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"DVD Jon" Reverse Engineers FairPlay

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the double-twist-of-fate dept.

299

breun writes to bring us up to date on the doings of Jon Lech Johansen, known as "DVD Jon" after he cracked CSS encryption at the age of 15. As reported by GigaOM's Liz Gannes, Johansen has now reverse-engineered Apple's FairPlay DRM — but not to crack it. Instead Johansen's company, DoubleTwist Ventures, wants to license the tech to media companies shut out by Apple from playing their content on the iPod. And, soon, on the iTV. Johansen could end up selling a lot of hardware for Apple.

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First POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16281453)

FP

POST.....^H^H^H^H

*sniff*.. *sniff*. (5, Insightful)

Sassinak (150422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281457)

What's that smell..

Oh that's right.. a lawsuit.

Hold on to your hats boys and girls, its going to get fun.

Re:*sniff*.. *sniff*. (3, Funny)

josephdrivein (924831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281619)

C&D Letter in 3..2..1...

Re:*sniff*.. *sniff*. (1)

mctk (840035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281647)

Oh, wait, no it wasn't a lawsuit after all. It was just this piece of rotting broccoli that I accidentally left in my desk over the weekend.

Going to be boring (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281853)

ant vs steam roller.

Re:Going to be boring (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282237)

ant vs steam roller.

Reminds me of that classic piece of cinema: Bambi meets Godzilla [wikipedia.org] .

Re:*sniff*.. *sniff*. (5, Interesting)

roseblood (631824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282049)

Indeed. Apple is not going to like the fact that some other company is going to sell their technology. Thats what patents are for right? Wait... there is plenty of prior art for cryptography (thats all DRM is, crypto for media, when you're given the right to play the media you are allowed to decrypt it.)

How will it work here? A court says DVD JON stop it, that's apple technology they worked hard to make. A court says APPLE CHILL OUT, DVD JON is going to let other MP3 players play FAIRPLAY files and non-Ipod owners will spend their money on your iTunes store.

I'm sure apple would love to sell more iPods, but then again, they could end up selling more music.

I predict lawsuits myself, the legal department will feel the need to get them going if only to prove to the bosses that they are doing productive work for the company.

Re:*sniff*.. *sniff*. (2, Insightful)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282133)

They make all their money selling iPods the store is a giveaway to keep the music industry off their backs while they sell them.

iTMS gives the iPod legitimacy. (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282737)

Agreed. And this is why they're going to come down hard on Jon, not because they really care that much about the iTMS, but because it might encourage sales of other MP3 players at the expense of the iPod.

If Apple really was interested in running an online music venture and making their money there -- as in, really having that be their core business -- they would have tried to license out FairPlay as widely as possible and make it a de facto standard. (Which it already practically is, without licensing; given that the iPod is the de facto standard MP3 player.)

However, since the iTMS is really only there to grant legitimacy to the iPod as a device (does anyone remember how the music industry was screaming bloody murder about iPods being "piracy machines" back before the music store existed?), it makes no sense for them to share this "excuse" with anyone else's MP3 players. They benefit more from a consumer who buys an iPod than they do from a consumer who buys a few iTMS songs -- you'd have to buy a LOT of music to give Apple the same amount of profit that they get from a single iPod, and most people don't buy that much.

I think you'll see Apple go after this in the courts if it can, or just start a vicious cycle of "upgrades" and "enhancements" to the format if it can't.

Re:iTMS gives the iPod legitimacy. (0, Redundant)

ObiWanKenblowme (718510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282993)

Why do you think they should license FairPlay to make it a de facto standard, when, by your own admission, it's already the de facto standard?

Re:*sniff*.. *sniff*. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282373)

Does nobody remember the landmark Sony vs. Connectix case? A company can reverse engineer proprietary software and implement software that replicates functionality learned from said reverse engineering in their own devices in order to create compatibility between devices.

Re:*sniff*.. *sniff*. (1)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282475)

bullseye.

It does sound fun. (5, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282559)

Not because I agree with either side -- DVD Jon is a bastard for not simply releasing this to the public -- but it looks like it's shaping up to be hilarious and fun to watch in the same way the ending of Dune was. You think you have me surrounded? Beaten? Then, out of nowhere: "If I am not obeyed, the spice will not flow."

Re:It does sound fun. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283073)

"If I am not obeyed, the spice will not flow"

Hey, don't knock it. It keeps Victor Chavez in power.

-Eric

Why do I... (2, Funny)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281485)

Why do I have the feeling that somebody is going to turn out like Dmitry Sklyarov?

Re:Why do I... (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281537)

For anybody who doesn't know who Dmitry Sklyarov [wikipedia.org] is (I know i didn't). Click on his name for a nice Wikipedia article.

Re:Why do I... (2, Interesting)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282069)

So "Why do I have the feeling that somebody is going to turn out like Dmitry Sklyarov?" actually means that in a couple of years he will be married and have 2 kids...

