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DVD Jon's DoubleTwist Unlocks the iPod 377

Posted by kdawson
from the making-good-on-steve's-promise dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "On the 5-year anniversary of the iPod, Fortune Magazine has an article called Unlocking the iPod about Jon Lech Johansen's new venture. Slashdot briefly covered DoubleTwist earlier this month, and those of you who complained that he was not enabling iPod competitors to play FairPlay files will be happy to learn that according to the Fortune article he will also be going after the hardware market." From the article: "As [Johansen] and Farantzos explain DoubleTwist in a conference room they share with several other companies, he points to a sheet of printer paper tacked on the wall that has a typed quote Jobs gave the Wall Street Journal in 2002: 'If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own.' As Johansen sees it, Jobs didn't follow through on this promise, so it's up to him to fix the system... Johansen has written [two] programs...: one that would let other companies sell copy-protected songs that play on the iPod, and another that would let other devices play iTunes songs."
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DVD Jon's DoubleTwist Unlocks the iPod

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  • DMCA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by justinbach (1002761) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:06PM (#16550958) Homepage
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this constitute a blatant violation via reverse-engineering of the Fairplay DRM? I'm not saying I disagree with his actions, I'm just asking the question...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Cemu (968469)
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the limiting of consumers' ability to listen, in private, to what they've legally acquired on whatever device they choose a violiation of the copyright act?
      • Re:DMCA (Score:4, Informative)

        by truthsearch (249536) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:17PM (#16551122) Homepage Journal
        Not the most recent copyright act [wikipedia.org].
        • Re:DMCA (Score:4, Insightful)

          by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Monday October 23, 2006 @07:45PM (#16554470) Homepage
          Not the most recent copyright act.

          No need for the word recent in there. It's not been a violation of any version of the copyright act. Fair use does NOT mean you have a RIGHT to do things like copy to other media or devices. Rather, it means that doing so does not violate copyright. The copyright holder has always been free to try to stop you by other means (contracts, technological means, etc).

      • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Informative)

        by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:40PM (#16551508)
        In short, no. In long, I wish Slashdotters would actually read the laws that they assume 'protects' them before commenting on them. Sheesh, Im not even American and I bet I know more about American Copyright Law than most American Slashdotters, purely because I read it before discussing it. Hint - Fair Use is not as wide ranging as some on this site seem to believe, even leaving the DMCA out of the equation for simplicities sake.
      • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kinglink (195330) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:47PM (#16551630)
        define legally acquired. No really do it. Do you mean buying it on a CD and using it on something you created yourself. Your fine.

        However realize when you buy an Ipod, you're agreeing to use it the way Apple says you can. That means no changing it so it suddenly plays videos if it didn't before. You can, they likely won't hurt you, but the device itself has an agreement somewhere built into it.

        On the other hand do you mean the music you download from Itunes? Read the licensing agreements and other agreements regarding music you buy from it. I don't own either thing (Itunes song or an Ipod) But I'm sure both limits the way you're allowed to use the item.

        To my knowledge the Itunes song is licensed to you, for your use with itunes and Ipods. You arn't buying the song, you're buying a license to use it how they decide you can use it. Similar to Microsoft Windows (you might own the software and the CD key, neither really doesn't cost much, but the license to use Microsoft windows is what costs 100+ dollars, which is why your university might sell you it for 5 bucks. Because they sell you parts, but after you leave the school you lose the license. Again will they do anything? Probably not.)

        As someone else said, if we talked ethically and morally we could argue this, but this is part of a licensing agreement you agree to when you create your accounts or make your purchases.
        • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Interesting)

          by klaun (236494) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:28PM (#16552262)
          However realize when you buy an Ipod, you're agreeing to use it the way Apple says you can. That means no changing it so it suddenly plays videos if it didn't before. You can, they likely won't hurt you, but the device itself has an agreement somewhere built into it.

          I do not concede this point at all. I'm definitely not agreeing to anything when I buy an iPod. Now, I know some folks (and courts) want to say that opening an iPod package or using an iPod signifies my consent to some onerous licensing agreement... but I feel (hope?) that eventually sanity and rationality will win out on the whole idea that vendors/manufacturers can modify the implied agreement (hallowed for, literally, millenia) that is embodied in the sale of a good, after the fact.

