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Real Networks Hacks iPod; .rm & Real Store for iPod

Hemos posted about 10 years ago | from the real-competition dept.

Music 456

alphakappa writes "According to Cnet, Real Networks is expected to announce on Monday that it has found a way to make its songs play on the iPod. Now songs bought from the RealPlayer Music Store can be played on the iPod. Earlier Real had made it possible for songs bought from iTunes to be played on RealPlayer by transparently starting the iTunes authentication in the background. However since Apple has not licensed the technology to make file formats playable on the iPod, the latest Real initiative could be construed as reverse engineering. How would this fare under the DMCA? Or is it just for the tiny ones?"

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456 comments

LAME (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800012)

FUCK YOU LINUX HIPPIES

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Not Exactly Reverse Engineering? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800015)

It's highly unlikely that this is 'true' reverse engineering. If I recall correctly isn't that when there are two groups, one group documents and the other codes? In this case I'd very much expect the same people who programmed also did the infomration gathering and legally that's always been a bit grey.

Re:Not Exactly Reverse Engineering? (5, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | about 10 years ago | (#9800126)

That's a cleanroom implementation, and is usually used when you want to copy the functionality of someone's work and not run afoul of copyright laws.

The key in the cleanroom approach is that you already know how the copyrighted work... works. That would be after any reverse engineering, or if you happened to somehow have copyrighted sourcecode or schematics, etc.

Possibly legal, not Exactly Reverse Engineering? (3, Insightful)

minginqunt (225413) | about 10 years ago | (#9800221)

Bear with me, as this is probably all IANAL cack, but, if Apple don't eventually sue Real, or do and lose, this means that it will be a legal confirmation that "converting" DRM information from one format to another is not circumvention, and thus legal.

In which case, if the community were to create an open, free software DRM spec, it would then be possible to create free software that could legally, and without violating DMCA/EUCD smunge .m4ps between FairPlay and, I dunno, let's call it OpenPlay.

So, provided the player code is distributed in a form which respects the DRM information therein, it would also not be a violation of DMCA/EUCD.

Thus we would have a legal FLOSS .m3p player. And possibly Windows Media as well.

Of course, my reasoning is probably rubbish, based on assumptions and caveats and legal cases that haven't yet happened.

It was just an idea.

FP? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800016)

Well someone's gotta do it!

Re:FP? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800199)

Obviously, not you.

quite nice (1)

mihal (753927) | about 10 years ago | (#9800017)

To my mind, the whole DCMA is complete bullshit. and the only way to prove it is to world-wide violate it.

Makes you think... (4, Insightful)

another_henry (570767) | about 10 years ago | (#9800018)

This really shows up how stupid the DMCA and similar laws are. What possible reason could there be why Real shouldn't be allowed to do this?

If they can figure out how to play their format on the iPod, I say more power to them.

What possible reason...? (5, Insightful)

bani (467531) | about 10 years ago | (#9800031)

...because apple doesn't want them to?

After all, the DMCA wasn't designed to protect copyrights -- it was designed to prevent competition.

Re:What possible reason...? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800071)

I'll get flamed for that but I thought they were the most customer-oriented company in the world, which means they could provide SDKs for anyone to download everything on their iPods. Maybe next, they'll sue everyone trying to write their own apps for the iPod?

Re:What possible reason...? (2, Insightful)

rice_web (604109) | about 10 years ago | (#9800157)

In this case, Real would be in violation of the software license on the iPod, and would not be infringing on the DMCA. I personally hate the sheer disgust associated with the DMCA, because it has its merits, even if it has a few shortcomings. The fact that ISP's can avoid complicity with just a few steps in crimes that are associated with the internet is awesome. The fact that it extends copyright law into areas previously viewed as fair use is a bit of a bummer, but that's what elections are for.

NOTE: Both the Clinton and Bush administrations have signed copyright laws into effect. Even the DMCA was signed under Clinton's presidency. So you'll have to vote Green or some other left-left-wing party if you want to revoke some of these laws.

Re:What possible reason...? (2, Informative)

Pofy (471469) | about 10 years ago | (#9800268)

>In this case, Real would be in violation of the
>software license on the iPod,

WHat makes you think that Real have aquired a license (I think the article said they had not) and then broken/violated it? If they do NOT have it or have agreed to it, they can't possible violate it.

Re:What possible reason...? (3, Informative)

The Only Druid (587299) | about 10 years ago | (#9800292)

I can guarantee you, without question, that they purchased at least one iPod over at Real, since they had to test write their software for it (requiring testing, etc.). Everyone using an iPod agreed to the software agreement involved in its use. Real is fucking screwed here, and I cannot believe they did something this dumb.

There are some companies you can piss off, and Apple isn't really one of them here.

Re:What possible reason...? (1)

Pofy (471469) | about 10 years ago | (#9800399)

Perhaps they did, but then they simply decided to disagree with the license and have it rewoked or something. Then they would no longer have agreed to it either.