Re:Why do I... (-1, Flamebait)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281549)

Why do I have the feeling that somebody is going to turn out like Dmitry Sklyarov?

Because you're an unfortunate idiot?

Re:Why do I... (-1, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281629)

If you are who you say you [wisc.edu] are, you're frigging ugly. Please get a decent haircut.

Re:Why do I... (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281777)

Hah. Nice comeback.

Hey, you were the one who made yourself look like a tool when you posted what you did...these issues couldn't possibly be more unrelated, and just as Apple did nothing to Real (because it can't), nothing will happen to DVD Jon. Sorry to disappoint.

Why did you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282121)

Dave Schroder, was it really necessary to call him an "unfortunate idiot" just to prove your point?

Worse (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281831)

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.
He lives in the U.S. & has a company.

He is so getting sued & this time his home country's laws will not protect him.

TFA does make an interesting point: he isn't stripping DRM, he's adding it... but isn't that exactly what Apple is licensing?

Re:Worse (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282903)

That brings up an interesting point. Why would DVD Jon, or any of these other hackers, want to live in the U.S.? Hell I'm American, and even *I* would rather live in Sweden, Denmark, or Canada if I could. If I were routinely thumbing my nose at the RIAA, the MPAA, the DMCA, etc., I wouldn't even *visit* the U.S., much less live here.

Do these people not get it? In the U.S., the government doesn't fuck around--they WILL kick your door down, take your computers, and drag you off to jail if they suspect you're up to something (or some company or other government agency tells them you are). Hell, they'll drag you out of the airport if you even LAND here. And they don't give a shit about it causing an international incident, either (really, how much lower could the U.S. sink in international opinion than it already has).

-Eric

Re:Worse (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283187)

because this is only something that's come up within the past decade..

plus, american's can't just move to sweeden or canada without a visa or citizenship..

Real already did this (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281509)

This has already been done with Real's Harmony [wikipedia.org] .

With each successive iPod update, Apple can keep breaking Harmony. Sure, they can come back and "fix" it again, only for it to be broken again.

Besides which, anyone can sell or deliver content on Apple's iPod now:

- They can deliver it in any number of media formats without DRM (since DRM is so evil, right?)

- If they really want DRM, any music provider not currently affiliated with a major label can distribute on iTunes to iPod via services like this [cdbaby.net]

So, if we're to believe the putative reasons that FairPlay has been "reverse-engineered", it is actually to specifically enable and further the usage of DRM.

Is this what the people who would applaud DVD Jon actually want? More DRM, and DRM that won't be guaranteed to work (in fact, will almost be guaranteed to NOT work) the next time an update comes out from the vendor, at that?

Re:Real already did this (2, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281595)

---Sure, they can come back and "fix" it again, only for it to be broken again.

Well, perhaps that's not a bad idea at all. Let them "fix" it. Microsoft just recently "fixed" their DRM, in so that legitimate customers will be locked out of their own music.

I picture soon that the question will be "does my hardware at this unchanging firmware play this amorphous piece of media right now?" Well, the question will arise in the mass public and they will witness media not playing, after they paid, of course.

DRM will die when mass groups of people get screwed.

Re:Real already did this (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281725)

DRM will ALWAYS be able to be broken. The idea is to prevent casual abuse en masse and provide a show of good faith to content owners on the part of technology companies like Apple, both of which are exactly what it does.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, Apple isn't utterly retarded like Microsoft, doing things like making "PlaysForSure" content NOT work on their own devices, and doing other ridiculous and confusing things with DRM. Apple's DRM is unobtrusive enough to most customers that most customers DON'T CARE, and will NEVER "get screwed" by it. Period.

Note I said "most". And ultimately, that's all that counts.

Also, DRM isn't necessarily intrinsically evil. I know there's a lot of belief here that copyright law is hopelessly corrupted, content owners are greedy bastards, the laws surrounding DRM are horrid, and I could go on and on. And all of that may be true. But as long as there is some level of legal protection for someone who generates content and/or their agents, or their agent's agents, or trade groups that represent them, etc., there is nothing intrinsically wrong with using some level of technological means to protect that content from misappropriation under the current body of legal frameworks that cover such use. Everyone who buys content from, e.g., iTunes, knows exactly what the restrictions are. No one is forcing them to buy it.

DRM will never die. Shitty, overly restrictive DRM that pisses off massive amounts of customers will die. But "DRM" in general won't.

Re:Real already did this (3, Informative)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282029)

Everyone who buys content from, e.g., iTunes, knows exactly what the restrictions are. No one is forcing them to buy it.

Close: they know what the restrictions are right now. They don't know what the restrictions will be tomorrow or next year. Apple has, in fact, issued updates to iTunes to tighten the restrictions on music that had already been purchased, and they may very well do so again in the future.