          If I pay for something and someone gives it to me, I'm free to do with it whatever I please. Why does a manufacturer by virtue of manufacturing something have a right to modify that? Suppose that a manufacturer used a third-party to put items in packaging. Would that third party now have the right to incorporate a shrink wrap license that was binding into the packaging? If not, why not? Generally, their is at least one reseller in between myself and the manufacturer. They are generally not a party to the shrink wrap license. So when I paid the reseller for the iPod, what was I buying from them? If I'm buying a "right to use" (as licensed) from Apple, why did I pay a third party who is not a party to the license? Why didn't I have to pay Apple? If opening a package is significant of intent to enter into a contract (of which you were unaware prior to opening the package), what else might be? Walking into a room? Watching a television program? I hope that the miriad contradicitions embodied by this whole power grab will eventually cause it to fall under its own weight.

          • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ronanbear (924575) on Monday October 23, 2006 @05:16PM (#16552940)
            The nano doesn't even include iTunes anymore. To make smaller packaging they don't include a CD. There isn't a EULA until you download software from the internet. There's nothing to stop you installing Linux on the iPod and using it with whatever player you want.

            Breaking fairplay on downloaded songs is a different matter but installing software to allow DVD Jon's DRM of choice isn't a problem as long as you don't weren't that attached to your warrenty or being able to get update the firmware on the iPod.

        • What the fuck? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kaseijin (766041)

          However realize when you buy an Ipod, you're agreeing to use it the way Apple says you can. That means no changing it so it suddenly plays videos if it didn't before. You can, they likely won't hurt you, but the device itself has an agreement somewhere built into it.

          I didn't and it doesn't. Where do people get these ideas?

          To my knowledge the Itunes song is licensed to you, for your use with itunes and Ipods. You arn't buying the song, you're buying a license to use it how they decide you can use it.

          The tra

        • Re:DMCA (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Firehed (942385) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:38PM (#16552380) Homepage
          There aren't terms governing what you can and can't do with your iPod, only the software that enables you to use it. The most they can do is say that your warrantee will be void if you use it in a way that wasn't intended. Apple can't tell me whose music I can or can't use any more than Sunbeam can tell me what brands of bread I put in the toaster I bought from them.
        • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Insightful)

          by popo (107611) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:42PM (#16552444) Homepage
          "However realize when you buy an Ipod, you're agreeing to use it the way Apple says you can. "

          You're talking about the EULA. The case is far from closed as to whether EULA's always
          constitute legal and enforcable "agreements". Let's say I was given my iPOD as an opened
          gift? Let's say I bought it on eBay? Let's say I'm 14 and I bought my iPOD and didn't
          understand the EULA (which, even if I did understand it, it wouldn't mean diddly-squat because minors
          can't agree to legally binding contracts). Hell, let's say I'm not particularly skilled with
          the mouse and I pressed the wrong button?

          And lets talk about due legal process for a second: What is legal due diligence when entering
          into any binding agreement? Well, you show that contract to your lawyer of course. Now consider that
          I've supposedly "agreed" to about 50 EULA's in 2006 so far...

          What would legal due diligence set me back if I were to *responsibly* enter all of these
          agreements? Let's say for the sake of argument its around $1500 per "contract". So
          I'd be looking at around $75k in legal bills (so far) this year, were
          I to have entered each of these contracts. Is this the expectation of the industry?

          Microsoft's EULA's state that upon disagreement with the EULA, products can be returned. And
          yet none of Microsoft's software retailers (to my knowlege) accept returns on software.
          So are these "agreements" being issued to consumers in good faith?

          But let's talk about something much more basic:

          THE EULA IS PRESENTED TO THE CUSTOMER AFTER THE PURCHASE HAS BEEN MADE.

          Tell me in what other industry a binding contractual agreement can be presented to a party
          after the purchase?

          My position: EULA's are rarely binding. And if you're afraid they are, just give all your
          software to your (under 18 year old) kid as a present.

          • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Informative)

            by bjpowers39 (768740) on Monday October 23, 2006 @10:33PM (#16555572)

            I have repeatedly read the speculation that EULA's are not enforceable so I decided to check case law on the subject. A quick search shows that they have been upheld (at least in FL). Specifically, Salco Distribs. LLC v. Icode, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9483 (D. Fla. 2006) enforced a forum selection clause in some business software made by a company in Virginia. In order to do this, the federal court in FL had to find that the EULA was a binding contract. This is not exactly what is being discussed in this thread b/c the contract was between two businesses and the software company had really covered everything.

            On a more general level the court said "In Florida and the federal circuits, shrinkwrap and clickwrap agreements are valid and enforceable contracts." The court then cited several cases to make the point, with a major one being ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg, 86 F.3d 1447 (7th Cir. 1996). This one dealt with academic software being used in a commercial setting. The terms restricting use to academia was included in the EULA printed on the shrinkwrap, and is much closer to purchasing the ipod and using the itunes software. In that case, the court determined that the EULA was a binding contract.

            I could do more research to figure this out, however, I have a bunch of homework to do as well. Given that IANAL (merely a law student) you can and should take anything I say with a large grain of salt, however, I would not just dismiss EULAs out of hand. If enforcement of the EULA would be very painful or prohibitive, you probably want to really think about what you are doing. I am not saying it is good law or that this is the way that things should be, but I would not count of a defense of unenforceability on EULA contracts.

        • Re:DMCA (Score:4, Insightful)

          by iamacat (583406) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:43PM (#16552460)
          However realize when you buy an Ipod...

          When I buy an iPod (or a song on iTunes for that matter), its mine and I can use it however I please. If instead I am entering a contract that grants me limited access to software/hardware:


          • According to the law, it must benefit and contain obligations for both parties. In this case, Apple must either guarantee that I will not be locked out of access to the songs or provide a refund.
            • It must be signed by both parties at the inception
              • I will not pay sales tax.
                Stores can not advertise "sale" of an iPod or have a "buy" button next to a song.

        • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Informative)

          by tkrotchko (124118) * on Monday October 23, 2006 @05:24PM (#16553034) Homepage
          "However realize when you buy an Ipod, you're agreeing to use it the way Apple says you can."

          No you're not.

          I just bought a 30G video iPod from Apple, and I didn't agree to that when I bought it. Nor was there anything in the packaging, and interestingly, I didn't have to agree to anything when I turned it on (no EULA was present).

          Further, people buying a used iPod didn't agree to anything like that either.

          So I think this statement is false.
    • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:19PM (#16551160) Homepage
      Thankfully he's not from the United States so it doesn't apply to him or anyone outside of US borders.
      • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by strider44 (650833) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:30PM (#16551322)
        He's currently living in the US though (in San Francisco, according to Wikipedia), so it could very quickly apply to him.
      • He's now living/working in the US.
      • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:32PM (#16551374) Journal
        Umm.. but he's living in California and that's where his new startup company is incorporated.

        Here's what the previous /. linked article said about his whereabouts:
        Twenty-two-year-old Johansen moved to San Francisco to work with Monique Farantzos, who had contacted him after reading a Wall Street Journal profile of him last fall. The two now live in the Mission District and devote their time to DoubleTwist Ventures, which is Johansen's first major attempt at commercializing his hacking. They haven't raised any outside money because they have already found at least one (undisclosed) paying customer.


        What I'm more interested in is how he plans to provide the backend authentication scheme that lets you authenticate and deauthenticate certain computers from your DVDJohn-iTunes account. There's a lot of 'other' stuff going on beyond just converting files to FairPlay.
        • Re:DMCA (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MarkLewis (593646) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:00PM (#16551828)
          None of the iTunes account authentication stuff applies as long as you're not using iTunes, which you wouldn't be if you used these new tools. According to the article, these tools operate directly on music files, they don't interact with iTunes at all.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by diamondsw (685967)
        But it would apply to companies wanting to use it within US borders, wouldn't it? Given the multinational reach of companies these days, I see this as a major stumbling block. Also, considering the amount of reciprocity the US has with other economic trading partners, I would expect this to largely quash it in many other countries as well. If too much of a market is lost due to such legal ramifications, it still won't be realisticly useful.

