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California company vows to hack Apple FairPlay DRM

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 22 Nov 2005 19:58 User comments (8)

California company vows to hack Apple FairPlay DRM A California-based company has revealed that it plans to hack Apple's FairPlay Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology and then offer a product that will allow other companies to sell music that will work with an iPod. FairPlay is the DRM technology used on iTunes purchased tracks. Songs bought through iTunes will only plan on an iPod or a Motorola ROKR phone. Apple simply refuses to license its DRM technology to third parties.
This gives Apple a huge advantage over the rest of the digital music market. Firstly they have the biggest selling MP3 player and then secondly the most successful music download service. If someone wants their iTunes music on a portable device, they need an iPod, and if they have an iPod and want to buy music downloads, they need iTunes. It's a win/win situation for Apple. If this company succeeds, other music stores may offer songs compatible with iPods.

This wont be the first time that this has happened though. Last year, RealNetworks failed to convince Apple to license its DRM technology, and decided to use "other methods" to offer songs to iPod owners. Apple accused Real of cracking and eventually released a software update for iPods that blocked the music that came from Real. There have also been other projects that allowed users to purchase music from iTunes that didn't contain any DRM protection at all - it was completely limit free.

Apple's grip on FairPlay has also managed to anger music labels as many more copy protected CDs are being produced. Sony BMG blamed Apple for consumers not being able to store music from some of their distributed CDs on their iPods and demanded that Apple license the FairPlay technology. However, just days ago, EMI announced that it would soon release CDs that will be "iPod compatible".

Navio Systems, the California-based company determined to crack FairPlay, agrees with the approach that Real took to offer music to iPod owners. "Typically, we embrace and want to work with the providers of the DRM," said Ray Schaaf, Navio's chief operating officer. "With respect to FairPlay, right now Apple doesn't license that, so we take the view that as RealNetworks allows users to buy FairPlay songs on Rhapsody, we would take the same approach."


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8 user comments

123.11.2005 3:08

*cough* CORPORAL GREED! -Mike

223.11.2005 7:04

Apple will still make money off of the songs sold on itunes, and itunes isn't so great people buy an ipod just for it, right? I don't get the significance of this, but I know it's tech news, and should get mentioned on this site.

323.11.2005 22:56

Apple will still make money off of the songs sold on itunes, and itunes isn't so great people buy an ipod just for it, right? I don't get the significance of this, but I know it's tech news, and should get mentioned on this site.
Well, it gets more interesting when you think that circumvention of copy protection is illegal, so this company is pretty much breaking the law if it succeeds. It would be interesting to see a resulting court case although Apple and RealNetworks never went that far after Real launched Harmony, which allowed users to buy songs for iPod from Real - something Apple got very pissy about. The fact is, the iPod is the most sold MP3 player and for people who want to actually buy music downloads, they only have one single choice and that is iTunes. This company wants to make a product that would allow iTunes' rivals also offer music for iPods and perhaps then boost sales? Especially if they decide to cut the price of music downloads under Apple's 99c (79p) per track policy? And of course... DRM sucks anyway

424.11.2005 22:00

I dont get this. I was under the impression that you could: -- add music that you ripped from a CD to iTunes music library and from there put them onto your iPod? In Fact this seems to be exactly what Apple states at: --Crack FairPlay?? What about jHYMM?? It removes the infecting DRM from the songs you purchase from iTune Store? If I can rip a cd to mp3's and put them on an iPod exactly what is the issue here?? Certainly not the plainly stated one to "offer a product that will allow other companies to sell music that will work with an iPod" Perhaps what they mean is to allow other companies to sell DRM infected music files that will work with an iPod since it seems the only mp3 that an iPod won't play is one that is infected with DRM that is NOT Apple's FairPlay DRM. I don't own an iPod and I do NOT buy music that takes away my rights to fair use so this doesn't really affect me. It just seemed that this article was filled with a bunch of misleading propaganda about competitors 'Fair Use' of a proprietary DRM or of a companies refusal to support other forms of DRM. To those 'behind the scene'... Boo Hoo...Apple won't let you do what you want with the product your selling..well now you know a little bit about how YOUR CUSTOMERS feel about YOU infecting their music with rights hampering DRM and not letting them do what they want with THEIR PURCHASED product! **Just say NO to infected/defective music**

524.11.2005 22:00

I hope that this company's plans include cracking the DRM for m4v video files offered by iTunes.

624.11.2005 23:08

Ah the wolves are feeding on themselves now. My brother had an IPod until someone felt they needed more than he did. I asked him why pay to have songs that you already have on a CD. I may buy him a another MP3 player this Christmas. So he doesn't look like all the other Jack Balls out there with their IPods.

725.11.2005 19:57

This MP3 technology just seems to be more trouble than it's worth. I'll just stick with the trusty old turntable. Corporate crybabies are ruining music anyhow. Why should we as consumers invest in things that work against consumers? Old school audio may be imperfect and bulky but it sure is a lot less hassle.

828.11.2005 4:58 and forget all this crap!

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