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DVD Jon's DoubleTwist Unlocks the iPod

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the making-good-on-steve's-promise dept.

377

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

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Cool Jon! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16550936)

Great news, this will only makes the iPod stronger!

http://www.mil.gov.int.edu.org/ [edu.org]

DMCA (5, Insightful)

justinbach (1002761) | more than 7 years ago | (#16550958)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this constitute a blatant violation via reverse-engineering of the Fairplay DRM? I'm not saying I disagree with his actions, I'm just asking the question...

Re:DMCA (1)

justinbach (1002761) | more than 7 years ago | (#16550996)

And yes, I know that this is discussed in TFA, I'm just curious as to what you guys think (IANAL).

Re:DMCA (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551066)

I'm just curious as to what you guys think (IANAL).

I see you're new here. I think this [groklaw.net] is the blog you're looking for. Because on /. NOIAL.

Re:DMCA (2, Interesting)

Cemu (968469) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551062)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the limiting of consumers' ability to listen, in private, to what they've legally acquired on whatever device they choose a violiation of the copyright act?

Re:DMCA (3, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551122)

Not the most recent copyright act [wikipedia.org] .

Okay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551186)

You're wrong.

(If you'd asked about ethics or morals, you'd have a point.)

Re:DMCA (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551508)

In short, no. In long, I wish Slashdotters would actually read the laws that they assume 'protects' them before commenting on them. Sheesh, Im not even American and I bet I know more about American Copyright Law than most American Slashdotters, purely because I read it before discussing it. Hint - Fair Use is not as wide ranging as some on this site seem to believe, even leaving the DMCA out of the equation for simplicities sake.

Re:DMCA (5, Insightful)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551630)

define legally acquired. No really do it. Do you mean buying it on a CD and using it on something you created yourself. Your fine.

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

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

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

As someone else said, if we talked ethically and morally we could argue this, but this is part of a licensing agreement you agree to when you create your accounts or make your purchases.

Mod Parent Way Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551676)

And everyone else: please stop fucking with iTunes

There are alternatives. Use them if you don't like iTunes or iPods.

Re:DMCA (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551160)

Thankfully he's not from the United States so it doesn't apply to him or anyone outside of US borders.

Re:DMCA (5, Insightful)

strider44 (650833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551322)

He's currently living in the US though (in San Francisco, according to Wikipedia), so it could very quickly apply to him.

Re:DMCA (1)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551336)

He's now living/working in the US.

Re:DMCA (4, Funny)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551398)

He's now living/working in the US.


Funny, I've never seen "imprisoned" spelled with a slash.

Re:DMCA (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551374)

Umm.. but he's living in California and that's where his new startup company is incorporated.

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


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

Re:DMCA (2, Insightful)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551604)

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

No, I don't agree with the law. But I'm seeing if this can feasibly work within the current legal structure.

Re:DMCA (0)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551176)

he is not a US citizen nor will he ever set foot in the US again given his last experience.

Re:DMCA (1)

strider44 (650833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551292)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] : He now works in the United States as a software engineer.

Re:DMCA (4, Funny)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551230)

I think it would be funny if his inventions couldn't be sold in the US, but could be sold everywhere else. Maybe Kim Jong II would wear one, smug in his knowledge that the device is illegal in the US.

Re:DMCA (4, Funny)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551696)

Since his inventions have been software, I think I would pass on seeing Kim Jong Il wearing one. Emporer's New Clothes and all that.

Re:DMCA (0, Offtopic)

gb506 (738638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551332)

Frankly, I'm surprised the guy hasn't been ventilated yet.

Re:DMCA (1)

SomeGuyTyping (751195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551404)

What?

Re:DMCA (1)

gb506 (738638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551528)

To clarify, I'm surprised he's not been plugged full of lead at the behest of some company or group of companies. Not advocating it, just looking at it from a Machiavellian perspective.