        No, I don't agree with the law. But I'm seeing if this can feasibly
    • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Funny)

      by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:23PM (#16551230) Homepage
      I think it would be funny if his inventions couldn't be sold in the US, but could be sold everywhere else. Maybe Kim Jong II would wear one, smug in his knowledge that the device is illegal in the US.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tranceyboy (1016910)
      there is legal room when you aim is to establish interoperability, the illegal comes when it's jsut meant to curcumvent, ie illegal uses.
    • Re:DMCA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by spiritraveller (641174) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:20PM (#16552138)
      My understanding of the DMCA is that it outlaws reverse engineering DRM ***with the purpose of violating copyright***, but it does not outlaw reverse engineering for purpoes of interoperability.

      What DVD Jon is doing is actually helping content owners "protect" their content on Apple's devices. Previously, if a company wanted to sell music for the iPod outside of the iTunes Music Store, they could not sell it with DRM. They could only sell it as MP3s, or perhaps as non-DRMed AAC files.

      His actions could possibly violate a patent (if Apple, in fact, has a patent on its DRM system), but it doesn't violate copyright, so I don't believe it violates the DMCA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Knuckles (8964)
      doesn't this constitute a blatant violation via reverse-engineering of the Fairplay DRM?

      I'm certainly not a lawyer, and I quite likely misunderstand something here, but page 5 of the DMCA [copyright.gov] contains this:

      2. Reverse engineering (section 1201(f)). This exception permits
      circumvention, and the development of technological means for such
      circumvention, by a person who has lawfully obtained a right to use a
      copy of a computer program for the sole purpo

  • by Channard (693317) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:06PM (#16550962) Journal
    .. at least, it is for me. I bought some music from iTunes a while ago, when my iPod was still working, and - oh the irony - lost it when I switched over to a Mac Mini. So what did I do? I tried to download the music in question, since I'd paid for it, right? Apparently not - once you've downloaded music on iTunes, you don't get to download it again. What a waste of money.
    • by geoffspear (692508) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:11PM (#16551024) Homepage
      And you didn't back up your purchased music files because...?
      • by Senzei (791599) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:19PM (#16551148)
        And you didn't back up your purchased music files because...?
        ...he didn't expect to need to? Considering you have to authorize a computer to play files to begin with why should there be any limits on the number of times you can download a file?
        • by MBCook (132727)

          No one backs up. I learned that lesson by losing a HD (with tons of music on it, most all from CDs so it only cost me time). But how is his situation any different than if he ripped the music then the CDs got trashed (thrown out, broken, scratched beyond repair, etc)?

          Apple may be nice, but if you pay to download something you're not very smart if you don't keep it backed up. I understand not backing up random e-mails and letters and photos, but if you pay for something you should safeguard it.

    • by jb.hl.com (782137) <joe AT joe-baldwin DOT net> on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:11PM (#16551026) Homepage Journal
      If you email Apple they'll let you download all your music again through iTunes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sharkus (677553)
      Not strictly true. iTunes 7 willallow you to transfer iTMS songs on your iPod to another computer, have a look here: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=iTune sMac/7.0/en/2586x.html [apple.com] I'm also sure that it is possible to get Apple to let you download your purchased tracks again. I think you're limited to doing it once a year or some other very infrequent period. I'm trying to find the support doc that details this, as I have read it in the past.
    • by berj (754323) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:14PM (#16551088)
      Think again... apparently you get a one-time get out of jail free card.

      http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2006/09/a pple_gave_me_b.html [typepad.com]
      http://digg.com/apple/Itunes_Lets_People_Re-Downlo ad_all_Your_Music_Once_ [digg.com]

      A call/e-mail to apple's tech support may be in order for you.

      Note that I've not verified this but I'll take Wil's word on it. In any case it's worth a try.
      • I had to send an email to iTMS customer support once when it b0rked a download.

