Q: I recently purchased and downloaded music from the iTunes Music Store using my desktop computer, later copying these files to iTunes on my laptop. Now, however, I can’t download the music files from my laptop to my iPod because iTunes says they can only be played on the computer it was downloaded to. Since I paid for the music, why would this be the case and can I correct the problem?
A: Good news – everything you want to do with your purchased music is completely possible under Apple’s digital rights management rules. In fact, you’re 99% of the way to making it work.
Music purchased from the iTunes Music Store is able to be copied to and played on up to 5 computers, each of which is allowed to serve an unlimited number of iPods. The complication you’ve run into is that before any of these computers is added to the list of 5 “authorized” computers, the music must be explicitly authorized for use on that machine. It sounds as if you’ve transferred the music to the laptop, and immediately attempted to synchronize it to an iPod, without any intermediate step.
To authorize the laptop to play music from your iTunes Music Store account, simply open iTunes and begin playing any single song that belongs to your iTunes Music Store account. An authorization box will appear, prompting you for the password to your account. After you’ve entered the proper password and clicked OK, your laptop’s copy of iTunes—and any iPod connected to it—will be fully authorized to play and synchronize your songs.