Re:Real already did this (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282365)

Close: they know what the restrictions are right now. They don't know what the restrictions will be tomorrow or next year. Apple has, in fact, issued updates to iTunes to tighten the restrictions on music that had already been purchased, and they may very well do so again in the future.

Um, examples, please? Are you talking about things like being able to burn one playlist 7 consecutive times instead of 10? (Even though you can just make one change to the playlist, change it back, and then burn again?) Other than that, I am not aware of any changes that makes Apple's DRM more restrictive, unless you're talking about the waaaaay-old changes to iTunes that disabled the ability to do music sharing via IP (as opposed to only on your local subnet, the way it is now), which had nothing to do with DRM, or the syncing changes in iTunes 2.0, which again had nothing to with with DRM, or disallowing music from easily being downloaded by others (as opposed to streamed) via iTunes, which, again, had nothing to do with DRM.

As I said in another post, Apple has actually been making their DRM more lenient: you can now two-way sync any iPod with any iTunes libraries on computers that are authorized on the same iTunes account (and you can have up to five computers and an unlimited number of iPods, which is how it's always been). Previously, you could have an iPod associated with only one music library; now you can easily keep all libraries in sync across multiple computers and multiple iPods.

While your point stands in general with regard to DRM, Apple has not introduced any new restrictions that fundamentally limit what you can do, and instead has removed limitations that previously existed.

Microsoft has done precisely the opposite, even introducing a new music player that doesn't play its *own* ironically-branded PlaysForSure content. (And to others reading this, no it wasn't just a rumor or misunderstanding...Zune really won't play PlaysForSure content, and vice versa: http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/14/the-engadget-in terview-j-allard-microsoft-corporate-vice-presi/ [engadget.com] )

Re:Real already did this (3, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282661)

unless you're talking about the waaaaay-old changes to iTunes that disabled the ability to do music sharing via IP (as opposed to only on your local subnet, the way it is now), which had nothing to do with DRM, or the syncing changes in iTunes 2.0, which again had nothing to with with DRM, or disallowing music from easily being downloaded by others (as opposed to streamed) via iTunes, which, again, had nothing to do with DRM.

All of those changes and restrictions are made possible only because of DRM. So it does actually have everything to do with DRM. Then there's the point that, regardless of what Apple has done so far, it is entirely possible and legal for them to add restrictions at any time on media that you have already purchased. So the GP post was correct that while you may know what the restrictions are now, you have no way of knowing what they'll be tomorrow.

Re:Real already did this (2, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282733)

All of those changes and restrictions are made possible only because of DRM. So it does actually have everything to do with DRM. Then there's the point that, regardless of what Apple has done so far, it is entirely possible and legal for them to add restrictions at any time on media that you have already purchased. So the GP post was correct that while you may know what the restrictions are now, you have no way of knowing what they'll be tomorrow.

Wrong. None of those changes had anything to do with DRM. They applied to the behavior of the software in general, regardless of whether files had DRM or not. These were intrinsic to the behavior and featureset of iTunes, and had nothing to do with, nor were they enabled by, DRM.

And yes, you can argue they could add restrictions. Sure. But the net track record is that the restrictions have become more lenient, not more restrictive. And, to repeat, the examples I cited which the GP might have erroneously believed were related to DRM had NOTHING to do with DRM and applied to non-DRM files as well. The DRM was irrelevant to those changes; they were core functional changes to iTunes. And, to further repeat, with respect to DRM, Apple has become more lenient. So, we can only go on Apple's track record, which has so far been positive and has included negotiating aggressively with content owners for the least restrictive DRM possible.

Re:Real already did this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282073)

Apple isn't utterly retarded like Microsoft, doing things like making "PlaysForSure" content NOT work on their own devices

Has anyone verified that? My understanding was that the whole "PlayForSure/Zune" thing was speculated on because MS didn't happen to mention WMV is a list of other supported file formats, but that WMV was the default anyway so didn't need to be explicitely mentioned so the speculation that Zune wouldn't support it was probably not true

Re:Real already did this (2, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282259)

Has anyone verified that? My understanding was that the whole "PlayForSure/Zune" thing was speculated on because MS didn't happen to mention WMV is a list of other supported file formats, but that WMV was the default anyway so didn't need to be explicitely mentioned so the speculation that Zune wouldn't support it was probably not true

Nope.

Stunningly, Zune will not play PlaysForSure content. Ironic, huh?

More here:

http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/004910.php [eff.org]

And direct from Microsoft itself:

http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/14/the-engadget-in terview-j-allard-microsoft-corporate-vice-presi/ [engadget.com]

Conversely, Apple has actually been making their DRM more lenient: you can now two-way sync any iPod with any iTunes libraries on computers that are authorized on the same iTunes account (and you can have up to five computers and an unlimited number of iPods, which is how it's always been). Previously, you could have an iPod associated with only one music library; now you can easily keep all libraries in sync across multiple computers and multiple iPods.

Re:Real already did this (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282313)

but I thought 'everyone who owns an iPod fills it with pirated music'...