        Back in the iTunes 4 days (right after the iTMS showed up on the scene), you would download the song, and when it was done downloading, it would notify the remote-side (the iTMS) that the file was received, then it would generate the DRM wrapper (which required further calls to iTMS). Once, after it had already downloaded the track but had not yet generated the DRM, it timed out when connecting to the iTMS and dropped the file in
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Y-Crate (540566)

      .. at least, it is for me. I bought some music from iTunes a while ago, when my iPod was still working, and - oh the irony - lost it when I switched over to a Mac Mini. So what did I do? I tried to download the music in question, since I'd paid for it, right? Apparently not - once you've downloaded music on iTunes, you don't get to download it again. What a waste of money.

      This is your fault for not reading the terms of service, which are quite clear that you are paying for the rights to the song and the ba

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Um. I did the same thing, switched to an intel mac mini. itunes let me redownload the songs I'd paid for without any questions.
  • As you can see [wikipedia.org], Dvd Jon has done a lot of things. The biggest question I have is why are so many companies affraid of developing portable software? I mean this guy write 300 lines of code enabling Linux machines (via VLC) to what some types of media. Now why don't more companies want this freedom? My comment is to ask the EFF.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      It's because he wrote 300 lines of code. When he writes 300,000 lines of code that's portable, then you can come back and use him as an example.
  • niave (Score:3, Insightful)

    by llZENll (545605) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:11PM (#16551032)
    Basing your lifes work and new company on an obscure quote from 4 years ago seems a bit niave. If we held all companies responsible for promises from their CEOs no company would ever stand up to it.

    If Apple wants to DRM their music that is their choice. If people want to buy DRM music that is their choice. No one is forcing you to buy iPods, iTunes, or CDs, if you don't like it, don't buy it. Just because it's socially acceptable to hack DRM doesn't mean its legal or right.
    • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:14PM (#16551084)
      Good thing we don't base our lives around things said in the Constitution in the 1700s, eh?
    • Re:niave (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gardyloo (512791) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:16PM (#16551108)
      If we held all companies responsible for promises from their CEOs no company would ever stand up to it.

          Agreed. And yet, imagine if there was a company which *did* keep promises. Those promises, over time, might actually MEAN something.
    • by Cadallin (863437)
      you can have the legal but I disagree on "Right" What is "Right" is often only tangentially related to what is socially acceptable or legal. It has only been illegal to own slaves in a large part of the US for 140 years. That doesn't mean it was right then, socially accepted or no. Locking down our cultural heritage so that it may be lost in the immediate future may be legal and socially acceptable, but that doesn't make it right either. Libertarian free-market rantings have nothing to do with it. The
    • Hmmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CyberLord Seven (525173) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:22PM (#16551208)
      Just because it's corporately and governmentally acceptable to encumber devices with DRM may mean it's legal, but it doesn't mean it's right.

      After all, "WE THE PEOPLE" grant "creators" the temporary right to restrict others from copying their work. We in no way, shape, or form grant a permanent right to restrict others from copying works. So, what happens at the end of "the temporary right"? I mean, will iPods suddenly allow us unrestricted use of legally purchased files?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mei_mei_mei (890405)
      Hacking DRM may not be legal, but it is right.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``If we held all companies responsible for promises from their CEOs no company would ever stand up to it.''

      Well, then they would have a financial incentive to keep their promises. Wouldn't that be a Good Thing?
    • by vertinox (846076)
      If people want to buy DRM music that is their choice. No one is forcing you to buy iPods, iTunes, or CDs, if you don't like it, don't buy it.

      But they are violating the terms of the spirit of copyright laws of the constitution. Like others have said... Copyrights are tempoary and DRM circumvents this aspect of the law.
    • Re:niave (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pandrijeczko (588093) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:32PM (#16551366)
      Whilst I entirely agree with the core of what you are saying, the fact that DRM exists in any product you buy is deliberately obfuscated by clever advertising and marketing - for example, has any iPod advert ever mentioned that the music you buy to play on it has been restricted? No, instead you get silhouetted images of groups of people (at least in one advert I've seen) that kind of leads you to think the iPod is about "communities" of people whereas, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. MP3s aside, *YOU* buy iTunes songs for *YOUR* iPod for only *YOU* to listen to...

      Personally, as someone who buys every DVD and CD that I like, music downloads have no interest for me and, as an honest buyer, I find it objectionable that I potentially will have DRM enforced on me even though I do not copy (for anyone else) the media that I own. Therefore DRM is evil and anyone who does their best to crack it or break it is someone I consider a hero.