Besides, forgive me for not knowing so well, but isn't the iPod a physical music player? If you go to a store to buy it, do you really have to agree to a license to buy it? Just a question.

Sure its fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800019)

Naturally its perfectly fare. The DMCA as stated in the grandparent only applies to individuals or small firms who can't afford to retain mass amounts of lawyers.

nothing to see here (5, Interesting)

geighaus (670864) | about 10 years ago | (#9800022)

This probably involves re-encoding songs to AAC, as well as some jumbo-mumbo with DRM. I really doubt they managed to hack iPod per se, just marketing smoke and mirrors for obvious practices.

Re:nothing to see here (1)

rice_web (604109) | about 10 years ago | (#9800110)

Yes, they are using AAC, but they are somehow binding their copy-protection to the songs. Does anyone have any clue as to their method? The way that they are going about this will likely make or break the legality of the entire issue. The license on the iPod is rather tough.

Sounds like (-1, Flamebait)

papasui (567265) | about 10 years ago | (#9800026)

they are desperate.

Re:Sounds like (2)

discord5 (798235) | about 10 years ago | (#9800216)

they are desperate.

Maybe they are, but for the most part I've been ignoring Real Networks since 1999. Their players suck at stability, and for linux they are broken at best. If someone hands me over a .rm-file (or any of its variants) I usually end up saying "You've got to be kidding me, right?".

It's not so much the fact that I don't like the company, it's the fact that I dislike the way their software behaved at the time. It was constantly crashing, refused to play most of it's own files referring only to some cryptic error number nobody even bothered looking up. It was back to mpeg back then, and I didn't regret it really.

At the moment, I don't know how their software behaves, but from what I've heard things haven't changed that much. So I will happily lead an .rm-less existance, enjoying my xvid, divx and mpeg2.

Re:Sounds like (1)

Poeloq (704196) | about 10 years ago | (#9800375)

The only thing .rm is good for is previewing music @ amazon.com ! I also hate their software and anyway: you have to find their free-of-charge player first...

Apple Stick it to them (2, Insightful)

pvt_medic (715692) | about 10 years ago | (#9800028)

I hope that apple will stop this one in its tracks. The big dogs need to play by the rules just like how the RIAA forces all the little people to. I personally think that Real just madea big mistake and that this will have big fallout for them.

Re:Apple Stick it to them (0)

dfghjk (711126) | about 10 years ago | (#9800093)

So music sold by someone other than Apple playing on the iPod is bad for the customer? Seems like an effort to break the vendor lockin to iTMS to me (which everyone should applaud). If iTMS is so great then it should easily compete with Real on its own merits.

Re:Apple Stick it to them (4, Insightful)

The Only Druid (587299) | about 10 years ago | (#9800306)

Do you understand that the iPod is not vendor locked? Its just that the iTMS is product-locked to the iPod. You can put MP3s, WAVs, AACs from any source on the ipod so long as they're not DRM'd in a way besides FairPlay. So all those stores have to do [to be compatible with the iPod] is not insist on some DRM (which is exactly what the whole slashdot community has been demanding of Apple anyway...).

Re:Apple Stick it to them (1)

azaris (699901) | about 10 years ago | (#9800343)

Do you understand that the iPod is not vendor locked? Its just that the iTMS is product-locked to the iPod.

Is product lock-in somehow different from vendor lock-in? Are there any other iPod vendors then Apple then?

You can put MP3s, WAVs, AACs from any source on the ipod so long as they're not DRM'd in a way besides FairPlay.

The Apple apologists are so predictable it's actually funny as hell. So the iPod supports all formats, as long as it's the Apple format? Which online music store sells tunes that have no DRM or use FairPlay besides iTunes?

Re:Apple Stick it to them (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800381)

I think you kinda mist the point of the parent...

I think, what the poster was trying to say, was that Real, if they really wanted some of the iPod market, could simply sell non-DRM'ed tunes.

Which really would be a victory for the consumer

Much better is if... (4, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | about 10 years ago | (#9800151)

...the rules get changed.

I don't want Real to get hurt -- that serves no purpose. I just want the DMCA weakened or repealed. If damage done to Real helps to bring that about, well and good! -- but otherwise, it's quite unkind to wish for another to be harmed.

As far as I'm concerned, far from a big mistake, Real did the right thing; think of it as civil disobediance on a corporate scale. Let's just hope some good comes of it.

Mr. Glaser... (5, Funny)

chillmost (648301) | about 10 years ago | (#9800029)

I'd like to introduce you to Apple's legal team. Please assume the position.

See BBC (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800040)

See the BBC article on this [bbc.co.uk]

The program mimics Apple's copy protection software, so Real says it has not infringed Apple's intellectual property rights by developing it.

Sounds like copyright circumvention to me. Maybe Real will get their comeuppance for their old spyware years after all.

