Apple Sued by ‘Over the Rainbow’ Composer for Alleged Piracy

Apple and other tech firms are being sued for piracy by the estate of composer Harold Arlen for offering unauthorized copies of his songs, reports the BBC. Arlen's son, Sam Arlen, says he has found more than 6,000 unauthorized copies of his father's songs on Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft's services.


According to legal papers filed in Los Angeles, streaming services and download stores like iTunes are flooded with "bootleg" copies of Arlen's songs, robbing his estate of royalties. Arlen's work includes several American songbook classics like Over The Rainbow and Get Happy.

The 148-page filing claims the firms are engaged in "massive piracy operations" and provides several examples of alleged piracy. For instance, the official recording of Ethel Ennis' version of Arlen's song "For Every Man, There Is A Woman" is available on the RCA Victor label for $1.29 on iTunes. However, a separate version on the Stardust Records label - with the same cover art but the RCA Victor Logo edited out - is available for $0.89.

Some of the alleged pirate copies are said to contain the signature "skips, pops and crackles" of vinyl, indicating they've been duplicated from a record, rather than the original master tapes.

Arlen's estate is also suing dozens of record labels, which it claims have "continued to work with" alleged pirates despite having knowledge of copyright infringement "for several years".
"It is hard to imagine that a person walking into Tower Records, off the street, with arms full of CDs and vinyl records and claiming to be the record label for Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald, could succeed in having that store sell their copies directly next to the same albums released by legendary record labels, Capitol, RCA, and Columbia, and at a lower price," stated Arlen's lawyers.

"Yet, this exact practice occurs every day in the digital music business where there is... a complete willingness by the digital music stores and services to seek popular and iconic recordings from any source, legitimate or not, provided they participate in sharing the proceeds."
According to the BBC, part of the dispute stem from the differences in copyright law between the US and Europe. In the US, copyright for sound recordings made after 1923 and before 1972 is generally 95 years. But in the UK and Europe, copyright expires after 70 years, after which sound recordings enter the public domain.

Nevertheless, some of the recordings names in Arlen's court papers are still protected by copyright in Europe, and the actual compositions are not in the public domain (a writer's copyright continues for 70 years after their death).

The estate argues that songs like "It's Only A Paper Moon" and "Stormy Weather" are "monumental works of art" that are "national treasures," and is seeking around $4.5 million in damages. Apple and other companies named in the court papers have yet to comment.


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Many Warner Bros Movies Have Reverted to HD Instead of 4K on iTunes and in User Movie Libraries

Over the course of the last week or so, multiple Warner Bros movies that were previously available in 4K have reverted to HD, a change that applies to new purchases from iTunes as well as previously purchased movies.

There are complaints about the change both on Twitter and on the Blu-ray forums, as highlighted by 9to5Mac this afternoon. There are quite a few titles that have reverted from 4K to HD, including all of the Harry Potter movies.


A Blu-ray forums user compiled a list of the known titles that have recently been downgraded from 4K to HD.

  • 22 Jump Street (2014)

  • About Last Night

  • Aloha (2015)

  • American Sniper

  • Annie (2014)

  • Batman vs. Superman

  • The Brothers Grimsby (2016)

  • The Equalizer (2014)

  • Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

  • Ghostbusters II (1989)

  • Goosebumps (2015)

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011)

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (2010)

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

  • Hercules (2014)

  • Hitch (2005)

  • Hotel Deluxe (2013)

  • Matrix Reloaded

  • The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

  • Risen (2016)

  • Spaceballs (1987)

  • Taxi Driver (1976)

  • Unforgiven (1993)

  • The Walk (2015)

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)


It's not clear why these movies are no longer available in 4K, but there have been instances where movies are downgraded to HD and then are later made available again in 4K, so we'll need to wait to see if that's the case here.


One Apple support representative said that the downgrade was due to changes implemented by Warner Bros, which could potentially be accurate as that's often a reason why 4K availability shifts, but Apple support representatives don't always have the most up to date information.

Apple has been offering 4K movie titles from a range of different movie studios since the launch of the Apple TV 4K.