      However, aside from my personal opinions of DRM, there are far too many dumb people out there with far too much money to spend. Those same people buy things because they are "cool" or because lots of other people have them, without looking in greater depth about things like the erosion of their rights as a consumer. Because marketing has also hidden this important fact from them, what DVD Jon is doing helps to bring DRM into the public eye and, at least, goes some way to making sure that they have access to all the facts, good and bad, about DRM. That's why what he is doing is so important.

    • by chill (34294)
      Basing your lifes work and new company on an obscure quote from 4 years ago seems a bit niave.

      Or maybe he is just using it to show what a hypocrite Steve Jobs is? People talk about him like he is the Computing Savior or something to Bill Gates' Satan, but he is just really a different flavor of evil -- with better marketing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jmorris42 (1458) *
        > People talk about him like he is the Computing Savior or something to Bill Gates' Satan, but he is just
        > really a different flavor of evil -- with better marketing.

        Can I get a big ol AMEN! And DVD-Jon has found the weakest link to attack Steve's dreams of empire. Left unchecked, Steve is on course to pretty much own media distribution. But this new product will have one of two results;

        1. DT passes legal muster. iTunes is dead and Steve's odds are zero. Hint: Walmart is one of iPods major reta
  • The problem isn't that he's writing software that allows people to copy music to other devices they own. As has been said, that's allowed.

    The problem is that he's writing software that allows people to copy music to device they DON'T own. To send the files over the net. To burn copies and sell them on the street.

    If DVD Jon was smart, he'd write software that would unlock FairPlay, allow the user to copy it to another device, and then lock it down again (through FairPlay or whatever else). If the user wa
    • Brilliant! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:31PM (#16551358)

      If DVD Jon was smart, he'd write software that would unlock FairPlay, allow the user to copy it to another device, and then lock it down again

      And what of the copy to another device? How exactly do you dictate what happens to it?

      Look. Jon is simply giving people The Tools to do whatever they would wish to do with their purchases. If you do something illegal with the tools, that's your problem. Same could be said of owning a car. Or a gun. Or a freaking two by four for that matter.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SilentChris (452960)

        And what of the copy to another device? How exactly do you dictate what happens to it?

        As I mentioned, it would lock itself each time with whatever DRM happened to be on the device. He doesn't need to make it impossible to pirate -- just difficult enough that people will only copy files to devices they own. Same as Apple -- their rules are pretty open. You could always burn CDs from the iTunes store and recode to MP3. (And brother, don't tell me about lost quality. You got subpar quality when you bought

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vertinox (846076)
      If DVD Jon was smart, he'd write software that would unlock FairPlay, allow the user to copy it to another device, and then lock it down again (through FairPlay or whatever else).

      Pardon me, but what happens if the device you own doesn't support any DRM whatsoever?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``The problem isn't that he's writing software that allows people to copy music to other devices they own. As has been said, that's allowed.''

      Not if it involves "circumventing technical measures" that prevent you from doing that. At least, where I live, the law is very clear in that it's illegal to circumvent such technical measures, even for the purpose of doing things that are otherwise allowed.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I'll bite. from the article: To let other sites sell music that plays on the iPod, his program will "wrap" songs with code that functions much like FairPlay. "So we'll actually add copy protection," he says, whereas the DMCA prohibits removing it. Helping other devices play iTunes songs could be harder to justify legally, but he cites the DMCA clause that permits users, in some circumstances, to reverse-engineer programs to ensure "interoperability." It would appear, based mostly on having read TFA, that
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:19PM (#16551146) Journal
    {IANAL and other disclaimers here}
    The best thing about DVD Jon's work is that it proves, disturbingly and resoundingly, that the current *AA business model based on DRM is at best faulty, and at worst an attack on fair use and civil liberties. While that sounds a bit over the top, imagine a world where there were no DVD Jon's to show that the big corporations locks can be picked. Imagine a world where the emporer's new clothes were never laughed at?

    The point being that this only serves to help illuminate, in the minds of lawmakers, how feeble the current DRM schemes and laws really are, whether the work is ultimately found illegal or not.
    • That's a point a lot of people seem to be missing. Well said, BTW.