Re:DMCA (1)

Mikachu (972457) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551424)

If you RTFA, it says that in the US, it would be illegal, but the dude lives in Norway, which is why he was acquitted.

Re:DMCA (1)

joshsisk (161347) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551642)

IF you RTFA you will note that his company is based in California, and he lives in California now.

Re:DMCA (3, Informative)

tranceyboy (1016910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551492)

there is legal room when you aim is to establish interoperability, the illegal comes when it's jsut meant to curcumvent, ie illegal uses.

iTunes is the real concern.. (4, Interesting)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16550962)

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

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (4, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551024)

And you didn't back up your purchased music files because...?

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (5, Insightful)

Senzei (791599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551148)

And you didn't back up your purchased music files because...?
...he didn't expect to need to? Considering you have to authorize a computer to play files to begin with why should there be any limits on the number of times you can download a file?

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551360)

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

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

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (0)

GmAz (916505) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551470)

But what happens when your backup media fails? I had an external hard drive that I kept very good care of. It was only turned on when I was backing up files. Kept in a safe spot. My computer on the other hand ran about 18 hours a day...temperatures often rached 45C and the hard drive in it was always doing something. Virus scan when the screensaver was on, bittorrent, etc. But what happened...my backup hard drive failed bout 2 years after I got it. It had very few hours of actual use as opposed to my desktop's hard drive that had day and days of use and it is still running. The only thing I didn't lose was my family pictures because I happened to burn them to DVD to play on my TV. That was fortunate. All in all, backup media fails too. There is no reason why I or anyone else can't re-download a song I already purchased the rights to own.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551680)

That's why you are supposed to have multiple backups (not that I do). But what are the chances for the average person of losing both the backup and the main drive at the same time?

Like I said, Apple is nice (and I think they should be REQUIRED to let you redownload things by law). But to not have any backup is foolhardy.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551394)

If he didn't expect to need to, despite the fact that every time you download somethign from iTunes it says, right there, that you should immediately make a backup copy of your music, this is the only copy Apple will give you, I'd say..'See dumbass...THIS is why we keep harping on you to make backups!'

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (0)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551402)

There are warnings in iTunes that tell you to back up your downloaded music. Not sure when they started appearing.. version 6 maybe? Don't really remember anymore. Think it shows up the first time you try to buy music.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (5, Informative)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551026)

If you email Apple they'll let you download all your music again through iTunes.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (1)

justinbach (1002761) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551036)

Yeah, the same thing almost happened to me when my laptop was stolen. Luckily, I still had my iPod, so I used iPodrip [thelittleappfactory.com] to recover my music. Since then, every month or so I check to see how much music I've bought from iTMS and I burn whatever I have to disc. And I've also bought a kensington lock ;-)

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (3, Informative)

Sharkus (677553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551070)

Not strictly true. iTunes 7 willallow you to transfer iTMS songs on your iPod to another computer, have a look here: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=iTune sMac/7.0/en/2586x.html [apple.com] I'm also sure that it is possible to get Apple to let you download your purchased tracks again. I think you're limited to doing it once a year or some other very infrequent period. I'm trying to find the support doc that details this, as I have read it in the past.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (1)

Sharkus (677553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551254)

hmm, maybe I imagined it! However, this page [apple.com] does have a form where you could put in a request about not being able to find your purchased music. The downside is that the policy [apple.com] on downloaded content does mention it can only be downloaded once and you should back things up, which isn't overly helpful.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (4, Informative)

berj (754323) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551088)

Think again... apparently you get a one-time get out of jail free card.

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

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

Note that I've not verified this but I'll take Wil's word on it. In any case it's worth a try.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551444)

I had to send an email to iTMS customer support once when it b0rked a download.