Possibility? (1)

swordboy (472941) | about 10 years ago | (#9800041)

What if Real didn't reverse engineer the iPod but, rather, simply came up with a file format that is identical to Apple's own? This would be perfectly legal as long as Real licensed things properly (unlikely that Apple would allow this, however).

Re:Possibility? (4, Informative)

ChrisDolan (24101) | about 10 years ago | (#9800159)

The speculation in the parent post is woefully uninformed. Apple does not own the file format. AAC is a consortium-built, industry-standard audio format. Apple does not even own the DRM. It is licensed from FairPlay. See Apple's AAC [apple.com] page to get a clue.

Re:Possibility? (1)

millahtime (710421) | about 10 years ago | (#9800177)

iPod plays ACC encoded files. ACC is not apples format. Other people could technically encoded in ACC if the licensed that. The ACC licensing I believe is handled by a devision of Dolby.

The DMCA explicitely permits reverse engineering (4, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | about 10 years ago | (#9800046)

I have no idea why people who haven't even read the legislation keep making comments that are plain incorrect.

The only time reverse engineering is illegal under the DMCA is when it is used for making infringing copies.

Re:The DMCA explicitely permits reverse engineerin (3, Informative)

RMH101 (636144) | about 10 years ago | (#9800069)

or infringing copyright. presumably apple's argument is that they've put a lot of money and effort into their delivery system, and they protect that investment through the DRM. once someone comes along, and reverse engineers it, they can take advantage of apple's hard work and make a profit, thereby reducing apple's earnings.
i don't particularly agree with this, but i reckon this is what apple's take on it would be.

Re:The DMCA explicitely permits reverse engineerin (3, Informative)

rice_web (604109) | about 10 years ago | (#9800086)

But then only if the user is reverse-engineering a copy-protection method. You are still allowed to make copies of a copyrighted work as long as the material is new to you (I know, I know, with exceptions, but as long as you can prove that you have done a reasonable level of work to bind yourself to the material, a near replica can still bear its own copyrights). Take the case of a photo. It's fairly easy to recreate a photo that bears a striking resemblance to an older photo. If I go to Mount Rushmore and take a few snaps with my camera, and it turns out that a photographer in Rapid City has the same shots, he can not sue me, as long as I have taken my steps to create an original work.

Re:The DMCA explicitely permits reverse engineerin (5, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | about 10 years ago | (#9800090)

That's not quite correct. It only needs to bypass a copy control measure, and not fall under the interoperability clause.

Also from chilling effects:

The resulting program must only interoperate with the reverse engineered software, however, and cannot interoperate with the technologically protected content (movie, book, video game, etc.) itself.

Seems that Real must have run afoul of this at some point in their quest to work with Apple's DRM.

Re:The DMCA explicitely permits reverse engineerin (3, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 10 years ago | (#9800275)

It only needs to bypass a copy control measure,
An access control measure. Not a copy control measure. The DMCA is quite explicit about that.

The most famous example is CSS, the system used on DVDs. This doesn't prevent copying (someone with equipment dumb enough can make a straight copy of a DVD without breaking CSS, indeed when the patents on DVD expire it's quite possible electronics manufacturers will start producing equipment to do exactly that. What CSS prevents is unauthorized access to the content, so that only licensed players can (legally) play DVDs, which in turn means that the studios can ensure that all legally available players implement certain restrictions, such as region encoding.)

Re:The DMCA explicitely permits reverse engineerin (1)

Neo's Nemesis (679728) | about 10 years ago | (#9800207)

Reverse Engg is absolutely nothing illegal. Its a part of hacking, not cracking. Wikipedia quotes: Reverse engineering (RE) is the process of taking something (a device, an electrical component, a software program, etc.) apart and analyzing its workings in detail, and after that to reconstruct a new device/program/etc. that does the same thing, without actually copying anything from the original. Reverse-engineering is commonly done to avoid copyrights on desired functionality, and may be used for avoiding patent law, though this is a bit risky: patents apply to the functionality, not a specific implementation of it. Reverse-engineering things (like software) for the purposes of interoperability (i.e. supporting file formats etc.) is mostly believed to be legal, though patent owners often aggressively pursue their patents.

Your Slashdot Posting Privileges Are Suspended (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800257)

Come back when you hit 14.

Free Ipod (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800047)

http://www.freeipods.com/default.aspx?referer=7360 592 [freeipods.com] Thats the link for a free ipod, its actually legit - sign up for ebay and place a non winning bid and post your referral link on a msg board and get 5 people to also do it. Check out mindtrance.net also for proof it works.

But what about the display? (5, Funny)

JasonUCF (601670) | about 10 years ago | (#9800050)

I'm all well and good with them hacking a way into the OS to play stuff thru the iPod audio chip [wolfsonmicro.com] . But what I want to know is have they hacked the display! Will I get to see my all time favorite hits like

Rebuffering...
and
Cannot find stream
and
Would you like to upgrade to Real 9?

