education sector.

    In the second part, those parts I marked it could be argued that we are violating, even in an educational, non-commercial context.
    Attached was a PDF version of the iTunes Terms of Use which I had bolded a number of sections (which I already mentioned earlier) which I thought we were violating.

    At this point, I really am debating whether or not to pursue this as far as I think I should or to just hold off. I may wait until the semester is over. However, I am in kind of a lucky position. The worst he could do is give me a failing grade in his class. This is the only class I have to take from him, and the only one I ever will. Also, the administration at my university is quite fair so if he did fail me without legitimate cause it would only make him look bad.

    I'm still waiting on an official response from iTunes, which I'll hopefully receive soon.
    Last edited by samanime; Mar 28, 2008 at 22:21.

  8. #8
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    Emailing your teacher rather than confronting him in class was definitely the right way to go, despite what he writes. If he'd like to go over the Terms of Use in class, then he can do so, but you gave him the chance to deal with the matter privately. (I'm not sure that publishing his email here is such a good thing, though.)

    It sounds as though he's perfectly willing to discuss things. Why not meet him and ask him to explain why he doesn't think that the Terms of Use exclude what you're doing in class?

    While you're there, you can pick up the Royalty Free Music CDs so that you can do your assignments. Teachers spend half their lives fending off excuses from students who haven't done their homework, and he may think that you're making a fuss about copyright because you're behind. Catch up, and he might be more receptive.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Thanks for the post.

    I actually checked the license on his Royalty-free music as well and I'm not convinced that he's following these terms of use either since he has a single-user license.

    Also, I have met with him in his office once before and he basically spent an hour telling me about the various degrees, presentations, conferences, etc. that he's done and then asked why I sent him slanted sources (I sent him two sources from him included within that) and basically said all of my sources were worthless (and there were many, many sources). So, the resolution was that he pretty much ignored what I said completely.

    This time I'm going to have indisputable sources. As of right now I have an official statement from both Amazon and iTunes, both saying we are in violation. I've contacted the maker of the royalty-free music he has to check on their terms of use as well.

    And, now that I think about it, I'm gonna remove his email. I was iffy putting it up in the first place and I don't think it really helps this discussion. It's veering too much off-topic.


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