Back in the iTunes 4 days (right after the iTMS showed up on the scene), you would download the song, and when it was done downloading, it would notify the remote-side (the iTMS) that the file was received, then it would generate the DRM wrapper (which required further calls to iTMS). Once, after it had already downloaded the track but had not yet generated the DRM, it timed out when connecting to the iTMS and dropped the file into the ether. I didn't get the song, but the iTMS had already been notified that the download had finished, therefore it wouldn't allow me to get the song again (without paying, that is). I sent an email to their customer service address, and the next day, the file was waiting in the download queue for my account. I haven't had any problems since then. That particular issue was fixed in iTunes 4.1. Now it doesn't flag it as "downloaded" until it generates the DRM wrapper.

Spread the Word (0)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551240)

``Apparently not - once you've downloaded music on iTunes, you don't get to download it again. What a waste of money.''

Yay, another one figured it out. Spread the word!

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (1)

The Mysterious X (903554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551248)

Actually, you can. Contact apple support, and on a case by case basis they will allow redownloading in mitigating circumstances.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (2, Informative)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551270)

.. at least, it is for me. I bought some music from iTunes a while ago, when my iPod was still working, and - oh the irony - lost it when I switched over to a Mac Mini. So what did I do? I tried to download the music in question, since I'd paid for it, right? Apparently not - once you've downloaded music on iTunes, you don't get to download it again. What a waste of money.
This is your fault for not reading the terms of service, which are quite clear that you are paying for the rights to the song and the bandwidth to download them once.

When you are selling literally billions of tracks, letting everyone re-download their files over and over again is a great way to burn cash. Apple's bandwidth bill would be simply ridiculous if they permitted it. iTunes isn't like the new version of Windows Media Player which will let you back up your files, but not the licenses that go with them. You can put the files anywhere, on as many computers as you like and request that any computer they are on be authorized to play them, with a maximum of 5 computers authorized to actually play them at any given time. You can individually authorize and de-authorize computers at will, as often as you like, or manually de-authorize them all at once once a year if you reach the maximum number of authorized computers. Not the "You can only authorize 5 computers and if you want to change that you can only do it once a year" misinformation that is always talked about.

iTunes has an integrated backup feature [stunningabsurdity.com] that will sync your entire library or just purchased files to CDs or DVDs.

You are just another in a long line of customers that don't bother to pay attention to the terms they agreed to, only to be surprised when things don't turn out the way they want them to.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (5, Funny)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551498)

This is your fault for not reading the terms of service
Heh, that's funny, because when it's Microsoft putting something shady in THEIR EULA, it's their fault. Not ours.

Oh, how quickly the tables turn for Apple.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551628)

You can put the files anywhere, on as many computers as you like and request that any computer they are on be authorized to play them, with a maximum of 5 computers authorized to actually play them at any given time.

Or you could just buy used CDs and rip 'em.

KFG

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (1)

GrBear (63712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551364)

Brick and Morter is a real concern.. at least, it is for me. I bought some CD's from Best Buy a while ago. I lost them when I loved, So what did I do? I tried to get a free replacement CD since I'd paid for it before, right? Apparently not - once you've taken the CD, you don't get to take it again. What a waste of money. *rolls eyes*

Yes, because iTunes should keep a backup for you in perpetuity because your an idiot.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (4, Informative)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551516)

Yes, because iTunes should keep a backup for you in perpetuity because your an idiot.

iTMS already has a 'backup'; the server-side copy that they're selling to everyone else. And you'd be a fool not to believe that they archive every single user's buying history (Heck, probably even what songs you sample) for marketing/later resale. All's that missing is a connection between the two (which, given other posts in this thread, apparently already exists if you call in person to ask for it).

Love is the real concern.. (2, Funny)

Teun (17872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551650)

I bought some CD's from Best Buy a while ago.
OK.

I lost them when I loved,
Can you talk about it in public?

So what did I do?
Please tell us all about it!

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551476)

Um. I did the same thing, switched to an intel mac mini. itunes let me redownload the songs I'd paid for without any questions.

