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iTunes, self-destructing message apps and killer dogs

News stories that caught our attention

Who inherits your iTunes library?

Many of us will accumulate vast libraries of digital books and music over the course of our lifetimes. But when we die, our collections of words and music may expire with us.

Someone who owned 10,000 hardcover books and the same number of vinyl records could bequeath them to descendants, but legal experts say passing on iTunes and Kindle libraries would be much more complicated.

And one’s heirs stand to lose huge sums of money. “I find it hard to imagine a situation where a family would be OK with losing a collection of 10,000 books and songs,” says Evan Carroll, co-author of “Your Digital Afterlife.” “Legally dividing one account among several heirs would also be extremely difficult.”

Part of the problem is that with digital content, one doesn’t have the same rights as with print books and CDs. Customers own a license to use the digital files — but they don’t actually own them.

Apple and Amazon.com grant “nontransferable” rights to use content, so if you buy the complete works of the Beatles on iTunes, you cannot give the “White Album” to your son and “Abbey Road” to your daughter.

According to Amazon’s terms of use, “You do not acquire any ownership rights in the software or music content.” Apple limits the use of digital files to Apple devices used by the account holder.

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Telegram: the self-destructing message app 'used to sidestep public record laws'

San Francisco lawmakers are reportedly using Telegram, a self-destructing message app, as a way to avoid public record disclosure laws as governments struggle with tech companies over privacy issues.

California’s Public Record Act says that text messages and emails by city officials are considered public record if they are related to business.

An unnamed San Francisco government member has told tech site The Information that they were encouraged to use the Telegram app by colleagues in City Hall to bypass public record laws.

Several San Francisco supervisors are reportedly using the app.

Telegram has a “secret chat” feature where messages are deleted after a selected period of time of being read on both the recipient and the sender devices. They are not stored on cloud servers or local cache, which makes it a better tool if users want their information to stay private.

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Owners of killer dogs face 14 years’ jail

Owners of dogs that kill will face harsher sentences if the animals have been deliberately trained to be aggressive, under new guidelines for judges.

Those in charge of a dangerously out-of-control dog that causes a death will face between six and 14 years in prison if they are deemed to have “high culpability”. This could apply if the dog is used as a weapon or is a banned breed.

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