Will Apple's iCloud make pirates pay up?

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces iCloud during a keynote address to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Monday, June 6, 2011 CBS/AP

Will Apple's iCloud make pirates pay up?
CBS/AP

(CBS/AP) - Steve Jobs on Monday introduced more than just a cloud storage system for songs that fans buy legitimately through iTunes.

He unveiled a system that might finally get music lovers to pay for the songs they got through less-than-proper means.

Aside from offering to freely distribute new and old iTunes purchases on all of a user's devices, the Apple impresario unveiled "iTunes Match," a $25-a-year service starting this fall that will scan users' devices and hard drives for music acquired in other ways, store it on distant computer servers and allow them to access it anywhere.

The service acknowledges a well-known fact - that most music on iPods, iPhones and iPads was ripped or swapped. Apple reached a deal that gives recording companies more than 70 percent of the new fees, addressing a dark secret that has crippled the music industry, and provides them with some economic payback.

Where Apple is able to identify and match songs from its 18 million-song database, it will transfer them into the user's iCloud, a storage area housed on servers, including those at a massive new data center in North Carolina.

"The chances are awfully good that we've got the songs in our store that you've ripped," Jobs said.

Where songs can't be identified - say of bootlegged concert recordings - users can manually upload them to the cloud and gain the same access.

Jobs called it "an industry-leading offer" compared with similar song-uploading storage services recently introduced by Amazon.com Inc. and Google Inc. The limit of "iTunes Match" is 25,000 songs, and the service will update lesser-quality song files to iTunes standards. ITunes purchases do not count against the limit.

Full wrap up of CNET and ZDNet coverage

  • Edecio Martinez

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