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iTunes 8 adds podcast controls, terms of service geographic limit (not new)


In the iTunes 8 new features listing, a couple of tweaks may have been overlooked. Podcast subscribers have long yearned for more granular control over downloading and retention in iTunes -- "keep three episodes" might be great for Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me or Mac OS Ken, but what about Coverville or You Look Nice Today? You'd surely want to keep those & other awesome 'casts in perpetuity, and there are some podcasts that are so large you want to cull them after one download.

Now, iTunes 8 lets you apply retention policies on a podcast-by-podcast basis. Select the podcast in the list and click the "Settings" button at the bottom of the window, then UNcheck the "Use Default Settings" box to enable custom prefs for that particular show. Dee-lightful! Unfortunately, podcast-to-iPod sync settings are still one for all and all for one, but this is a step in the right direction.

Update: Comments below (and a visit to the Wayback Machine) have confirmed that the territorial clause in the iTunes store TOS is not a new addition with v8, but has in fact been in place for quite some time. It's interesting that it only came up as a topic of discussion now -- perhaps because everyone was forced to reaccept the TOS with the new version, and read it a bit more carefully? It's also looking like the clause was displayed front and center on the new TOS acceptance screen; this degree of prominence seems to be new, and probably attracted attention to the pre-existing restriction. In any case, our apologies for the error.

Speaking of minor changes that might have major implications, a number of readers have expressed concern about something that Robert originally pointed out in his rundown of iTunes 8: that the iTunes store terms of service (long a source of controversy in Europe) now include have long included a clause restricting use to the geographic area where the user's account is established. In the US the rule reads:

10. Territory. The Service is available only in the United States. You agree not to use or attempt to use the Service from outside of the available territory, and that Apple may use technologies to verify your compliance.

There are several classes of users who might run afoul of this restriction: travelers who shop in their home stores while venturing abroad, for example, would technically be in violation... but our suspicion is that these casual, intermittent border-busters are not what Rule 10 is about. Instead, any enforcement of this restriction is likely to be aimed at users who live in one country and establish an iTunes store account in another -- allowing them to buy TV shows or movies that may not be available yet (or ever) in their localities.

Certainly the content providers who sell their wares through iTunes may choose not to sell their programs to a particular region at a particular time; that's their prerogative. It seems somewhat myopic, however, to think that enforcing restrictions by geography in the iTunes store will have any effect other than to drive revenue and customers from the quasi-legal market firmly into the rip-and-download underground.

Thanks to Eric & Mark

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