Re:iTunes is the real concern.. (1)

mjperson (160131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551588)

It might be inconvenient if you didn't back things up, but it's hardly a waste of money.

Once you buy a CD, when you lose it during a move or something, the store doesn't give you a new one. Nor should they.

well done Jon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16550974)

What user actually wants/needs DRM anyway.

What is stopping developers (1)

stecoop (759508) | more than 7 years ago | (#16550984)

As you can see [wikipedia.org] , Dvd Jon has done a lot of things. The biggest question I have is why are so many companies affraid of developing portable software? I mean this guy write 300 lines of code enabling Linux machines (via VLC) to what some types of media. Now why don't more companies want this freedom? My comment is to ask the EFF.

Re:What is stopping developers (1)

justinbach (1002761) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551076)

I mean this guy write 300 lines of code enabling Linux machines (via VLC) to what some types of media.

THIS guy write 1 line of post to "what?" some types of slashdotters.

Re:What is stopping developers (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551106)

It's because he wrote 300 lines of code. When he writes 300,000 lines of code that's portable, then you can come back and use him as an example.

niave (2, Insightful)

llZENll (545605) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551032)

Basing your lifes work and new company on an obscure quote from 4 years ago seems a bit niave. If we held all companies responsible for promises from their CEOs no company would ever stand up to it.

If Apple wants to DRM their music that is their choice. If people want to buy DRM music that is their choice. No one is forcing you to buy iPods, iTunes, or CDs, if you don't like it, don't buy it. Just because it's socially acceptable to hack DRM doesn't mean its legal or right.

It's called 'freedom' (4, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551084)

Good thing we don't base our lives around things said in the Constitution in the 1700s, eh?

Re:niave (5, Insightful)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551108)

If we held all companies responsible for promises from their CEOs no company would ever stand up to it.

    Agreed. And yet, imagine if there was a company which *did* keep promises. Those promises, over time, might actually MEAN something.

Re:niave (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551132)

you can have the legal but I disagree on "Right" What is "Right" is often only tangentially related to what is socially acceptable or legal. It has only been illegal to own slaves in a large part of the US for 140 years. That doesn't mean it was right then, socially accepted or no. Locking down our cultural heritage so that it may be lost in the immediate future may be legal and socially acceptable, but that doesn't make it right either. Libertarian free-market rantings have nothing to do with it. The "Real" libertarian stance ought to be: if you don't want it distributed, don't fucking release it.

Re:niave (1)

jshine (321403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551172)

To some extent I agree with this. I have no problem voting with my wallet on this issue: I don't like Apple's practices with regards to IP/DRM, and consequently I haven't given them a dime since the 80's.

Hmmmm. (4, Insightful)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551208)

Just because it's corporately and governmentally acceptable to encumber devices with DRM may mean it's legal, but it doesn't mean it's right.

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

Re:niave (2, Interesting)

mei_mei_mei (890405) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551262)

Hacking DRM may not be legal, but it is right.

Re:niave (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551286)

``If we held all companies responsible for promises from their CEOs no company would ever stand up to it.''

Well, then they would have a financial incentive to keep their promises. Wouldn't that be a Good Thing?

Re:niave (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551290)

If people want to buy DRM music that is their choice. No one is forcing you to buy iPods, iTunes, or CDs, if you don't like it, don't buy it.

But they are violating the terms of the spirit of copyright laws of the constitution. Like others have said... Copyrights are tempoary and DRM circumvents this aspect of the law.

Re:niave (1)

muenzer (894438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551348)

I think it's called 75%+ market share.

Re:niave (5, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551366)

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

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

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

Re:niave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551466)

DRM is a violation of a persons fair use rights which the courts, at one time, took great care to assure we had with copyrighted material. DRM itself should be completely illegal. So no, it is not apples' right to include DRM in music and lock people into one device for playing it.

Re:niave (1)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551502)

Basing your lifes work and new company on an obscure quote from 4 years ago seems a bit niave.