Now me, I fill my mp3 player with ripped mp3s. probably breaking the law even though I purchased the cd's the music came from.

I do find it amusing that the mere act of using something I pay for makes me a 'pirate' according to the RIAA and that inimitable mr Gates.

I especially love that they try to jump on any point to say that iTunes is terrible, when iTunes has drm music (as do the competitors), a really good selection (better then others I've seen), and lets you burn to cd...

So that makes it the same in some ways, and better in one, but its *bad* because they bypassed the arguments and just got the hell on and produced a service.
Much like microsoft did by producing an OS while the major players were distracted in the Unix wars. But when someone else does it, Bill gets all anti...

Not that I buy from iTunes. I use it for the podcasts. I would use it, but I have no money for an iPod yet. If their music would work on my cheap mp3 player I'd get it.

Re:Real already did this (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282355)

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, Apple isn't utterly retarded like Microsoft, doing things like making "PlaysForSure" content NOT work on their own devices, and doing other ridiculous and confusing things with DRM. Apple's DRM is unobtrusive enough to most customers that most customers DON'T CARE, and will NEVER "get screwed" by it. Period.

I can't say I like Apple's DRM no matter how unobtrusive, but I do have to admire them for striking such a good compromise considering the major labels' current requirements for DRM before they'll play ball.

Apple on the one hand tells the studios that their music files are protected by DRM and can't be traded on P2P services like MP3s can. Apple then turns around and tells their customers that they can take their purchased songs and burn them to a normal CD, which removes the DRM.

Not sure how they got the record companies to go along -- maybe they didn't think it through all the way, or maybe they figure the extra steps of burning/ripping will deter the extremely casual -- but I'm glad they did.

Re:Real already did this (2, Insightful)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282791)

The fact that you can be a "content owner" rankles.

Back in the old days, the only way to get music was to have musicians in house. The only way to have a play was to have players in house. The performers had control of the content.

Thanks to recording and physical media became distributable without the original producers. Tough break for the musicians and players. The performers lost control of the content, the distributers gained it. Do you really think the distributers gave a shit about the performers?

Now, thanks to electronic media, the music is distributable without even the distributers. Tough break for the distributers. They lost control of the content. Do you really think the public cares about the distributers?

Your business model is obsolete. Grow up and find a new one instead of lobbying for laws to prop it up with.

All people are doing is cutting out the middleman - evil or not, technology has passed them on and they don't like it one bit that the shoe is now on the other foot.

Nonsense (1)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282039)

>>if they really want DRM, any music provider not currently affiliated with a major label can distribute on iTunes to iPod via services like this

Who exactly do you think WANTS DRM? Yes, it's the MAJOR LABELS. Other resellers (Real, Walmart, Microsoft, MTV, Napster, etc etc) who want to put major-label music on the ipod have no option to do so currently. (Tell me again about how Apple makes almost no money from itunes sales, but is unwilling to make bucket-loads by licensing their DRM.)

DVD Jon is for interoperability last time I checked. This promotes that, although not in the any music->any player way. (Apparently DVD Jon is the fanatical open-source saviour some people seem to think.)

You have it BACKWARDS. (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282523)

It's to compete with itunes music store ipod.

As you noted if you try to compete with tht eipod then apple can just change the encoding of the music so it breaks on your harmony player. But the reverse is not true. If I am selling songs I can encode them so they play on apple ipods yet are drm protected. Once I manage to emulate that for any given edition of the DRM format, the apple can't change the protocol because it would mean old songs won't play.

that is you encode the songs such that if old itunes music stroe songs play then your songs must play too.

Re:Real already did this (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282821)

They can't break Harmony or DVD-Jon's code without breaking old versions of iTunes and forcing them to upgrade. That wouldn't go over well with Apple's customers.

Way to go, kid! (1, Interesting)

VicVegas (990077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281519)

DVD Jon is great. His idea of re-creating the scheme as opposed to just breaking it makes good business sense. Hopefully his past luck with the judicial system will stay with him and we'll see more creative uses of his hacking in the future.

Re:Way to go, kid! (1)

mrogers (85392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281685)

Here's what I don't understand: why would a record company pay for DRM that's already been broken, when they can release their music without DRM for free? They're getting the equivalent of no DRM, but at a higher cost, and with the added risks of pissing off the customer and getting sued by Apple.

Re:Way to go, kid! (1)

Quarters (18322) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281847)

Your theory only works if you assume everyone knows how to acquire the tools necessary to circumvent the DRM. For the majority of consumers that's not a valid assumption. Even if the DRM is broken only a small minority of potential customers will have the knowledge and/or the desire to acquire the necessary tools and information to get around the copy protection.

Re:Way to go, kid! (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282187)

Yes but the DRM stripped files make it to the file sharing networks pretty quickly.

I would imagine only a small percentage of iTunes users have apps like Hymn, but most of the popular file sharing networks have plenty of 'iTunes only' content.

