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Apple FairPlay "consumer control" technology prevents people from playing iTunes tracks, which cost a dollar per track, on players Apple doesn't like, which is just about everything -- except iPods, of course. Apple wouldn't deal with RealNetworks to allow music from the RealPlayer music store to be transferred to music players in general -- including iPods. So Real came up with Harmony Technology to allow people to buy Real tracks and play them on any player, whether Apple likes it or not.
First of all, you do not need imovie to strip the DRM off any itunes music store song you purchased - all you have to do is burn it to a CD and then if you decide to bring it back into the ipod, you have 6 formats to choose from (3 loss-less). This process should take you about 5 minutes and with the price of blank CD-R's (at least in the US without the opppressive tax in some countries), it's practiaclly free and you have a hard backup - it that really so bad?
SAme with loading EVERY REal song you have and any tracks you buy at any legal worldwide music service. If they sell you the right (not always the case), burn it to a CD and re-rip into the ipod - how locked is that? It's locked only in the sense if you're too lazy to unlock it ...
Or if you disagree with any form of legal downloading, just buy the damn CD and you circumvent all of that so called 'locked' - basically Apple has given you an EXTRA choice in bringing in music. If convenience is your over-riding factor, then the itunes music store is for you - is it perfect - no but what is perfect for EVERYBODY in the world. If one of the record labels made ALL digital music free tomorrow - someone would bitch it's not in OGG format.
You keep thinking the itunes music store and Apple AAC M4P is your ONLY choice - it's not!!!!!!!!!
You have literally dozens of choices - hell, you can use itunes the software with 800,000 previews, not own an ipod or even a Mac for FREE - what else do you want?
You are limited by your own imagination or your own need to complain about a minor aspect of the situation - as for REal, here's a company that has built a living on lcking away content - and providing a unlock on someone's else car - WTF?
How about a converter for REal/RAM/RM files to Mp3 to M4p? Where are you on that issue?
You are thinking ANALOG - we live in a DIGITAL world - you must think THROUGH the situation as opposed to just reacting to your first "out-dated" mode of thinking.