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

Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (-1, Offtopic)

spirit_fingers (777604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551086)

It's fairly easy to play DRM'd iTunes Music Store music on any MP3 player. All you do is burn an audio CD from the DRM'd files and then rip that CD into MP3s. That's it. You might have to rip at higher bitrate to make sure you capture all the original audio information, but it's perfectly doable--and legal.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (5, Insightful)

Admodieus (918728) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551116)

You must not have that big of a music library if you don't realize something is very wrong with this. I should not have to pay for hundreds of blank CDs just to be able to transfer my music collection.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (1)

spirit_fingers (777604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551190)

At 15 cents per blank CD I'm not going to worry about it. Besides, I can simply use a CR-RW disc and just keep re-using it if I'm too cheap.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551174)

See lossy vs lossless.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551200)

It's fairly easy to play DRM'd iTunes Music Store music on any MP3 player. All you do is burn an audio CD from the DRM'd files and then rip that CD into MP3s.

It's fairly easy to further degrade shitty quality 128k AAC files from iTunes. All you do is burn an audio CD from shitty quality compressed DRM'd AAC files and then rip that CD into another shitty, lossy, and compressed audio codec of your choice (in this case MP3).

Great idea.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (1)

spirit_fingers (777604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551246)

If you rip the audio CD at 256K you'll have an almost sonically identical copy of the original AAC file. But yeah, the ITMS 128K originals are not nearly audiophile quality to begin with.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551312)

And a complete pain. Tell that to someone who has bought say 20-50 CDs worth of music off iTunes (not me, I just have the free album that came with my iPod).

"You can use whatever player you want. All you have to do is waste 50 blank CD-Rs (or a CD-RW)) by copying your music to CD then back. Best of all, after you've wasted all that time, you'll have to waste space by using lower compression just to get it to sound about the same."

The fact is, I'd have a hard time switching off the iPod if I wanted to unless the new player supported AACs. I've got about half my music collection ripped off of CDs into AAC and I would not want to do it again just to switch.

But then again, I'm quite happy with my iPod. I don't think too much of iTMS, but I like having physical property (the CD), not a licence to some bits.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (5, Informative)

spirit_fingers (777604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551376)

There are actually quite a few non-Apple players that support unprotected AAC. AAC is not an Apple-proprietary format. It's owned by Dolby and Apple is merely a licensee.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551552)

I'm aware. I just mentnioned that because at this stage I can't go to any player on the market like I could a few years ago when I had everything in MP3s.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (3, Informative)

UncleFluffy (164860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551354)

It's actually a lot easier than that. Use a faked-up sound driver that dumps the audio to a file. Works every time.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551432)

``It's fairly easy to play DRM'd iTunes Music Store music on any MP3 player. All you do is burn an audio CD from the DRM'd files and then rip that CD into MP3s. That's it.''

Easy, perhaps, but time-consuming and labor intensive. Not exactly what you would be paying for when using iTunes, whose major selling point is convenience (at least, it's neither cheap, nor do you get great value).

``You might have to rip at higher bitrate to make sure you capture all the original audio information,''

It won't help. The AAC files iTunes sells already aren't great quality (according to independent listening tests; of course, Apple will tell you different). You can never get back the information that was lost in the conversion to AAC, and you will be losing more information in the conversion to MP3, no matter what bitrate you use.

``but it's perfectly doable--and legal.''

So are buying your music on CDs (which gives you higher quality and no DRM), buying it from AllofMP3 (AFAIK; IANAL; AllofMP3 lets you determine format and bitrate/quality, and does not impose DRM on you), and, in many places (but not the USA, AFAIK), copying music from a friend or downloading it off your favorite filesharing network.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (1)

spirit_fingers (777604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551534)

I never said that ITMS files sounded great to begin with. They're pretty mediocre, in fact. My point was simply that it's relatively easy to make unprotected copies that sound very close to them.

