iTunes 7.0.0 TRICKERY?
Well, in order to send you the right artwork, they 'd need to have the ID3 tag info from your songs -- otherwise there's no way to know which image to send back. The only thing that makes me a little suspicious is that you need an iTunes account to do it. However, the reason for that could just be that Apple wants to use the feature to increase registration.
Ultimately, even if they were tracking files in this way, the fact that album art is missing wouldn't be enough to prove that you stole the files. You could have ripped them all from CD, for instance.
Thanks for pointing this out, though,
So, I downloaded the latest version of iTunes, 7.0.0 and see there is a change of how to view your library. It now plays with a area up top like a juke box, where you can view the album art work. So you start thinking, shat, I don't have most of my music artwork, this will be great...but then when you install the software, you are greeted with this:
Download Album Artwork:
iTunes can automatically download album artwork when you add songs to your library. iTunes can also download album artwork for songs in your library that don't already have artwork. You need a iTunes store account to utilize this.
GREAT. A very easy way to get all the missing album artwork you have. BUT, then you see...
Information about songs with missing artwork will be sent to Apple. Apple does not keep any information related to the contents if your music library.
OH SHAT. I can't guarantee it, but I have heard that this is a new way Apple will fight file sharing and report the music you don't own. They can now track you through your iTunes account and you might be getting in trouble.
I am trying to find out if this is fact or not but buyer beware. Some have suggested that the information going back to Apple is how much album art Apple actually has vs needs to still find.
For now, I am not going to use that feature until I know for sure.