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July 12, 2006 4:21 PM   Subscribe

How do I prevent copying of shared itunes music?

I’d like other people on my network to be able to listen to my music (and perhaps discover new bands that they wouldn’t otherwise come across) but I am reluctant to let everyone mass download everything I have (using mytunes, ourtunes or other such software). I know others can’t steal (or listen to) itunes drm’ed music but I have tons of other stuff (ripped cd’s, emusic etc.)

Is there a way to share but prevent stealing? I’ve tried adding a password and including that in my share name (“Sharename pswd=boobies”) but mytunes has an option to include passwords. My guess is there’s no solution but I thought I’d ask the green.

PS: Not opposed to sharing music. I paid for the music so I’d like to control who takes it (for free)
posted by special-k to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If they can listen to it, they can copy it. That's basically the bottom line with most media. It might take more work than usual for some forms, but your control is more or less limited to who can listen the way I see it.
posted by kcm at 4:24 PM on July 12, 2006

Best answer: Throttle the bandwidth on port 5353 UDP to ~250Kbps or thereabouts, just depending on the rate that your music is encoded. You may have to fiddle with the number a bit. This will make it agonizingly slow for people to leech, but high enough that they can still listen.
posted by carson at 4:30 PM on July 12, 2006 [2 favorites]

oh, CARSON! Good answer! It won't stop the persistent from taking it, but it will make it a pain.
posted by indiebass at 4:42 PM on July 12, 2006

What's the best way to do said throttling?
posted by kindall at 5:23 PM on July 12, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, Kindall. I was wondering the same.

I'm running Win XP btw
posted by special-k at 5:30 PM on July 12, 2006

iTunes downloads the entire song before playing it, so throttling it will also impact people listening to the music and may make that impossible.

iTunes DOES NOT STREAM music. It sends the entire file over the network.

I wrote myTunes, so I'm familiar with the protocols involved.
posted by null terminated at 7:26 PM on July 12, 2006

Also, 5353 UDP is for Bonjour (Rendezvous previously) connections. TCP 3689 is used for DAAP, the protocol iTunes uses to share music.
posted by null terminated at 7:38 PM on July 12, 2006

iTunes DOES NOT STREAM music. It sends the entire file over the network.

Actually, iTunes does stream. When you first start playing, it fills its buffer as quickly as it can, but then the bandwidth falls off to only what it needs to keep the buffer full. This is easily observed with a bandwidth monitor.
posted by kindall at 7:45 PM on July 12, 2006

You can call downloading "streaming", but it doesn't "stream" music in the way nearly every other online radio station does.

If you throttle the bandwidth to 250kbps, I would be very surprised if you were still able to listen to the music in iTunes.
posted by null terminated at 7:50 PM on July 12, 2006

so NT can you explain exactly what you mean? iTunes used to allow daap connections from across the internet. even at cablemodem speeds it would take a few seconds for an entire song to be transferred, and that would translate to song startup latency if they pulled the whole song before starting to play it... and that wasn't my experience.

or do you mean that they don't use shoutcast/icecast like everyone else does?
posted by joeblough at 11:04 PM on July 12, 2006

Back when I only had 256Kbps outbound on my DSL, I sure as heck streamed music from my home Mac to my office using iTunes. (Obviously, not files that required more than 256Kbps. Actually not files that required more than about 200Kbps.)

I just sat here and watched iTunes' behavior streaming from my laptop to my desktop Mac using Interarchy's Network Status tool. iTunes CLEARLY has a buffer it fills as quickly as possible, then the bandwidth use drops markedly. After the initial spike, bandwidth utilization was about 22Kbps, on a LAN that will support about 5000 times that speed. When I stopped the music the 22Kbps went away. When I hit play, bingo, 22Kbps again. (Interarchy does some weighted averaging of the throughput numbers for the text display, but you can see it pretty damn clearly on the graph.)

I find the notion that I don't know what I'm talking about humorous, if perplexing. Still, if you don't believe me, you're welcome to try it for yourself.
posted by kindall at 12:24 AM on July 13, 2006

Low-tech solution: I always put my AIM username in the share name (e.g., "room 100 sharing, IM soandso for password") and it worked fine for me -- especially at college, where you're always signed onto AIM.

And my password was "please," I think, so even if I was away when I got IMed, it wasn't an insurmountable problem.
posted by booksandlibretti at 8:19 AM on July 13, 2006

Turns out my memory is wrong and kindall is correct.
posted by null terminated at 11:21 AM on July 13, 2006

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