Tag: iTunes

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Apple Pay Now Accepted for iTunes, App Store, Apple Music, and iCloud Purchases in Some Countries

Apple Pay is now an accepted payment method for iTunes, App Store, and Apple Books purchases, as well as Apple Music and iCloud storage subscriptions, as reflected in a recently updated Apple support document.


To link any credit or debit cards set up in the Wallet app with your Apple ID account, navigate to Settings > iTunes & App Store. Next, select your Apple ID email and then tap View Apple ID > Manage Payments > Add Payment Method. The cards should be listed under a new "Found in Wallet" section.

This functionality is rolling out as a server-side change in the United States, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates, so it is not available for all users yet.

In the United States, users can also link an Apple Pay Cash card to an Apple ID account.

There are a handful of benefits to Apple Pay billing for Apple ID account-tied purchases, including the ability to conveniently add multiple credit or debit cards, the improved security of Apple Pay, and the ability to better manage Apple Music and iCloud storage subscriptions from the Wallet app.

This functionality arrives ahead of the launch of the Apple Card credit card in the United States this summer.

(Thanks, Dean Lubaki!)


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Apple Offering 10% Bonus iTunes Credit When Adding Funds to Your Apple ID

Apple has begun offering users the chance to add 10 percent extra credit to their App Store and iTunes accounts this week, similar to past offers from the company. For this deal, you'll have to add money to your Apple ID account from a credit or debit card connected to your account.


To add the funds on your iPhone, visit the App Store, tap your profile picture, and then tap "Add Funds to Apple ID." Here you can choose from $1.00 to $200.00 to add to your account in order to get the 10 percent bonus credit. This means that the most you can get out of the offer is $20 in free iTunes credit when adding $200 to your account.

The promotion will last through Friday, May 10 and is available in the United States as well as other regions, including Japan. With the credit in your iTunes account, you can rent or purchase iTunes movies and TV shows, buy books in Apple Books, pay for your Apple Music or iCloud subscriptions, and much more.


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Apple Offering 10% Bonus When Adding Funds to Your Account for App Store and iTunes Purchases

Apple today sent out emails letting App Store and iTunes users know about a new promotion that offers a 10 percent bonus when adding funds to an Apple ID account.

When you add money directly to your Apple ID from a credit or debit card for making App Store, iTunes, and iCloud purchases, Apple is adding bonus credit.


Apple says the offer is valid on amounts ranging from $1.00 to $200, so customers who add the maximum $200 in funds to their Apple IDs can get a total of $220 with the bonus ($20 free).

Funds can be added to your Apple ID account by opening up the Settings app, tapping on your account name, selecting the iTunes and App Store option, choosing your Apple ID, and then selecting "Add Funds to Apple ID."


From there, you can see the promotional bonuses available and choose the amount of money you want to add to your account. You can also get to these options in the iTunes Store by tapping on your Apple ID or in the App Store by scrolling to the bottom (or tapping your profile picture) and selecting the Add Funds option. To use this feature, you will need to have a valid payment method added to your Apple ID account.

The promotion will be available from March 10 through March 14 in the United States, and it is also available in other countries as well, such as Germany, where Apple is offering a 15 percent bonus. No bonus funds are available in the UK or Canada, however.


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Some Apple Music Users Unable to Load ‘For You’ Tab in iTunes Recently: ‘An Error Occurred’

Over the past few weeks, a handful of users have reported receiving the message "an error occurred" when attempting to load the "For You" tab in iTunes, which provides personalized recommendations for Apple Music. When clicking the "OK" button to reload, affected users are instead redirected to the "Browse" tab.


MacRumors has been able to reproduce this issue in iTunes version 12.9.2.5 on macOS Mojave version 10.14.3, although based on comments across the MacRumors forums and Apple Support Communities, the error message does not appear to be limited to specific versions of iTunes or macOS or any other parameters.

Many users are able to access the "For You" tab as usual, but others have been seeing this error message persist since early February. Affected users are still able to access "For You" on an iPhone, iPad, or other device with Apple Music.