Re:Way to go, kid! (1)

Sassinak (150422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281879)

I think this is part of that arguement that DRM hurts consumers and the industry (because you KNOW they pass that cost on to us.. *grin*)

Re:Way to go, kid! (2, Interesting)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281987)

If only 1% of people know how to break it and it generates more than that in sales then we actually save money. Esepcially since the cost of the DRM system is more like a capital cost that is amortized over all product sold.

Um, way to go? (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281931)

Enabling more DRM usage, and DRM that won't even work on the device every time Apple updates the iPod?

Yeah, I'm sure people will be falling all over themselves for that: not only more DRM, but DRM that isn't guaranteed to even be functional.

Way to go!

And watch.... (1, Insightful)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281527)

Johansen could end up selling a lot of hardware for Apple.

Apple will snarl and bite yet another hand. Anyone that thinks Apple is consumer friendly is an idiot.

Re:And watch.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16281977)

Johansen could end up selling a lot of hardware for Apple.
You mean by selling FairPlay 2.0 to say MS, and then having MS implement it on the Zune, so that existing iPod users can switch to the Zune without losing their songs?

Snarl!! Bite!! (5, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282009)

Apple will snarl and bite yet another hand. Anyone that thinks Apple is consumer friendly is an idiot.

They'll do more than snarl and bite. I just saw a bunch of sinister looking stealth UAV's loaded to capacity with Norvegian-nerd-seeking lawyer-missiles and Apple logos painted on their wings jetting off from our local Air Force base. They were heading in the direction of San Francisco.

Re:Snarl!! Bite!! (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282167)

Bah, that was just another late Burning Man stunt.

Selling for Apple? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281541)

Johansen could end up selling a lot of hardware for Apple.

How's that? If Apple doesn't sell hardware they don't make money. If they don't make money from the hardware they won't be selling content. They only offer the content to profit from their own hardware. Am i missing something?

Re:Selling for Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16281691)

They only offer the content to profit from their own hardware. Am i missing something?

Erm, yes. I would say so.

DVD Jon is providing more content for Apple's hardware. As you pointed out, Apple only sells content to profit from their hardware. Ergo, Apple believes that providing content for its hardware sells it. Hence DVD Jon will sell a lot of hardware for Apple.

It's really quite simple.

Re:Selling for Apple? (2, Insightful)

insanecarbonbasedlif (623558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281771)

Yeah, you missed something. The implication is that Apple will sell a lot more hardware because Johansen will increase the amount of Fairplay protected content available.

Re:Selling for Apple? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283117)

Yeah, but I suspect they're making a helluva lot more money on iTunes than with the hardware. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they were actually selling the hardware at a loss or at break-even to ensure their iTunes monopoly.

-Eric

Re:Selling for Apple? (1)

DCstewieG (824956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281819)

This allows companies to USE FairPlay so it will be copy-protected but can still play on an iPod. Did you RTFA?

Confused (5, Funny)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281545)

So, DVD Jon is going into business to *sell* DRM?! And possibly at the expense of Apple?

That sound your just heard is thousands of Slashdotter heads asploding.

The drama abounds... Who will Apple sue first? Will anyone be brave enough to buy a third-party implementation of FairPlay? Will Apple try to thwart this by monkeying with FairPlay to cause compatibility problems, leading to a game of cat and mouse?

Re:Confused (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281983)

  1. The answer to question #2.
  2. No, see question #1.
  3. They were already doing this to Hymn, why would they stop now?

Re:Confused (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282795)

They were already doing this to Hymn, why would they stop now?
Because Real is a huge company and DVDJohn isn't?

Unless his secret backer has really deep pockets, Apple could bury the guy and his company with lawsuits.

Re:Confused (1)

TinyManCan (580322) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281993)

To break the fairplay work-alike that he has implemented, Apple might have to update the firmware on the iPods themselves. Even after that, Jon might have done a good enough job to make his protected content look exactly like Apple suplied content. At that point, Apple will have to decide to break all the older content/iPods, or deal with it.

I imagine that this will eventually push Apple into licensing FairPlay to other content producers, but they will _never_ license FairPlay for new competing hardware devices.

Re:Confused (1)

mikrorechner (621077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282045)

So, DVD Jon is going into business to *sell* DRM?! And possibly at the expense of Apple?

That sound your just heard is thousands of Slashdotter heads asploding.
I guess that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when slashdotters applaud you for having cracked yet another DRM scheme doesn't pay your bills or buy you food. Selling DRM, on the other hand, might do that.

It seems DVD Jon is not an anti-DRM ideologist - he just cracked CSS etc. for the sake of it - because he could. Maybe somebody has more insight as to his motivations?

Re:Confused (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282609)

I suspect he is an anti-authoritarian. He doesn't like monopolies or companies that use patents and licenses to bully everyone else around.