Re:But what about the display? (1)

Zorilla (791636) | about 10 years ago | (#9800217)

The ultimate modification would be getting the iPod take 20 seconds to power on.

Re:But what about the display? (1)

straybullets (646076) | about 10 years ago | (#9800232)

Would you like to upgrade to Real 9?

eh eh ... Maybe the Apple Legal Team will strike heavy on Real and the world will at last be rid of the "real player" and its "file formats"

... Ah Ah, just saying "real player" makes me laff ...

The difference between this and PlayFair (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800060)

is that when you buy something on the iTunes music store, IIRC, you agree to their licensing scheme, ie not breaking the DRM. However, you can get an iPod without ever agreeing to a licensing scheme at all. You don't have to install Apple's software if you choose not to, you can still(with a little bit of poking around) get music onto the device.
The DMCA allows reverse engineering for compatibility, so maybe Real does have a case here.

Get your IP law straight (5, Informative)

rice_web (604109) | about 10 years ago | (#9800062)

I'm glad I'm reading this stuff finally, and I recommend that you all buy a quick primer (if they exist) on intellectual property. If you had, you'd know that the DMCA only prevents reverse-engineering of copy-protection methods. It does not prevent reverse-engineering of patents, and it does not remove the originality clauses of older IP laws. Therein, the DMCA will still allow Real to do whatever they want with the iPod.

The only problem that I might see is a license violation for every user that installs these songs onto their iPod. After all, the iPod has a software license, I'm sure, that limits use, and it will be interesting to see if Real is breaking that contract. I don't know how they are binding the Helix copy protection to the iPod without installing software on top of the iPod, but if they have found a legitimate work-around, I congratulate them.

Re:Get your IP law straight (4, Insightful)

dfghjk (711126) | about 10 years ago | (#9800112)

No such thing as reverse engineering of patents. They are public disclosures to begin with.

Re:Get your IP law straight (1)

rice_web (604109) | about 10 years ago | (#9800127)

You'll have to excuse that typo. I'm but a wee lad in the wide intellectual property world, and I must admit that aside from typos, there are probably a few factual errors in my post as well.

Re:Get your IP law straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800363)

Typo? What were you trying to type instead of patent? Potent? Latent?

How 'bout just admitting you don't know what you're talking about. Same as the moderators, apparently. +5 indeed.

Re:Get your IP law straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800431)

Does disclosure actually mean that reverse engineering cannot occur? Didn't IBM publish lots of stuff about the PC, from which Compaq reverse engineered the technology?

Re:Get your IP law straight (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | about 10 years ago | (#9800137)

Therein, the DMCA will still allow Real to do whatever they want with the iPod

But say if the barrier was in the DRM, wouldn't that make reverse engineering to make the music play on iPod illegal because they reverse engineered the copy protection? And they would also now know how to break the DRM, and if they make public how they do it (they wouldn't anyway), then DMCA would come into effect, because they are giving information which can be used to "Deprive Artists of their IP Rights". Yet another reason to revoke DMCA.

Re:Get your IP law straight (1)

Scarblac (122480) | about 10 years ago | (#9800153)

It does not prevent reverse-engineering of patents,

As far as I know, patents don't need to be reverse engineered, since their implementation is public (it's in the patent application). But knowing how it works doesn't give you the right to use it yourself (that's what patents do, after all), so there's no big profit in reverse engineering them anyway.

Perhaps you are confused yourself, with trade secrets in this case?

Re:Get your IP law straight (1)

rice_web (604109) | about 10 years ago | (#9800367)

Well, trade secrets are just that: secrets. They are only protected by law when someone steals the secret. Otherwise, they are entirely confidential within a company.

I did intend to write that a copyright can be reverse-engineered.

Re:Get your IP law straight (3, Insightful)

MarkedMan (523274) | about 10 years ago | (#9800393)

Didn't I see something about the use of the DMCA to prevent mod chips in game systems? If so, how does your Real efforts square with that?

Does the RealPlayer music store have... (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 10 years ago | (#9800063)

Does the RealPlayer music store also have spyware, like when they bundled New.net [wikipedia.org] in with RealOne? Call me crazy, but I percieve that's not the sort of thing which *Apple* would ever do.

Real Media on an iPod can mean only one thing... (5, Funny)

Vandil X (636030) | about 10 years ago | (#9800065)

Real Media on an iPod can mean only one thi--- BUFFERING... 0%... 13%... 27%... 34%... 58%... 72%... 88%... 97%... 100%... --ng to consumers: More choice!