      It takes a foreigner to show us the trees in the forest.
      Too bad he isn't a US citizen- I would nominate him for the Prez!

      Go DVD Jon!
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:45PM (#16551582) Homepage Journal
      ``The best thing about DVD Jon's work is that it proves, disturbingly and resoundingly, that the current *AA business model based on DRM is at best faulty, and at worst an attack on fair use and civil liberties.''

      Or, alternatively, it proves that DRM alone isn't going to stop people from doing illegal things with content, and we need to crack down on tools made to circumvent the DRM to protect the *AA's interests.

      And since the government holds the interests of the corporations over civil rights, it's the latter interpretation that gets used, and we get the DMCA, which is then globally enforced, because the USA is currently King of the Hill.
  • Heroes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    There are still some heroes still in the world of technology.

    Unfortunately, "DVD Jon" has a big target painted on his back. As soon as the large international multimedia corporations use their political influence to normalize intellectual property laws on both sides of the pond, they'll come after him. This isn't about copy protection, per se. It's about creating and preserving monopolies. It's about making huge piles of money outside the constraints of competition.

    DMCA type laws are a perversion of the
  • Is it like the swirl?

  • Serves 'em right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ottffssent (18387) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:37PM (#16551472)
    I'm sure this makes me unpopular, but I'm going to say it anyway. Anyone who buys DRM'd music is either an idiot or ignorant, and it's a shame so few of them have learned their lesson yet. In this case, you're paying for a vague not-a-promise that you can probably listen to the music now and if you're really lucky you'll be able to listen in the future.

    If music really needed DRM to be a profitable business, I wouldn't still be able to buy CDs. So the only reason I can buy a CD and turn it into MP3s yet can't buy those MP3s to start with is because some jackass in a skyscraper either doesn't understand his own business or is trying really hard to pretend not to.

    That should get some discussion going.
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:42PM (#16551536) Homepage

    All of these lamentations about Apple cheating and *AA "suing its customers" — what is your problem? It is Apple's own device, and it is *AA's customers. If you don't like these companies, then stop using the darn things.

    The "Joe Sixpack" you pretend to be concerned about may be excused, but you — your real concern — may not. You — the /.-crowd — know full well, that the DVD you are buying can not be put online for everyone to donwload (whether it is, actually, stealing, or merely copyright violation is irrelevant). You knew, iTunes will limit your downloads and sharing abilities...

    So, why do you buy these things from these corporations and other entities you so dislike? Was life really so miserable before DVDs and portable digital-audio players? It was not. And now, despite all of the above-listed limitations, it is only better...

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:57PM (#16551778)

      All of these lamentations about Apple cheating and *AA "suing its customers" -- what is your problem? It is Apple's own device, and it is *AA's customers. If you don't like these companies, then stop using the darn things.

      Your commentary is all well and good, but it is not practical. The problems with DRM are problems with the law and problems with the industry. People act in their own interest. That might mean a person wants a particular song from a particular band so they endure DRM to get it. That might mean a band wants to be heard, so they pay money to give away their copyrights and accept DRM restricting their songs from being heard by future generations, in the hopes that the cartel that runs the industry will allow them to reach the mainstream audience.

      Sure, educated and enlightened people can boycott the mainstream, but that will not stop the problems DRM and an illegal cartel cause for society. Your argument is analogous to someone in prohibition era Chicago saying, "we all know the violence and corruption caused by booze smuggling organized crime is killing people, so why doesn't everyone just stop drinking?" People want to drink, and they want to listen to popular music and they want to get it instantly, online. Even if that means they download it from a file sharing network or they put up with DRM that prevents future generations from being able to hear the music they will. The solution is not to try to change society, but to change the laws so that they give society what it wants.

  • by eaddict (148006) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:54PM (#16551708)
    'If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own.'....
    'but the other devices you own will all be iPods.'

    Sort of the Henry Ford line of thinking:
    "You can have any color Model T you want ... as long as you want black."

  • by seanthenerd (678349) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:15PM (#16552074) Journal
    Sorry if this is offtopic.

    If I buy a CD, I can stick it in my computer and rip it into iTunes. That's legal, right?

