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Real Harmonizes secure music

Written by Jari Ketola @ 27 Jul 2004 14:16 User comments (1)

Real Harmonizes secure music RealNetworks has released Harmony Technology, which, according to Real, is a "transcoding and transcrypting" software. Using Harmony consumers can transfer content from various DRM formats to formats supported by various portable players.
Harmony Technology supports all major file types and their DRM protection including MP3, AAC, WMA and RealAudio. With Harmony Real's RealPlayer Music Store supports more than 70 secure portable media devices, including all 4 generations of the iPod and iPod mini, 14 products from Creative, 14 from Rio, 7 from RCA, 9 from palmOne, 18 from iRiver, and products from Dell, Gateway, and Samsung. Generally speaking, Harmony supports any device that uses the Apple FairPlay DRM, The Microsoft Windows Media Audio DRM, or the RealNetworks Helix DRM, giving RealPlayer Music Store support for more secure devices than any other music store on the Internet.

RealNetworks has tried to form an alliance with Apple for quite a while now, but in vain. Apple has consistently refused to license its DRM technology to third parties, which eventually resulted in the creation of Harmony. With Harmony iPod users can choose where to buy their songs online -- they are no longer restricted to using iTunes. Apple may eventually find that allying with Real might have been a good move afterall.

Apple hasn't so far commented on Harmony Technology. Since the DRM technology has not been licensed Real has had to reverse engineer the Apple FairPlay DRM. Reverse engineering a copy protection can be in violation of the DMCA law, even though in Harmony's case the DRM is just converted from one format to another.

The Harmony Technology preview is available at .

eMusic has critized that Real's information is misleading -- it only applies to stores that sell DRM crippled content. eMusic offers more than 400,000 tracks in MP3-format, which is supported by virtually every player on the market and is still de-facto standard of digital music.

"Universal compatibility is critical to the growth of the digital music market," said David Pakman, Managing Director, Dimensional Associates, Inc. the private equity firm that owns, Inc. "The MP3 format is already the established standard providing universal portability and compatibility. When consumers buy digital music, they want to be sure it will play everywhere. Music sold through eMusic plays on any and every digital music device."

Sources: RealNetworks press release, eMusic press release

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1 user comment

129.7.2004 5:35

This is great news for those of us who own mp3/wma players that wouldn't support that drm stuff. Unfortunatly i broke down and bought a rio cali that does play drm last weekend...I guess i'll have to sell my memorex and memory card on ebay...

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