Currently, as with music, you can authorize five computers to play content purchased by you and also download it to an unlimited number of iPods.
It is worth noting at this point that for music you can burn the content to a CD for playback in a standard cd player, you cannot however burn video content in any form other than as protected files on a data DVD for backup purposes.
Now, with the "unlimited iPods" scenario you have to basically wipe the iPod and sync it with your collection, so you can copy the files to a friends iPod but at the expensive of wiping their collection off. When they next sync their iPod with their own collection, your content will be removed and replaced with theirs. I believe they can copy the video into their collection, but, without your authorizing their machine ( and using up one of your five slots ), they will not be able to play it on their computer.
Now, to me, this seems to afford a sufficient level of control over distribution of video content, the studios disagree and want Apple to limit the number of iPods that can have the content downloaded to 5!!!
For the consumer this isn’t really going to be a problem, I mean, who has 5 iPods anyway??
What shits me about this is that the additional restriction is likely to do bugger all in the grand scheme of things but could have the potential to make the iPod/iTunes experience less pleasant and more complex for the consumer. Apple would have to include some way to deauthorize iPods, including deauthorizing lost/broken devices, as well so you don’t have problems with dud or old iPods using up your five slots. This means valuable engineering time at Apple wasted on adding complexity to a system that already works well and affords reasonable control over content that could otherwise be spent on new products or features…..
How long until we have mandatory MPAA/RIAA approved implants in our heads that make sure we pay for every use of every piece of their content…..
You may laugh, but I’m sure they would jump at the chance if the technology existed….
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