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Jon Lech Johansen, or "DVD Jon", is getting back into the ring with Apple's Fairplay according to GigOM's Liz Gannes. This time, however, Jon plans to replicate Fairplay so that other companies can sell songs in iPod-compatible formats (similar to what Navio and Real's Harmony have previously attempted). According to the article, at least one unnamed company is already on board.

Earlier this summer, Jon joined with Monique Farantzos to create DoubleTwist Ventures, the company face to Jon's recent endeavor. Apparently, Apple's recently announced iTV has spurred Jon and Farantzos' entrepreneurial spirit:

[Jon] and Farantzos were giddy about the prospect of Apple’s iTV, hoping companies will pay up to get movies on the set-top box when it comes out, after seeing the ill effects of being shut off the iPod. Spurned by Apple? Step right up.

Jon has apparently already spoken to Steve Jobs on vague terms about his business ideas.

Jobs apparently warned that while Apple was not a litigious company, other tech firms might not take kindly to whatever DVD Jon might be up to.

DVD Jon had previously circumvented Fairplay's DRM in 2003, and since then multiple other tools have appeared to provide similar functionality for updated versions of Quicktime/iTunes. Jon is also credited for developing an algorithm named deCSS to strip a DVD of its encryption (called Content Scrambling System, or CSS), hence his nickname.
 

geerlingguy

macrumors 6502a
Feb 11, 2003
562
6
St. Louis, USA
As usual, any hack that will come out will probably be hard to use, and <1% of the general computer-using population will ever use it. I don't see this as a big threat, really...

I'd say less than 10% of the general computer-using population even *heard* of the previous iTunes 'Play Fair' stuff (such as Hymn, Harmony, etc.), much less even thought of using it. Don't believe me? Ask your Mom, Grandma, non-geek friends, etc.

More people have heard of the 'DeCSS' programs, but, again, how many have actually used them? I'd say less than 1% of the computer-using public. And most of these people, like me, would only use it to exercise 'fair use' rights (i.e. I'm going on a plane trip, and I rip a DVD I own to my HD to save battery power, then I delete the files after watching it).
 
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whoooaaahhhh

macrumors member
Mar 25, 2006
73
0
Pasadena, CA
Real...

So when will Real be dead? I have a feeling that after our inevitable nuclear war, it'll just be cockroaches, twinkies and them. At least they'll be in good company.
 
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longofest

Editor emeritus
Jul 10, 2003
2,875
1,532
Falls Church, VA
geerlingguy said:
As usual, any hack that will come out will probably be hard to use, and <1% of the general computer-using population will ever use it. I don't see this as a big threat, really...

I'd say less than 10% of the general computer-using population even *heard* of the previous iTunes 'Play Fair' stuff (such as Hymn, Harmony, etc.), much less even thought of using it. Don't believe me? Ask your Mom, Grandma, non-geek friends, etc.

More people have heard of the 'DeCSS' programs, but, again, how many have actually used them? I'd say less than 1% of the computer-using public. And most of these people, like me, would only use it to exercise 'fair use' rights (i.e. I'm going on a plane trip, and I rip a DVD I own to my HD to save battery power, then I delete the files after watching it).

Here's the thing... he isn't making a crack for FairPlay. He is giving a "copy" of FairPlay to other stores, etc, so they can also sell FairPlay encrypted songs and movies. It is basically opening up the iPod (as far as non-programed content goes).

Of course, Navio and Real have done similar things, and we haven't heard from either for a while. Only real difference now is that he's a big name.
 
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Teddy's

macrumors 6502
Apr 5, 2006
441
12
Toronto
croasmun said:
Since when is Apple not a litigious company?
That's right!
When? Since they decided anybody can use the term POD to virtually anything!!!
Podcasts for all!!! horay!!! :rolleyes:
 
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aarond12

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2002
1,126
77
Dallas, TX USA
Does this help Apple?

Think about this: Apple is in hot water with some European countries for the "monopoly" Apple has with its iPod and iTunes Store.