While some affected users can temporarily access the "For You" tab in iTunes after signing out and back in to their Apple ID account, the error message eventually returns. On our affected machine, nothing we have done has restored access to the tab, including force quitting iTunes and restarting the Mac.

All in all, this is a minor issue, but hopefully one that is addressed soon. We reached out to Apple to see if it is aware of the issue, but we have yet to hear back. One affected user claimed that Apple has engineers working on a fix.


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Samsung’s 2019 AirPlay 2-Compatible QLED TVs Now Available for Purchase

Samsung today announced that its 2019 TV lineup with QLED 4K and 8K options, can now be pre-ordered or purchased from the Samsung website or from select retailers across the United States.

Available in sizes ranging from 43 inches to 98 inches, the QLED lineup works with AirPlay 2, thanks to Apple's move to expand AirPlay 2 availability to many television manufacturers. AirPlay 2 will allow Apple users to stream music, podcasts, and more directly to Samsung TVs.


Samsung's 2019 TVs will also feature a new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app, allowing iTunes content like movies and TV shows to be accessed directly on a Samsung television set.

Existing 2018 smart Samsung TV sets will also get AirPlay 2 support and the iTunes app through an upcoming firmware update. Samsung plans to debut the new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app in more than 100 countries, while AirPlay 2 support is set to be available in 190 countries, but specific timing has not yet been announced.

Samsung's 2019 TV lineup includes Q60, Q70, Q80, and Q90 sets ranging in size from 43 to 82 inches, along with the QLED 8K, available in sizes ranging from 65 inches to 98 inches. Samsung's QLED Lifestyle 4K TVs in sizes ranging from 43 to 55 inches are also launching, as are new 4K UHD RU TV sets in sizes ranging from 43 to 82 inches.

According to Samsung and Apple, all 2018 and 2019 4 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, 8 Series, and QLED Series TVs will work with AirPlay 2, and presumably, those television sets will also get the iTunes app. Other smart TVs with AirPlay 2 support will also work with HomeKit, but Samsung's televisions will not feature HomeKit integration and will not be listed in the Home app.

Samsung has its 65-inch Q900 QLED 8K TV available for purchase from its website starting at $5000 for 65 inches. The TV sets will ship by March 1, 2019.

Many of the other 2019 television sets are not available for purchase on Samsung's site but should soon be showing up on websites for various retailers like Best Buy, B&H Photo, Amazon, and others.


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Apple Now Charging Sales Tax on All iTunes Purchases and Apple Music Subscriptions in Canada

As noted by customers on Reddit and Twitter, and on the blog iPhone in Canada, Apple has begun charging sales tax on the purchases of TV shows, movies, music, and audiobooks in iTunes and Apple Music subscriptions in Canada.


The change went into effect January 1, 2019, with GST, HST, PST, and/or QST collected depending on the province or territory.

In a statement issued to MacRumors, Apple said the tax collection is due to "recent changes in Canadian legislation" and the growth of Apple's business around the world, including Canada, where it has operated for nearly four decades:
As the world's largest taxpayer, we respect the important role taxes play in society. Due to recent changes in Canadian legislation and the growth of our business, sales tax will now be charged on purchases of TV, movies, music and audiobooks. Apple has been operating in Canada for 38 years and we are proud to deliver the best products and services in the world to our customers here.
Apple was already charging sales tax on the purchase of apps and select other digital items in Canada prior to January 1.

Tags: iTunes, Canada

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8 Ways to Spend the iTunes Gift Card You Unwrapped Today

App Store & iTunes gift cards have been a popular tech-themed stocking stuffer for years. If you unwrapped one today, we have eight ideas for what to buy across the App Store, iTunes, Apple Books, and beyond in 2018.

Start with Apple's instructions for redeeming App Store & iTunes gift cards.

1. Apple Music subscription


App Store & iTunes gift cards can be used to fund an Apple Music subscription, which costs $9.99 per month for individuals, $4.99 per month for students, and $14.99 per month for families of up to six people in the United States. Apple Music offers a free three-month trial in most countries.

