John Gruber: The Ringtones Racket

by Volker Weber

Instead of the complicated, confusing mess of a ringtone policy that Apple announced last week, what they should have announced is this: "Any song you can play on your iPhone can be used as a ringtone for no additional charge. Want a new ringtone? Just buy it from iTunes or rip it from a CD."

That's how it works with all the other phones.

Repeat after me: DRM is bad for the customer.

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Comments

The ringtone racket is, to me, the absolute epitome of an arrogant industry taking advantage of a gullible consumer base.

If I ever pay a dime for something that does nothing more than advertise some else's product every time my phone rings in a desperate attempt to be cool in a twisted doppelganger teenaged way -- someone just kill me on the spot.

Andrew Pollack, 2007-09-14 03:29

The mobile phone ringtone / wallpaper / screensaver industry is massive with kids in the UK. I don’t understand it at all—why pay for any of that? I must be getting old :o)

Ben Poole, 2007-09-14 08:19

Actually, what is even worse:

You can't use ringtones you did in GarageBand. That would be a very nice menu entry in GB: "Send to iPhone as ringtone". :-)

Ole Saalmann, 2007-09-14 08:38

Ben, looks like Andrew is older than you. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2007-09-14 08:59

Come on guys, let's put this into perspective:

- when you buy an iPhone, you know the limitations. There are (feature wise) *many* better phones for less money
- the ringtones stuff only pays off for Apple if there are enough gullible customers. Looking at the ringtone business in general, and comparing how many people buy into spam - that seems a totally valid move to me. Apple is a public company and needs to make money. If the market tells them it doesn't work, they'll change.
- so far, hacks to circumvent Apple's DRM have always turned up sooner or later. That's not saying DRM is ok, but it's still not quite as bad as with other vendors (reminds me I need to download the latest QTFairUse6.cfg.. ;) )

Still, DRM is bad. But it's where you put *YOUR* money, so chose wisely.

Frank Koehntopp, 2007-09-14 09:47

May I ask an off topic question?! :)
What software can be used to create backup images for Mac Hardware? Software should support backups to NAS.

Sebastian Grötsch, 2007-09-14 16:54

CCC is the tool of choice: http://www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html

Make sure to check out his how-to guides. Also note, that you can boot a mac from an external disk. So make a second install of Mac OS X on an external disk and you can boot a Mac without locking the internal disk.

Volker Weber, 2007-09-14 17:39

Looks interesting. I will test this. Thanks.

Sebastian Grötsch, 2007-09-15 13:17

CCC is the tool of choice

Not all seem to agree with this recommendation. Depending on how complete you wish the image to be "SuperDuper!" is also highly recommended. While it is commercial software you can use its basic features (cloning) for free.

I don't know if "SuperDuper!" will work with a NAS.

Thomas Griesbaum, 2007-09-15 14:26

Not back-up related, but I can recommend SuperDuper for something else.

Last month I needed to resurrect the old iMac G4 when it refused to boot from either its internal drive or CD / DVD. I used SuperDuper to create a boot-able OS on my external Firewire drive, and was able to get the iMac up and running again from that.

Ben Poole, 2007-09-15 14:50

How Apple Had to Backtrack on Ringtones thanks to RIAA "The bottom line, however, is that Apple did the best it could to protect the interest of their customers and still comply with copyright law."

Music and Movie copyright mess is not as bad as software patents, but
ibid: "DRM is bad for the customer"

P.S.: I have used CCC for bootable clones, Deja vu (only because included with Toast) for nightly backup on the PowerMac and SilverKeeper (free from La Cie) for ad hoc laptop backups.

Lee Davis, 2007-09-15 23:27

While the RIAA won the right to not pay performers royalties for ringtones, it simultaneously maintained the right to collect the monies for those ringtones.

And I thought, it was all about the artists.

PS: Do I need to put in the irony tags?

Volker Weber, 2007-09-16 00:12

The latest version 3.0 of CCC was just released. It seems to have changed under the hood and might deserve a closer look.

Thomas Griesbaum, 2007-09-19 04:11

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vowe.net is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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