Could DVD Jon's venture help alleviate some of those country's worries?

-Aaron-
 
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balamw

Moderator
Aug 16, 2005
19,366
978
New England
They didn't sue over JustePort or AirFoil (did they?), both of which sould very much like the kind of think they are talking about here...

What is the status of Real's Harmony? It used to say that it would only work on certain firmware revisions, now it just says that it'll work. Weird. Of course that doesn't help iTunes, only the iPod.

B
 
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longofest

Editor emeritus
Jul 10, 2003
2,875
1,532
Falls Church, VA
aarond12 said:
Think about this: Apple is in hot water with some European countries for the "monopoly" Apple has with its iPod and iTunes Store.

Could DVD Jon's venture help alleviate some of those country's worries?

-Aaron-

Good point. Of note, I'm not aware of any pending lawsuits against Navio.

Also the article had a decent point. This all could help push Apple's hardware sales (aka, push iTV sales), which are the crutch of it all for Apple. Of course, I'm sure Apple won't be too crazy if hackers end up doing a bang-up job and ruin the experience for the end user (hence the reason why Apple hasn't allowed UI themes in OSX??? Let's not go there...)
 
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ClimbingTheLog

macrumors 6502a
May 21, 2003
633
0
Captain Crunch

You'd expect Jobs would have some sympathy for the guy, what with his phreaking days before Apple.

ATM, Apple is making its money on the hardware device, so this really shouldn't hurt their profits too much, even if it does hurt the Store. Would it really be so bad if there were dozens of stores that sold content for (effectively) only the iPod? When Apple will freak out is when the Zune plays Fairplay content. With Microsoft flooding the market with billions of dollars of losses to kill its competition, don't expect this to take too long.

Apple is still committed to DRM. When they offer Apple Lossless files for download with CD-writing still enabled then I'll accept that Apple is DRM-ambivalent. Right now they aren't. And with $2 TV shows the bandwidth argument no longer holds water.
 
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wildmac

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2003
1,167
1
ClimbingTheLog said:
You'd expect Jobs would have some sympathy for the guy, what with his phreaking days before Apple.

No honor among theives... :cool:
 
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Leoff

macrumors regular
Jun 8, 2004
140
0
aarond12 said:
Think about this: Apple is in hot water with some European countries for the "monopoly" Apple has with its iPod and iTunes Store.

Could DVD Jon's venture help alleviate some of those country's worries?

-Aaron-

Not really. Apple isn't in "hot water" with "some European countries", France has very strict regulations as far as their TV broadcast formats go and they wanted to try and cross that over into the music territory.
 
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inkswamp

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2003
2,784
881
ClimbingTheLog said:
You'd expect Jobs would have some sympathy for the guy, what with his phreaking days before Apple.

How do you know he doesn't? Back then, he wasn't a CEO responsible for a company's success and having to answer to board members and shareholders. He has other responsibilities. I love how famous people get every little detail of their lives held up as a an "a ha!" kind of thing for every move they make. The stuff he did when he was younger is sort of not relevant anymore, is it?

ClimbingTheLog said:
ATM, Apple is making its money on the hardware device, so this really shouldn't hurt their profits too much, even if it does hurt the Store.

You're exactly right. To me, the refusal to license FairPlay is the single most puzzling thing about Apple right now. With one move, they could have potentially hundreds of content providers wrapped around their finger in the same way MS had so many PC vendors wrapped around theirs in the past two decades. They could lock down the market for many, many years if they did it right. (BTW, I don't advocate that kind of thing, but they could do it and most companies would jump at the chance.) The iTunes music store would probably disappear or gradually fade away but then, Apple doesn't make the bulk of their money off that anyway and perhaps the FairPlay licensing money would cover that loss. Think of the iPod with hundreds of licensed content providers out there trying to outdo each other. I can't imagine why Apple hasn't done it yet.
 