    If I buy a DVD, why can't I do the same thing? Rip it into iTunes, put it on my iPod, import it into other programs and play with it, etc.

    Is there a fundamental difference between video content and audio content?! Why? Is it just that CDs were invented before DRM? That when CDs were standardized, the technology didn't exist to import and "get at" that audio content - technology that for the media companies "necessitated" DRM?

    So, back to the question: Is it legal to import CDs? (I hope so.) Is it legal to import DVD's a la DVD Jon's software? (I assume the media companies would say no.) Why?!

    In this brave new world of DRM, the rules are made by what The Companies technologically let you do, rather than what the laws actually decree. I am sure that once CDs go by the wayside, all content (audio, video, commercial software) will be DRM'd and authenticated to "make sure" that you cannot distribute it in any way once it gets to you - no matter what media is used to get it to you. I'm not looking forward to it.
    • by AeroIllini (726211) <aeroillini@@@gmail...com> on Monday October 23, 2006 @05:59PM (#16553400)
      If I buy a CD, I can stick it in my computer and rip it into iTunes. That's legal, right?

      If I buy a DVD, why can't I do the same thing? Rip it into iTunes, put it on my iPod, import it into other programs and play with it, etc.

      Here's the answer to your question:

      A Redbook standard compliant CD (with the little CDAudio logo) does not have encryption or other protection placed on the music. The raw 44.1 kHz stream is encoded on the disk for all the world to read. Making a non-infringing copy of this stream for yourself and manipulating it is legal under Fair Use (and to a certain extent, the Home Audio Recording Act of 1992).

      An IEEE standard compliant DVD encrypts the video content with a symmetric key system (CSS), and then hides the key on a non-writable section of the disc. Breaking this encryption violates patent and/or contract law. The interoperability clause of the DMCA, which DVD Jon uses as his basis for the legality of his system, allows you to break the CSS encryption on DVDs in order to play them on your Linux box. However, the patent on the CSS encryption system allows the DVD Copy Control Association to only license the technology to companies that pay a licensing fee; creating an implimentation of CSS without paying the licensing fee violates patent law, and creating an incomplete version of the spec (for example, ignoring the Do Not Fast Forward flag) violates the contract you signed when obtaining a license. The reverse engineering is legal, but the implementation of the reverse-engineered technology is illegal, under different laws. Unencrypted DVDs are legal to rip, for the same reasons it is legal to rip CDs.

      That's the way it is, and the reason why ripping a CD is legal and copying a DVD is not legal. The question of whether this is how things SHOULD be is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • #1 Download Audacity [sourceforge.net] or some other F/OSS audio program that allows you to capture and edit sounds from your sound card.

    #2 Buy MP3 Freeplay Songs from Apple iTunes for your iPod or to play on iTunes.

    #3 Open up Audacity, select your sound card output as the source, check the volume. Get the record button ready on a new audio file. Hit the record button in Audacity and hit the play button on iTunes, when the iTunes program is finished playing the song, stop the recording and cut out the silence between the song playing and "Export" to MP3 or OGG or whatever format you wish to export to. (Might need the LAME library to make a MP3)

    #4 You now have a MP3 or OGG file without any DRM, quality may vary. Play it on your Non-Freeplay, Linux, OS/2, BeOS, whatever system or music player.

    If the RIAA and Apple throws a hissy fit about this, reference the MPAA verses BetaMax case and the RIAA verses Casette recorders case, and see how TiVO brought about digital rights to make recordings of TV shows, movies, songs, etc as long as you paid for access to them first or got them off a free broadcast.

    Remember as long as you own the rights to listen to a song, you have a right to a backup. This method does not remove DRM, nor does it crack it, in fact it does not even modify the original SafePlay file, all it does is make a standard audio file recording of the audio file you have the rights to listen to anyway. The downside is that it takes a long while to convert your collection over that way, but the upside is that it is not costly to do so.
  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Monday October 23, 2006 @04:58PM (#16552696)
    'If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own.'

    Thing is, lost in the transcription is that Jobs was talking to two people. To clarify:

    "If you [the consumer] legally acquire music, you [the copyright holder] need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you [the consumer] own."

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