-Eric

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282721)

The decryption code was actually written by someone else. And it also used the GPL css-auth source code even though it was a closed-source windows only binary.

Re:Confused (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282245)

Will anyone be brave enough to buy a third-party implementation of FairPlay?

Anyone who wants to produce a music player (cough Zune cough) without having their customers walk away from any purchased iTMS purchased or go through headaches of burning the CD's and reentering all the track info.

In other words, a lot of people with a lot of money riding on it.

Why wait for 3parties? (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282501)

Just go stright for the source. I can't see this bloke staying out of hot water for very ong.

Re:Confused (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282635)

That sound your just heard is thousands of Slashdotter heads asploding.
Unless you're British, 'assploding' has two s's.

Ton o Bricks time... (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281593)

A: Who wants to bet that Apple has a bunch of patents to happily sue about. Apple doesn't make a boatload of money on the hardware (why else are they able to effectively price-match other MP3 players), but a huge amount from Itunes.

B: They can keep tweaking the format. Having every iPod upgrade break your music and you'll quickly stop buying it.

Re:Ton o Bricks time... (1)

jbssm (961115) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281735)

A: Who wants to bet that Apple has a bunch of patents to happily sue about. Apple doesn't make a boatload of money on the hardware (why else are they able to effectively price-match other MP3 players), but a huge amount from Itunes.


If that's so, then why doesn't Apple allow every mp3 player to play their songs purchased from iTunes? ... after all if the money only comes from iTunes but not from the iPod, Apple would win a huge amount by supporting 3rd party mp3 players!

Re:Ton o Bricks time... (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282057)

They probably don't have a bunch of patents on this because patenting it would disclose how it works. What they don't want to do is disclose how it works, because DRM systems are security through obscurity. And as well DRM systems are hard to patent because they are all basically encrypt content and make the key really really hard to extract.

Re:Ton o Bricks time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16281763)

You've got it backwards. iTunes is a loss leader (Apple doesn't make any money off of it directly), but they use it as a selling feature for iPods, which they *do* make money off of. Maybe you're confusing things with the Xbox?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/11/07/your_99c_b elong/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Ton o Bricks time... (1)

goarilla (908067) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281783)

depends
What's the spread on A ? :D

Re:Ton o Bricks time... (5, Informative)

ALpaca2500 (125123) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281829)

Apple doesn't make a boatload of money on the hardware (why else are they able to effectively price-match other MP3 players), but a huge amount from Itunes.

You have that completely backwards. Apple's profit margin on the iPod is huge compared to what they're making on iTunes downloads...

Re:Ton o Bricks time... (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282773)

Not percentage margin necessarily.

Revenue is more important. An iPod might be about $300 dollars. At 33% profit that's $100 profit for each iPod. 10 cents profit per song requires you to buy 1000 songs (total cost $10,000 not including the iPod). Most iPod owners don't spend that kind of money downloading songs.

Apple sells an average 20 songs or so per iPod. They're making money but only about $2 per iPod. Even if Apple were keeping 100% of the income from iTS it'd still only be $20 profit per iPod. Apple makes plenty of money from iTS at the moment but $150m (1.5b songs at $0.10 margin per song) makes iTSs profits only a little more significant than .mac (1 million subscribers X $99 makes $99m income) to Apples bottom line.

It's not that iTS doesn't make money but it's easy to see how much more important selling iPods is. iTS is just a little extra profit to sweeten things up at the moment. Later on it will become very important.

Re:Ton o Bricks time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282091)

actually i was under the impression that it is in the hardware that apple make most of their money from the ipod/itunes. The bulk of itunes sales money going back to the MAFIAA cartels

Re:Ton o Bricks time... (1)

monkey_dongle (1002300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282583)

you couldn't be more wrong.

apple loses money on the content they sell, and the content providers are hugely disappointed about the minimal amount of money they make from it. this has been widely reported for a LONG time.

apple uses drm to lock people into using their system. their business model is based around selling hardware--not distributing content. content distribution is mostly a means to drive the sale of apple hardware (i.e. ipods).

apple may tweak their drm scheme from firmware update to update, but it has always been compatable with the content they've already sold. to change that would create a rift among their core users, and likely scare people away from buying a new or additional ipod--clearly not in apple's interest.

Re:Ton o Bricks time... (1)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282627)

You have this backwards: Apple makes much more money from selling iPods than it does from iTunes.

from

"But what's the chicken here and what's the egg? Is Apple selling iPods to sell music, for example, or selling music to sell iPods? It is most decidedly the latter. Based on a claimed 1.5 billion song sales at $0.99 each, Apple has made gross revenue from music sales of just under $1.5 billion since 2001. Yet in the same time period the company claims to have sold 60 million iPods, which represent (at an average $200 price) $12 BILLION, or EIGHT TIMES as much revenue."