Re:Real Media on an iPod can mean only one thing.. (5, Funny)

Narkov (576249) | about 10 years ago | (#9800173)

> BUFFERING... 0%... 13%... 27%... 34%... 58%... 72%... 88%... 97%... 100%

You should be so lucky

BUFFERING... 0%... 13%... 3%... 1%... -5%... 72%... 21%... 97%... 10%... 107%... 4%

Apple should let them fail in public (4, Interesting)

Wacky_Wookie (683151) | about 10 years ago | (#9800066)

Apple should not think of Real as any Real threat :)

Let 'em use the 'pod and win a major PR victory for not invoking the DMCA.

OT: If I could change the battery I would have bought an iPod, instead, as a backpacker I was forced to go to Sony's MiniDisk palyer/recorder, which I then fell in love with, despite the ATRAC3 Format, wich has evil DRM.

Re:Apple should let them fail in public (1)

lavar78 (573962) | about 10 years ago | (#9800117)

You can change the battery [ipodbattery.com] .

Re:Apple should let them fail in public (1)

ocelotbob (173602) | about 10 years ago | (#9800190)

Yes, but it's a pain in the ass to do it. He's a backpacker, which probably means that if he's going to be hiking a major trail, like pacific crest, or even soemthing like the John Muir trail, he's going to want to be able to have a week or so's worth of music available. It's a lot easier to pop in a couple of AAs than it is to disassemble an iPod.

Re:Apple should let them fail in public (1)

Wacky_Wookie (683151) | about 10 years ago | (#9800410)

Yes, but it's a pain in the ass to do it. He's a backpacker, which probably means that if he's going to be hiking a major trail, like pacific crest, or even soemthing like the John Muir trail, he's going to want to be able to have a week or so's worth of music available. It's a lot easier to pop in a couple of AAs than it is to disassemble an ipod.

Yes, as a backpacker I won't have much access to power sockets on my travels. Not only is the Mini-Disk's interal Li-ion battery swapable by the user, you can attach a (supplied) small external cradle that takes one AAA size battery. If you use boh at the same time, the play time is crazy!

Plus the only way to get music into an iPod is via a computer some how. I do that plus I have Anolog line in, and Digital (optical/toslink) line in, for loss-less audio in (exempting internal comperssion by the player it self). I can (and have) plug(ed) in a microphone, and used it just like an old tape recorder.

Re:Apple should let them fail in public (1)

bwalling (195998) | about 10 years ago | (#9800320)

Apple should not think of Real as any Real threat :)

Let 'em use the 'pod and win a major PR victory for not invoking the DMCA.


They can't selectively go after people. If they don't go after Real, it opens the door for everyone else - Microsoft, Real, Rhapsody, etc.

Re:Apple should let them fail in public (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800358)

Hell, they shouldn't ignore it, they should issue a press release about it!

"Apple Computers Inc. acknowledges Real Inc.'s efforts to interoperate with our software. We would like to point out that this is illegal under the DMCA, however we are not going to take any action as this law is unconstitutional and harmful to our users. We encourage other software vendors to follow in our footsteps and reject the DMCA on behalf of their users."

NT: MOD PARENT UP, Makes same point better (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800439)

Nt Nt Nt

Re:Apple should let them fail in public (2, Insightful)

GarfBond (565331) | about 10 years ago | (#9800361)

"win a major PR victory for not invoking the DMCA"?

I don't see how that's a major PR victory, that's just not being evil assholes.

We're already screwed if we think it's a PR win when someone *doesn't* wave the big stick of DMCA.

Re:Apple should let them fail in public (1)

lavar78 (573962) | about 10 years ago | (#9800405)

We're already screwed if we think it's a PR win when someone *doesn't* wave the big stick of DMCA.
We're already screwed. After all, if the public actually knew about the DMCA, we might be a little closer to getting it revised.

store content (5, Insightful)

Heywood Yabuzof (255017) | about 10 years ago | (#9800083)


Does the Real store have any songs that the iTunes store doesn't? Have there been a lot of Real customers clamoring for this?

This sounds like total PR BS from Real - they are just mad that Apple (rightly) gave them the brush-off earlier, and they are under the mistaken impression that Apple or iPod users give a hoot about RealMedia format. I mean, if you have an ipod and use iTunes already, what possible reason could you have for wanting to put .rm files on your ipod (or your computer, for that matter)? It's not like having your own mp3s or even ogg files (that would be interesting, but unlikely to happen anytime soon) that you created yourself that you want to use on your portable media player of choice. Who is out there creating RealMedia files for themself? Nobody. And if you are buying songs from the RealMedia store, then it's highly likely that you don't have an iPod anyway. I'm sure Real would like to see that change - fat chance.

Re:store content (2, Insightful)

dfghjk (711126) | about 10 years ago | (#9800182)

Not everyone who might own an Pod already owns one. Future sales are what is being considered and Real would like its content to be playable on as many players as possible (unlike Apple). Clearly Real feels there is a market for their product and that some of their future customers might want to use it with an iPod. Perhaps current iTMS customers may also consider their service if proves superior. I suspect there is too much blind brand loyalty for that.

