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Old 07-26-2004, 06:21 AM   #1
Colin Dunstan
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RealNetworks cracks iPod's DRM!

After having failed to persuade Apple to license the iTunes Music Store DRM system, Real Networks has decided to simply reverse engineer the proprietary copy protection. Real will this week issue a beta release of Harmony, a Rosetta Stone for DRM, that promises to allow users to convert one copy-protection mechanism to another.

You can read the full press release here.

Apple has not yet commented on Harmony, and is probably waiting to see exactly what the software can do before responding.
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Old 08-02-2004, 09:09 AM   #2
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Just a little followup:

LastThursday Apple released a statement which clearly shows how much the two love each other:
Quote:
We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions under the DMCA and other laws.
RealNetworks on the other hand dismissed Apple's legal posturing and cited what it deemed to be "clear precedent" for its activities, pointing to Compaq's first IBM compatible PC as an equivalent example. It goes on:
Quote:
Apple has suggested that new laws such as the DMCA (Digital Millenium copyright Act) are relevant to this dispute. In fact, the DMCA is not designed to prevent the creation of new methods of locking content and explicitly allows the creation of interoperable software.
I am sure there'll be a lot of more fun to come...
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Old 08-02-2004, 01:04 PM   #3
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Actually, after reading the releases on CNET and Yahoo News, REAL is claiming that they did NOT reverse engineer the IPod DRMs.

That said. I personally don't know what else you'd call it when you aren't given a license and technical specifications to program to. However, there are numerous examples in legal history (at least in America) where "cloning" a technology for compatibility purposes was deemed legally permitted.

Further, just as a small case example, didn't Apple learn from the FIRST time in this position? I mean, COME ON! If they won't learn from their OWN examples, then they REALLY should learn from other companies that went under because they fubar'd the issue. For example, BetaMax vs VHS. BetaMax was superior quality, but they too failed to license their technology. VHS did not fail that lesson. Look who won.

/Shrug/ Apple is running out of room for surviving their mistakes. I wonder how it will "fall out" now.
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Old 08-02-2004, 01:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morpheus
I am sure there'll be a lot of more fun to come...
I agree. It will be very interesting because it affects the DCMA, which is due for some updates and changes anyway.

Think about it, if you can convert copyrighted and protected works into other formats and protection schemes, wouldn't that mean that you could convert them into a protection scheme that is easily circumvented? I'm not a fan of DRM and especially the way the motion picture and recording industry handles things, but I have to think that some limits are necessary.

On the other hand, maybe this sort of thing will help us find a fair balance that allows both consumer freedoms and reasonable corporate profits.

No, I'm not against capitalism or profits, but I am against unfair protectionism by law. After all, the copyright laws are originated not to serve corporations by increasing profits, but to serve the public by making sure there is enough profit to reward and foster creativity. I think we've gone way past that point, and I bet we'd see a lot of artistic works even if the big money wasn't there. Now we are to the point that Microsoft can copyright a double click!!! Don't try to convince me that kind of thing is helping us see more creativity and range of products for the public!
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Old 08-17-2004, 06:55 AM   #5
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Today RealNetworks has announced a music sale on-line. For a limited time only - to celebrates the Freedom of Choice campaign - every song in the RealPlayer Music Store, from a-ha to ZZ Top, costs just US$0.49, with most albums available for US$4.99.

When will Apple start to (legally) fight back?
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Old 08-17-2004, 12:17 PM   #6
Alexander Turcic
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I just read the relevant article in the NYT. Interestingly, Real acknowledged that they would actually lose money on each music piece sold. I guess it is all part of the plan of a big marketing campaign.
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