CSS Encryption... (-1, Offtopic)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281663)

I didn't know Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) supports encryption?! It's good to know that my website [creimer.ws] is now secured. :P

cocEk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16281679)

it will be among out of bus1ness OF AMERICA) today,

Suuuure (5, Interesting)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281773)

Johansen could end up selling a lot of hardware for Apple.

I'm sure Apple will see it that way.

This is yet another example of why DRM is nothing more than a snakeoil-based totally flawed concept. You CANNOT turn the concept of public key cryptography upside down like that. All DRM does is have you create a keypair (or create one for you and send you the private key), then it encrypts media using your public key before it gets to you. Great, except they have to (1) keep the private key accessable to their programs/devices that need to decrypt it and (2) keep it completely away from you (the "owner" of the key) and any other programs that could use it to decrypt media without following their silly restrictions.

Keep trying to hide it in software, keep trying to hide it in hardware, as long as debuggers, logic probes, and soldering irons are available to the general public, someone will always get it. And it only takes one to make it completely pointless. After that there will be a software or hardware solution available to anyone to do the same thing. Or more to the point, the un-drmed media will be in the wild.

Close the analog hole? Trying to force everyone to upgrade to monitors, sound cards (and speakers), TVs, etc. just to restrict what they can do will backfire as well. Eventually people will figure out that there is no benefit to upgrading all this stuff. And let's be honest with outselves, most of the really cool features of Vista have been canceled, it is nothing more than XP + DRM with some OSX eye candy thrown in to make it seem different. OSX is not much better, try loading a debugger while the DVD player app is running. Or even taking a screenshot.

Nobody is waking up going "geeze, my PC, Tivo, DVD burner, and VCR can do way too much, I really wish I could pay a lot more for devices that prevent a lot of the use that is available to me now".

Wow, I guess I really needed to go off on a DRM rant. I feel better.

Finkployd

Re:Suuuure (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282183)

This is yet another example of why DRM is nothing more than a snakeoil-based totally flawed concept. You CANNOT turn the concept of public key cryptography upside down like that.

Not just public key crypto, but crypto itself.

Cryptography is concerned with making it so that Alice can send a message to Bob, without Charlie being able to read it even if he intercepts the message en route.

DRM is concerned with the same thing, except Bob and Charlie are actually the same person.

In crypto, both the sender and intended recipient are assumed to be trusted (or more precisely does not try to deal with the case where they are not). In DRM, the intended recipient is assumed to be untrustworthy. DRM pretends to be an extension/application of crypto, but it fundamentally breaks the most basic assumptions of cryptography.

Re: People will figure out... (1)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282815)

I hope I'm wrong, but I have less faith that "eventually, people will figure out that there is no benefit to upgrading all this stuff." I can't help but think that MS wouldn't have the market share it does in the OS and Browser segments if people were prone to figuring these sorts of things out. When it's time for a new system, consumers by and large seem to run with the default setup, and buy the best complete bundle value (as they perceive it) when Best Buy has a sale. It isn't until later that they realize they've lost capability, and then they probably won't even remember the times their eyes glazed over as their /.er friend tried to warn them about this crap.

I'd be pleased if your view of humanity proved the more accurate 5 years from now.

Re:Suuuure (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282861)

speakers upgarads are point less as you can still rip the sound by hooking up to wires that go to the speaker cone.

Wrong way to approach this... (2, Insightful)

sadler121 (735320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281789)

Currently if I want to get my music on iTunes, I can approach apple with it, and get it DRM'd and then sold on iTunes.

Talk to me when DVD Job offers other MP3 player manufactures that ability to use a FairPlay DRM'd song on there own MP3 player. That is the lock in I would like to eliminate (and apple wants to keep).

Re:Wrong way to approach this... (1)

JazzyJ (1995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282877)

Umm.. that -is- what he's just done. That's what this entire article is about.

Re:Wrong way to approach this... (2, Informative)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283063)

How on earth did that get rated insightful? His point is moot -- the article says he has done exactly what the parent requests.

Obviously neither the parent nor the mods in question read the article at all.

May be non-news... (3, Insightful)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281917)

The author of this article seems confused, or at least implicitly blames Apple for "closing off" the iPod.

The iPod can play non-DRM'd media formats, in mp3, non-FairPlay AAC, etc...

If content from other music stores can't play on the iPod, it's not Apple's fault. It's their own fault, most probably because of the RIAA, for clinging to their own proprietary DRM.

On the other hand, it is Apple's(and the RIAA's) fault that iTMS content cannot play on other devices, and this is why we really need a way to strip FairPlay DRM.

It looks like this technology just benefits the record companies, who want to force all their music licensees into developing proprietary DRM technologies that make every single media device mutually incompatible with every other one.

Sigh.

Luckily, this is old news - Johansen had already circumvented the FairPlay encryption algorithm. He just wanted to develop something which was marketable to other music stores who want to compete with iTMS and who have the RIAA's proverbial gun to their heads. This seems like good news for everyone but the people who are buying the music, and (as I see it) the people who create it, who are tethered to an unfair distribution model.