And I agree that buying commercial CDs is a better way to go if you want better audio quality. Again, that's a separate issue.

Re:Jon Lech Johansen has it wrong... (1)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551640)

If it's so trivial, what's the problem with putting a "burn to MP3" button up there next to "burn to CD"? Somehow, I don't think it's Steve Jobs' holdings of Memorex stock.

DVD Jon's not going about it right (2, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551144)

The problem isn't that he's writing software that allows people to copy music to other devices they own. As has been said, that's allowed.

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

If DVD Jon was smart, he'd write software that would unlock FairPlay, allow the user to copy it to another device, and then lock it down again (through FairPlay or whatever else). If the user wanted to copy it to 5 devices that he/she owned, he would have to copy it manually to each one, and it would always lock afterwards. That way, he would get Apple/MPAA/etc. off his back. Heck, he could even make a worthwhile business out of it.

Instead, he's created software that unlocks and stays unlocked. It just looks like a thinly-veiled tool for piracy.

If you want to play the word game ("Steve Jobs said this") don't mince them, Jon. He didn't say we should create tools to totally strip DRM so we could then copy files across the net. Artists make enough money already, they won't miss it, blah blah blah -- fact of the matter is there are artists who *are* working to eat, and we have to respect copyrights at least a little for them. Otherwise may as well throw out capitalism in the digital distribution age.

Brilliant! (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551358)

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

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

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

Re:Brilliant! (2, Interesting)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551686)

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


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

If you do something illegal with the tools, that's your problem. Same could be said of owning a car. Or a gun. Or a freaking two by four for that matter.


I don't know where you live, but there's mafia around here. If a gunshop is consistently selling to the family, the police raid them. If a used car salesman continually sells them black cars with tinted windows, to the family the police raid them. If your tools -- the "car or gun or two by four" or whatever -- are continually used to commit piracy like DVD Jon's, you're going to get fingered. Regardless if you committed the act or not.

Re:DVD Jon's not going about it right (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551440)

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

Pardon me, but what happens if the device you own doesn't support any DRM whatsoever?

Re:DVD Jon's not going about it right (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551598)

I don't know of any commercial devices that don't support some kind of DRM.

As for "alternative" devices or building your own, well -- society has set up these rules. You don't have to buy commercial music. Somewhere along the line, someone decided "Hey, if I work I should get paid for it" and the idea stuck. If more people agreed with you that no DRM was the way to go, you'd see a concerted effort by consumers to buy such devices. You don't.

Re:DVD Jon's not going about it right (2, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551486)

``The problem isn't that he's writing software that allows people to copy music to other devices they own. As has been said, that's allowed.''

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

Re:DVD Jon's not going about it right (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551566)

If you're talking about the DCMA, the courts have already shown that they can tell the difference between truly legitimate and illegitimate tools to circumvent protection. Notice that the "use the DMCA and we'll win" argument rarely actually works in the courtroom. The few times it does work (e.g. Blizzard and bnetd) is because there's a real reason why circumventing the protection is a problem (allows people to play the game without buying it). Often when people shout "DCMA" on Slashdot, it's more of a "sky is falling" kind of thing. Every time the RIAA or another company uses DCMA to bring in a 12-year old, they get laughed out of court.

Re:DVD Jon's not going about it right (2, Insightful)

thebigbluecheez (1010821) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551524)

I'll bite. from the article: To let other sites sell music that plays on the iPod, his program will "wrap" songs with code that functions much like FairPlay. "So we'll actually add copy protection," he says, whereas the DMCA prohibits removing it. Helping other devices play iTunes songs could be harder to justify legally, but he cites the DMCA clause that permits users, in some circumstances, to reverse-engineer programs to ensure "interoperability." It would appear, based mostly on having read TFA, that his main focus is allowing music bought on other systems (sporting Plays-For-Sure, possibly) to play on iPods without defeating the encryption. Now that seems like a pretty fair way of going about things.