Competition (3, Interesting)

DrJAKing (94556) | about 10 years ago | (#9800084)

Watch the misery on the faces of the RIAA as the true market value of A Song emerges through the mechanism of market forces! Sure, there will be a bit of legal manoevering but sooner or later there will be competition. I'm guessing it'll level off at about 10c/tune but that might be a bit high.

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800303)

I don't think so : labels will not play the game since they have something close to a de-facto monopoly !

all formats (1)

dncsky1530 (711564) | about 10 years ago | (#9800099)

If i remember correctly, there was an article a while back about the ipod being able to play all audio codecs, however Apple purposely disabled all other formats due to licenseing costs. I would like to hear apples reaction to this.

This is no different from third party ipod apps (1)

cualexander (576700) | about 10 years ago | (#9800100)

There are several third-party apps that provide all the functionality of Itunes that allow for syncing to the Ipod and even have ratings and volume adjustments and all those itunes features and Apple has never said anything about any of those. They obviously have to have some idea of how the Ipod database works to get those apps working, its probably just the same thing here going on with Real. I don't see why this should cause any DMCA violations.

Your Real songs will die, like Napster's (1)

XavierItzmann (687234) | about 10 years ago | (#9800105)

When Apple changes the iPod's firmware, your Real songs will no longer play on the iPod.

Which is just a bit less bad than what will happen to your Napster-DRM'd music once Napster goes up, its servers no longer authorize newer/updated computers, and your purchases go down the tubes!

Crappy quality anyway... (2, Informative)

generationxyu (630468) | about 10 years ago | (#9800114)

It seems that they don't actually find a way to make the iPod play RealAudio, they just wrote a Real --> AAC converter, FairPlayed the AACs (it's not that hard, folks) and stored them in the appropriate place on the iPod disk, updating the database appropriately. So you're getting doubly-compressed audio. The only advantage here is user choice over music store, which frankly, as a huge Apple/iTunes/iPod fan, I'm all for. Buy your music from wherever you want.

So all they reverse engineered is how FairPlay finds keys to do AES?

Re:Crappy quality anyway... (1)

lavar78 (573962) | about 10 years ago | (#9800149)

For some reason, I was under the impression the Real Music Store sells AAC files (without the FairPlay DRM, of course).

Re:Crappy quality anyway... (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about 10 years ago | (#9800208)

Perhaps, but I agree that everyone should support the opportunity to buy music from another store. It can't possibly hurt the customer.

Ipod malware anyone. (3, Funny)

DrJAKing (94556) | about 10 years ago | (#9800131)

Great. Now I need a firewall on my Ipod to stop fifteen RealNetworks processes calling home every time I use it.

Satire Is Dead! (0)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 10 years ago | (#9800161)

Very funny. That's a good one. Oh wait... This is real.

Imagine if some small startup had tried this. Apple would invoke the DMCA and blow them out of the water. By the time apples lawyers were finished, the company would be bankrupt and it's owners in jail, and that would be only the effects of a cease and desit letter.

However, the company in question is not a startup. It's an upstart called RealNetworks.

"The law is unsettled," Sunstein said. "We might find some litigation if Apple wanted to be aggressive."

Haha! We have money. Ergo the law is meaningless.
First we bitch, then we threaten, then at last we moe headlong into bypassing Apple altogether.

Ignorent little Bastards!! If this is legal then so is PlayFair! There is only one way to get DRM to work on an iPod without iTunes and that's to break it. PlayFair did exactly that and got trampled. Real cannot stand up and say truthfully, "we have not reverse engineered FairPlay", becasue they have. They must have! Unless a Real programmer woke up one afternoon to see a completed FairPlay de/encrypter on his desk, curtousy of the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

It makes me sick that money grabbing jerks like Real have the nerve to break DMCA regulation in the persuit of profit, yet when FOSS people try to get around them for fair use we get railroaded.

I wouldn't be surprized if this is all part of that collaberation with MS that Real were on about.

Wouldn't a lawsuit be Just Plain Stupid? (1)

Lars Clausen (1208) | about 10 years ago | (#9800183)

As I see it, since Apple doesn't make money on iTMS, but on the sales of iPods, they should be extremely happy with this happening. More people being able to use iPod == more income for them.

But of course the IP lawyers will not allow simple business logic to stop them when they smell a case:)

-Lars

No M$ for online music (0)

berkeleyjunk (250251) | about 10 years ago | (#9800186)

It is about time. If there is no competition Apple would get comfy with the 99c price and even increase it soon. Knowing that the artist is getting only 6-8c per song, I would say this has the potential to cause a price war. Since the only division of Apple making any serious money is iPod/iTunes, I do not think Apple will play nice.

Re:No M$ for online music (1)

DoctorRad (608319) | about 10 years ago | (#9800220)

Since the only division of Apple making any serious money is iPod/iTunes, I do not think Apple will play nice.

But since the only part of that division making a profit is the part selling iPods, they may be happy to see other companies rushing to make their tunes play on the 'Pod.