Re:May be non-news... (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282085)

If content from other music stores can't play on the iPod, it's not Apple's fault.

Sophistry. It's Apple's fault because the iPod deliberately supports a DRM scheme that is only available from Apple, and the only DRM scheme available from Apple only works with the iPod. It's clear and unambiguous lock-in. It is a given that commercial music will have to be encumbered with DRM to be made available at a reasonable price. That other services are unable to provide files with a DRM that is ipod-compatible is a result of Apple's actions and no others.

Re:May be non-news... (2, Insightful)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282179)

If content from other music stores can't play on the iPod, it's not Apple's fault. It's their own fault, most probably because of the RIAA, for clinging to their own proprietary DRM.

Um, yes it IS Apple's fault in a way, because they refuse to license FairPlay to anyone. Hence why DVD Jon has/wants to do so.

For those that didn't RTFM (5, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#16281967)

DVD Jon, didn't break the FairPlay, he emulates it with his software. So he's not in violation of DMCA I think. Just like the Samba project reverse-engineered the SMB protocol, they did the same. So he's going to talk to Steve in January and has at least one (1) customer (Microsoft? haha)

Re:For those that didn't RTFM (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282261)

I can imagine that talk in January will go well. From my read on the article it sounded like he had the talk last January and he's just coming to market with something now.

Jon : Hi Steve..
Jobs : Here's your cease and desist letter , I can have my secretary frame it for you on the way out.

Next week..

Jon announces new software product based on his re-engineering of the DRM to allow people to save files without DRM encumbrance.

Apple saved from Anti-trust in europe (3, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282137)

I believe this saves Apple from the anti-trust case in France that was considering Apple as monopolizing the market. As other vendors can now sell to the Ipod this technology saves Apple from that lawsuit.

DoubleTwist (2, Interesting)

haggie (957598) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282515)

Just look at his business name and you'll understand. DoubleTwist. He's backed Apple into a corner where they are screwed no matter what they do. Fighting his app could require them to change their DRM such that it breaks for existing media which would alienate customers, stir up tons of bad press, and further expose the downsides of DRM. OR They can let his application survive, some music companies will license it, build their own alternative distribution online stores probaby in highly specific niche music markets, and slowly chip away Apple's hegemony.

iPod Icon (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282563)

Can we please update the iPod icon?

Now finish the job (2, Insightful)

burndive (855848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282667)

All he's done is reverse engineer for the sake of interoperability. Now you'll be able to download songs from, say, Walmart for 88 cents and play them on your iPod.

The next step would be to reverse engineer the iPod, so that you can play iTMS tracks on your Zune or iRiver or whatever other device is out there.

As long as the DRM on these other players works just as well as the iPod, the only thing that changes is that the single-vendor lock-in that Apple has worked so hard to create gets shattered. This is good for the consumer, and may perhaps be what finally moves DRM from the "evil" category over to "annoyance" in the mind of consumers, thus increasing the market size.

Only an idiot would voluntarily lock themselves in to a single vendor (Apple, Zune Marketplace) if they had the choice. PlaysForSure was Microsoft's shot at creating an open marketplace for players along with an open market for media players, which, if DRM must exist, is the best market situation from the consumer perspective: you get to pick the best music store (or several of them) and the best player (or several of them). Music and players are interchangeable commodities.

I still don't like the fact that downloaded music is licensed in stead of purchased (as with a CD), but if all DRM were made interoperable (as France recently tried to do), the difference would be tolerable.

I still plan on purchasing CDs for the foreseeable future, but this developement is definitely welcome.

Think Different! (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282701)

I'm sure Apple isn't:)

This will not stand in court (1)

mTor (18585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282787)

Why? Simple reason: to successfully reverse engineer something, you need to hire a 'virgin' software developer who has not seen the code of FairPlay. DVD Jon has cracked FairPlay several times in the past and he has seen the code of FairPlay.

Nice work though...

Re:This will not stand in court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283225)

to successfully reverse engineer something, you need to hire a 'virgin' software developer

which is why I stopped bringing to camp, all those spec sheets and core dumps my mom kept handing to me: (I have to say I much prefer to engineer stuff...forward...on....up front I mean :p )

What's the real story with this guy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282897)

I read that the DVD cracking was carried out by two unnammed crackers in western Europe, which subsequently passed it on to DVDJon, who then posted it to the net. Is this true?

Swedes Don't Care (1)

wolff000 (447340) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282905)

Not really but the laws concerning patents, copyrights and the like are vastly didferent in Sweden I'm sure he'll get a C&D is just want stop him. GO DVD JON! He's one of my pirate heroes!

Swedes Don't Care (0, Redundant)

wolff000 (447340) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282959)

Not really but the laws concerning patents, copyrights and the like are vastly didferent in Sweden. I'm sure he'll get a C&D, it just won't stop him. GO DVD JON! He's one of my pirate heroes!
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