Why Is Apple Putting Your Personal Information Into iTunes Downloads?

Jun 7th, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Music, iPods & Portable Media Players

RIAA LogoThe Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization that fights for online rights, is publicly asking why Apple is embedding its customers’ names and email addresses in files purchased from the iTunes Store.

The name and email embedded into the file can easily be read, and iTunes can display the name and email of the person who purchased the song. This means that anyone who has access to the file can see the original purchaser’s name and email address.

“Apple, why is my name and email embedded in the clear in the songs I’ve bought?” asks EFF’s Fred von Lohmann. ” Why won’t you explain what it’s for and why it’s necessary that my PII (personally identifiable information) be in the clear?”

Is Apple Making The RIAA’s Job Easy To Keep Out Of Piracy Policing?

There seems to be only one good reason to embed your personal info into iTunes downloads. Apple’s doing it so that they can keep out of the piracy enforcement business.

Embedding your personal info into your iTunes music downloads will make it easy for the RIAA to track who’s publishing music files to file-sharing networks. Instead of using relatively weak evidence, like IP addresses, to identify file-sharers, they’ll have people’s name and email address embedded in the music files.

They won’t need to go to Apple to find this out, which keeps Apple out of the unpopular position of enforcing copyrights on music.

The real question isn’t why Apple is putting your information into music files, but how long will it be until music files with RIAA head Cary Sherman’s name and email start showing up on file-sharing networks?

No Responses to “Why Is Apple Putting Your Personal Information Into iTunes Downloads?”

  1. JasonX says:

    I don’t think you can say that Apple is doing this to make the RIAA’s job easy – even though it certianly will.

    It could just be because of something stupid – like iTunes needs it to display your info or something.

  2. John says:

    Who cares.. Don’t share it and it becomes a non-issue. If you want to share buy the cd and rip it yourself….

  3. Essefgy says:

    EFF.org, why is Fred’s name and email embedded in the clear in the webpage I saw?
    ( http://www.eff.org/about/staff/?f=fred_von_lohmann.html )

  4. info says:


    The difference is that Fred is knowingly sharing his information.

    People don’t expect their music to have their personal info embedded into it. If you lost your iPod, somebody could find your pictures on it and then check your music to get your name and email info.

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