Or not.

Matt...

Re:No M$ for online music (1)

mj_1903 (570130) | about 10 years ago | (#9800265)

The iTunes division reported a slim profit last quarter. Apple are not going to let _any_ profit to disappear, so they probably will fight it.

Re:No M$ for online music (1)

berkeleyjunk (250251) | about 10 years ago | (#9800386)

Hmm. I did not think of it this way. Maybe you are right. Since they dragged their feet on supporting the iPod on Windows(which had similar justification) I have a feeling they may not like this either.

What are you talking about? (1)

lxt (724570) | about 10 years ago | (#9800224)

"Since the only division of Apple making any serious money is iPod/iTunes, I do not think Apple will play nice."

Perhaps you failed to notice that PowerBook and iBook shipments were up 37 per cent and 26 per cent year on year, representing 21.5 per cent and 13.6 per cent of revenue.

That's a third of Apple's revenue that comes from notebook sales. The iPod represents 12.3 per cent of Apple's revenues. Software is around 10% for Apple, as are perhiperals (iSight etc). So the iPod isn't "making the serious money" for Apple. Indeed, the profit margins on iTunes are very, very slim indeed.

Of course, either you're saying that Apple are lying in their latest financial report, or you just can't be bothered to do research and make some pretty stupid assumptions. I'm guessing the latter.

Re:What are you talking about? (1)

berkeleyjunk (250251) | about 10 years ago | (#9800362)

I do my research all right. I am a shareholder in AAPL. You are the guy with the bad attitude and wrong assumptions. Do you even know the difference between revenue and profit. More revenue does not necessarily mean more profits. Do you mean that these guys are wrong and you are right. If you have any solid numbers with a source for profits please feel free to post them

Steve Jobs
http://www.forbes.com/facesinthenews/2004/07/15/07 15autofacescan02.html?partner=yahoo&referrer= [forbes.com]

Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/technology/feeds/infoimaging /2004/07/16/infoimagingbhsuper_2004_07_16_INHT_000 0-8217-KEYWORD.Missing.html?partner=yahoo&referrer = [forbes.com]

CBS
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/yhoo/story.asp?sou rce=blq/yhoo&siteid=yhoo&dist=yhoo&guid=%7BDE3A09A 5-CDE6-481A-8AD3-5A7DE38EE971%7D/ [marketwatch.com]

I do agree with you on the margins on iTunes being low. But the RIAA would have to cut its bloated share of the pie soon enough.

Re:No M$ for online music (0)

hcdejong (561314) | about 10 years ago | (#9800420)

A price war? When most of the price of a song is dictated by the RIAA?

Futurama Quote (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | about 10 years ago | (#9800187)


Bender: What better way to celebrate our success than by me showing Bubblegum this globetrotters uniform I made myself.
BubbleGum: Let me see.
Bender shows him his uniform.
BubbleGum: Hello lawsuit *rubs palms*.

Waiting... (1)

Zorilla (791636) | about 10 years ago | (#9800189)

RealMedia on an MP3/AAC player?

With all this lawyer talk, it seems nothing is sacred. I'm still waiting for the lawyers to show up once the toddler manages to find a way bash the square peg into the round hole.

For the uneducated and uninformed... (5, Informative)

GarfBond (565331) | about 10 years ago | (#9800202)

Real uses 192kbps AAC wrapped with their own Helix DRM (realplayer 10 says it's "RA10," but I don't think such a codec exists). Apple uses 128kbps AAC wrapped with their PlayFair DRM. Both places sell for 99c for each track.

Considering both use AAC, maybe it was simply a matter of fooling the ipod into thinking Helix DRM was PlayFair DRM. And even though Real's choice of AAC seemed strange way back when RP10 was released, I think now it's starting to become clear why they chose that... :)

Strategically, this doesn't seem out of place with what Real's been doing recently. They seem to want to become the endall beall solution for Internet media: releasing Helix Player under GPL, making RealPlayer able to play QT, ITMS, and WM in the same player, and now this.

Re:For the uneducated and uninformed... (4, Informative)

GarfBond (565331) | about 10 years ago | (#9800329)

After reading the article (yeah yeah I know) it sounds like they did a bit of work on their DRM. The system's called Harmony now, they're claiming compatibility with over 70 devices (press release here [realnetworks.com] ).

According to the CNET article, the system will "change the song into Windows Media format if necessary," so in that case it sounds like it's doing a transparent reencode of the track, which isn't much different from burning it to CD and reripping it yourself, except they slap on some Microsoft DRM for you.

If you've got a palm OS 5 machine, it sounds like it'll stay as a Helix DRMed file, since those PDAs already had a native realplayer.

For the ipod: "Harmony also will automatically change songs into an iPod-compatible format. But because Apple has not licensed its FairPlay copy-protection software to anyone, RealNetworks executives said its engineers had to re-create their own version in their labs in order to make the device play them back."