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Mitch1984

macrumors 6502
May 16, 2005
453
28
Telford
I can't believe that people are disgruntled that we are forced to use iTunes with iPod.
iTunes is brilliant.
It's not as if we are forced to use something really crummy like WMP with the worlds favourite MP3 player.

mmmcheese said:
"Unnamed company"

We all know who that is....Real.

& Microsoft.
 
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balamw

Moderator
Aug 16, 2005
19,366
978
New England
inkswamp said:
Think of the iPod with hundreds of licensed content providers out there trying to outdo each other. I can't imagine why Apple hasn't done it yet.
Mitch1984 said:
I can't believe that people are disgruntled that we are forced to use iTunes with iPod.
iTunes is brilliant.
It's not as if we are forced to use something really crummy like WMP with the worlds favourite MP3 player.
That's the problem.

ITunes+iPod succeeds because of its inherent simplicity. Unfortunately choice isn't that simple. Opening up Fairplay isn't enough, since it opens up the iPod, but not iTunes.

EDIT: This was the biggest problem with Real's Harmony. You could add songs to your 'Pod, but as soon as you synced with iTunes, you'd lose the Real songs. Not simple. You'd end up chosing iTunes vs. Real.

B
 
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Clive At Five

macrumors 65816
May 26, 2004
1,438
0
St. Paul, MN
inkswamp said:
You're exactly right. To me, the refusal to license FairPlay is the single most puzzling thing about Apple right now. With one move, they could have potentially hundreds of content providers wrapped around their finger in the same way MS had so many PC vendors wrapped around theirs in the past two decades. They could lock down the market for many, many years if they did it right. (BTW, I don't advocate that kind of thing, but they could do it and most companies would jump at the chance.) The iTunes music store would probably disappear or gradually fade away but then, Apple doesn't make the bulk of their money off that anyway and perhaps the FairPlay licensing money would cover that loss. Think of the iPod with hundreds of licensed content providers out there trying to outdo each other. I can't imagine why Apple hasn't done it yet.

My knowledge on these areas is pretty slim but would Apple be able to license FairPlay content only or would that open up the risk of other companies creating MP3 players that could read FairPlay content and, hence, compete with the iPod? ...or is that some sore of seperate licensure?

-Clive
 
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Hattig

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2003
1,454
88
London, UK
geerlingguy said:
As usual, any hack that will come out will probably be hard to use, and <1% of the general computer-using population will ever use it. I don't see this as a big threat, really...

This isn't a consumer-end hack, it is a retailer-end re-implementation of Fairplay (presumably clean room) for interoperability purposes (legal in Europe, I don't know about the USoA since the DMCA etc).

If it works, Joe Public will see more online services selling iPod (and iTV) compatible media. They'll also see more players and software capable of playing Fairplay protected content.

I'm sure the real purpose is to encourage Apple to license Fairplay to other companies and thus open up the platform. It remains to be seen whether this would be beneficial to Apple, on the one hand their popular on-line store could sell to the other few percent of players on the market, but other stores can compete for Apple's customers, and it might cloudify the neat iPod,iTunes,iTMS integration.
 
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50548

Guest
Apr 17, 2005
5,039
2
Currently in Switzerland
When will this hacking nerd do something REALLY positive and productive to the world?

Last time I heard, his occupation was to break into companies' IPR without any legal permission to do so...not commendable, to say the least.
 
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MacVault

macrumors 65816
Jun 10, 2002
1,144
59
Planet Earth
Good!

I'm glad to see this DRM stuff getting hacked. I hate the DRM and would buy way more music, movies, and TV Shows from iTunes if there was no DRM in the files.
 
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balamw

Moderator
Aug 16, 2005
19,366
978
New England
MacVault said:
I'm glad to see this DRM stuff getting hacked. I hate the DRM and would buy way more music, movies, and TV Shows from iTunes if there was no DRM in the files.
You didn't read the article, did you? This time Jon's working on adding iPod compatible DRM to files not originally from Apple.

B
 
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