The best thing to be taken from DVD Jon's work is (5, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551146)

{IANAL and other disclaimers here}
The best thing about DVD Jon's work is that it proves, disturbingly and resoundingly, that the current *AA business model based on DRM is at best faulty, and at worst an attack on fair use and civil liberties. While that sounds a bit over the top, imagine a world where there were no DVD Jon's to show that the big corporations locks can be picked. Imagine a world where the emporer's new clothes were never laughed at?

The point being that this only serves to help illuminate, in the minds of lawmakers, how feeble the current DRM schemes and laws really are, whether the work is ultimately found illegal or not.

Re:The best thing to be taken from DVD Jon's work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551362)

I thought "civil liberties" were things like "freedom of religion" and "right to assemble" and such, not the injustice of paying .99 for the latest Britney Spears hit and not be able to exercise the constitutionally-guarenteed right to copy it to another mp3 player.

Re:The best thing to be taken from DVD Jon's work (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551480)

That's a point a lot of people seem to be missing. Well said, BTW.

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

Go DVD Jon!

Re:The best thing to be taken from DVD Jon's work (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551582)

``The best thing about DVD Jon's work is that it proves, disturbingly and resoundingly, that the current *AA business model based on DRM is at best faulty, and at worst an attack on fair use and civil liberties.''

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

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

Heroes (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551260)

There are still some heroes still in the world of technology.

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

DMCA type laws are a perversion of the rights balance between content producers and consumers. They should be abolished, not enhanced.

The Johansen Twist (1)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551406)

Is it like the swirl?

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551434)

In 2004, RealNetworks released a program called Harmony that would allow songs from its RealPlayer Music Store to play on the iPod. Steve Jobs memorably accused the company of using "the ethics and tactics of a hacker" and threatened to sue.


With quotes like this why does Apple have so much geek cred?

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551622)

They don't have geek cred. They have designer cred.

Serves 'em right. (5, Insightful)

ottffssent (18387) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551472)

I'm sure this makes me unpopular, but I'm going to say it anyway. Anyone who buys DRM'd music is either an idiot or ignorant, and it's a shame so few of them have learned their lesson yet. In this case, you're paying for a vague not-a-promise that you can probably listen to the music now and if you're really lucky you'll be able to listen in the future.

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

That should get some discussion going.

Re:Serves 'em right. (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551620)

Anyone who buys DRM'd music is either an idiot or ignorant...

Generalize much?

In this case, you're paying for a vague not-a-promise that you can probably listen to the music now and if you're really lucky you'll be able to listen in the future.

I bought a few albums from the iTunes store. They were encoded with the fairplay DRM. I bought them because they were a convenient way to get music I wanted, but that did not seem to be making its way into the used CD stores nearby. After downloading them, I burned them to standard CD format (removing the DRM) and I used a program to legally strip off the DRM restrictions using my valid key, and thus not breaking any encryption (no DMCA issues). ow at this point I have the music I want, on CD and AAC, with no DRM, exactly as though I had bought a used CD with no cover art in the the record store.

Explain to me how this means I'll be "lucky" if I'm able to play these songs in the future. Explain to me how this method makes me any more of an idiot than the other.

So the only reason I can buy a CD and turn it into MP3s yet can't buy those MP3s to start with is because some jackass in a skyscraper either doesn't understand his own business or is trying really hard to pretend not to.

No, some jackass in a skyscraper figured out a way to sell the same music multiple times and to sell music via a cheaper medium, that would still result in that music breaking and needing to be repurchased, for the average consumer, the same way the average consumer needs to repurchase CDs as they break or as music players evolve.

Why do you, bums, still use iTunes, etc.? (2, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551536)

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

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

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

his luck will run out one day (1)

Petkov (1011081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551698)

someday he will step on the toes of somebody who has bigger shoes than him. he will be sued and the theatrics surrounding his trial will easily be more amusing than SCO/IMB one. I for one can't wait
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