Apple Music provides unlimited streaming of over 50 million songs with an active subscription and is available on an iPhone or Android smartphone, iPad, Mac or PC, Apple Watch, Apple TV, HomePod, Sonos, and Amazon Echo speakers.


To pay for Apple Music with an App Store & iTunes gift card, simply redeem the card and the monthly or annual subscription cost will be drawn from any store credit tied to your Apple ID. If the balance is zero, then Apple Music will be billed to another valid payment method on file, such as a credit card.

2. Other subscriptions


App Store & iTunes gift cards can be used towards a variety of other subscription-based services available on the App Store, such as Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, ESPN+, Tidal, and Dropbox. These subscriptions are available within the apps.

Note that Netflix has experimented with removing the option to pay for a subscription via iTunes for new customers in certain countries.

3. iCloud storage


When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5GB of free storage for photos, videos, and other files. If you need more space, you can upgrade to a larger storage plan, including 50GB for 99 cents per month, 200GB for $2.99 per month, or 2TB for $9.99 per month in the United States. Prices vary in other regions.


To pay for iCloud storage with an App Store & iTunes gift card, simply redeem the card and the monthly cost will be drawn from any store credit tied to your Apple ID. If the balance is zero, then the iCloud storage plan will be billed to another valid payment method on file, such as a credit card.

4. Popular paid apps and games

Nowadays, many apps and games are free and rely on in-app purchases, but these are some of the most popular paid titles on the App Store:Prices are based in U.S. dollars and vary in other regions.

5. In-app purchases and game currencies


Spend your App Store & iTunes gift card balance on in-app purchases and game currencies, be it V-Bucks in Fortnite, PokéCoins in Pokémon GO, extra moves in Candy Crush Saga, gems in Clash of Clans, or something else.

6. Holiday movies on sale in iTunes


Many holiday movies are on sale in iTunes for a limited time, including classics such as Home Alone and A Christmas Story.

$7.99:
  • Arthur Christmas
  • Gremlins
  • The Night Before
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Happy Christmas

$9.99:
  • Home Alone
  • Elf
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
  • Die Hard
  • A Christmas Story
  • The Polar Express
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Ultimate Edition
  • The Santa Clause
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
  • Jack Frost
  • The Nativity Story
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Scrooged
Prices are based in U.S. dollars and vary in other regions.

7. Disney audiobooks


Disney has a variety of audiobooks available on the Apple Book Store, with some free and others priced under $20 in the United States.

8. iMessage sticker packs



If you still have a dollar or two left in store credit after working through this lift, elevate your iMessage game with some sticker packs.
If you have any other ideas, let us know in the comments section!

Tag: iTunes

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Still Running OS X Yosemite? Beware, iTunes 12.8.1 Breaks Safari

Apple this week released iTunes 12.8.1 for OS X Yosemite up to macOS High Sierra. The minor update resolves an issue that prevented iTunes from streaming media to third-party AirPlay speakers, and contains other minor improvements.


However, anyone running OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 specifically should avoid updating to iTunes 12.8.1 for now, as users across the MacRumors Forums, Twitter, Reddit, and Stack Exchange report that the update somehow breaks Safari 10.1.2, the latest version of the browser for OS X Yosemite.

After updating to iTunes 12.8.1, some users have encountered the following error message when opening Safari on OS X Yosemite:
Safari cannot be opened because of a problem.

Check with the developer to make sure Safari works with this version of Mac OS X. You may have to reinstall the application. Be sure to sure to install any available updates for the application and Mac OS X.
One user on Stack Exchange believes that the iTunes 12.8.1 update may update /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/MobileDevice.framework to a version incompatible with Safari 10.1.2, but the cause is not entirely clear. We've flagged the issue with Apple and asked if and when a fix will be available.

In the meantime, workarounds include using an alternative browser such as Firefox or upgrading to a newer macOS version — of course, those still using OS X Yosemite likely don't want to or can't upgrade. Updating to iTunes 12.9 is not possible on OS X Yosemite, as that version is only compatible with macOS Mojave.

We'll update this article when a fix is available.

Tags: Safari, iTunes

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