Considering that Real and Apple players already used AAC to begin with, as long as they don't do any reencoding those players will probably have the best quality. That all depends though; seeing as how Real already knows how to manipulate itunes into letting realplayer play ITMS files, this might succeed by manipulating QT/itunes into reripping the original AAC file, though I doubt it; that would take too much time and I don't even know if it's possible.

Standarising formats (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 10 years ago | (#9800204)

It would be nice if AAC* & FLAC were used by everyone. They are open and don't suffer the same quality loss as WMV or ATRAK. The only issue of course is DRM compatibility.

The real question is what would it take to get companies to use compatible technologies, especially when the online stores have an invested interest in a particular player? No one will use someone else's DRM especially if it means paying money to someone else.

*AAC - Advanced Audio Codec, it is to MPEG 4 what MP3 is to MPEG-1 and MPEG-2.

Re:Standarising formats (1, Troll)

jocknerd (29758) | about 10 years ago | (#9800282)

I wouldn't call AAC open by any means. In my opinion, if you've got to pay an arm and a leg to license the format, its not open. The only open format that is lossy is Ogg Vorbis as far as I know.

I do wish Apple had chosen FLAC for its lossless format. But once again, Apple wants to lock you in to their own product (or at least a product of Dolby again) by providing another lossless format that is not used by anyone.

So all those concert sites with FLAC still can't be played on my iPod unless I convert them.

Competition is healthy, Parasites are not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9800212)

I think Real is just trying to get a slice of the iPods success without doing anything for it (except swindle their way in!).

If they had anything to offer, Apple would listen.

Press release & Public Beta (5, Informative)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 10 years ago | (#9800234)

Here's RealNetworks press release [realnetworks.com] about this system (called Harmony). They also announced that a public beta version of RealPlayer 10.5, which contains this technology, will be available here [real.com] tomorrow (Tuesday).

Well, to be fair... (2, Insightful)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | about 10 years ago | (#9800256)

However since Apple has not licensed the technology to make file formats playable on the iPod

Apple doesn't license their protected formats, true; but if Real wants to sell us a nice, standard MP3 or uncompressed WAV file, the iPod would happily play it.

What.

Will sell more iPods (1)

jcostantino (585892) | about 10 years ago | (#9800280)

Isn't Apple's profit in selling the device and using the music to push device sales? Won't this just sell more devices for Apple?

Of course, Real's software and technology sucks but in the end it's about one company who has a bad product (Real) trying to grasp on to a superior design platform (iPod) to try to push their own profit while driving up the sales of their competitor's device. It is funny to note that Real hates Apple and tries to belittle the ITMS/iPod while attempting to latch on to the iPod's obvious market share and popularity at the same time.

Worthy of note would be that it's entirely possible that Real's "hack" is to convert their music data from the proprietary format to something without DRM like MP3.

Real (-1, Offtopic)

jay-be-em (664602) | about 10 years ago | (#9800294)

Hooray, a terrible closed format!
And still no ogg vorbis.
Thanks but no thanks Apple, I'll stick with my iRiver.

How did I miss this!? (1)

jcostantino (585892) | about 10 years ago | (#9800308)

"Up to now, the world of downloads has been far too close to a world where the CD you buy in one store wouldn't play on the CD player you bought in another," Larry Kenswil, president of Universal Music's eLabs division, said in a statement. "We applaud RealNetworks' efforts to help correct this situation and appeal to all people and companies in this area to work toward a world of universal interoperability."
Isn't that like going to a B&M store and buying an audio CD that has DRM and won't play on a CD player you bought in another store because the player chokes on the DRM code on the CD? Universal Interoperability would suggest that you can take any music CD and play it on any player without it choking.

Re:How did I miss this!? (1)

fuzzybunny (112938) | about 10 years ago | (#9800336)

Well I always sort of thought that this was part of the idea of the "Compact Disc" label--there have been a bunch of feces-flinging fun fests about copy protected CDs not playing on various devices, and Sony/IBM/insert-large-corporation-here getting its panties in a bunch because it doesn't conform to the "Compact Disc" standard (i.e. Red Book/whatever.)

This is one situation where the idea of a "standard", be it a corporate-owned and trademarked one or IETF or what-have-you making a lot of sense.

so, does this mean that Real is guilty of (3, Interesting)

nusratt (751548) | about 10 years ago | (#9800340)

"The only problem that I might see is a license violation for every user that installs these songs onto their iPod. After all, the iPod has a software license, I'm sure, that limits use"

so, does this mean that Real is guilty of INDUCEing [slashdot.org] users to commit a violation?
Delicious!

Bang! (1)

krel (588588) | about 10 years ago | (#9800347)

I hope Rob Glasser is placing a gun in his mouth right now, because he and his children's children's children will regret his decision for the rest of their lives

...and that's if Steve's in a good mood.

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