Apple's Music Store Policy [Updated]

Big thanks goes out to jessejlt for pointing out this update by Slashdot:

The post to Politech says the songs would "disappear," not be deleted; from the context, it seems they were merely unplayable, not deleted. Apple has contacted the guy, and is apparently making him happy. However, the question remains: Apple definitely doesn't want people buying new songs from outside the U.S., but do they intend to generally permit foreign users to reauthorize (in effect, retain access to) the songs they have already purchased? Apple's policy is very unclear on that point.

News source: Slashdot

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And here's what happens at

1. You are only allowed to download the songs once. OK, no biggie, just make sure they're backed up.

2. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BACK UP THE LICENSES!!!!! What the hell? Why not?

OK, so I figure I'm not allowed to back up the licenses, because they're afraid I might transfer them and the songs that belong to them, to another person's computer.

Anyway, anyone who was looking at the radar last night would have seen massive thunderstorms in Falls Church, VA where I live. During the storm, the cheap Wal-Mart surge protector protecting my computer gets fried, along with my hard drive. Well, the hard drive seems fine physically, but it wouldn't boot up. File corruption, I assume.

So, last night I reinstalled XP, all the patches, and Windows Media Player 9. I am curious about how I will be able to play my music that I bought now, so I open up one of the DRM protected files that I bought. I get a message saying that I have no more licenses left to download, and to please contact customer service for further assistance, which I did. Below is my e-mail to them, and their e-mail back to me:

I recently purchased some music from your web site, orders 16558699 & 16563103. Tonight, I had to reinstall my operating system to recover from a power surge. I backed up my music to another location, and after I re-installed the OS, I couldn't play my music anymore! Windows Media Player launched a small window of your web site for me to enter my e-mail address & password into, then after thanking me for my patience, I was informed that I had no more licenses left to download, and to contact customer service. How can I play my music again? I noticed that when I tried to back up my licenses (before I reinstalled), I was not allowed to do so. Why not? It's not fair that I should lose the right to play it just because I re-installed my OS. I'm sure this happens to many of your customers and the answer to my problem is an easy one.

Thanks for your help.

And their reply:

Thank you for writing to us.

We are responding regarding your order #16563103.

We apologize for any confusion. Due to license restrictions, we are unable to allow for extra downloads in the event of a system upgrade or computer crash. We are also unable to assist if songs have been mistakenly deleted or files become corrupted. In addition, the encryption technology that we use is not intended to be compatible with system backup software. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

Have fun using Windows (insert windows variation) for the rest of your life.