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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
According to an article in the New York Times, RealNetworks will debut a technology dubbed "Harmony" tomorrow which mimics the licensing rules of FairPlay, and provides compatibility with the iPod. After attempts by Ron Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks, to contact Steve Jobs to license FairPlay went ignored, Real moved ahead with development of Harmony through reverse engineering. Planning to incorporate the technology into its Rhapsody online music distribution system, Real also admits they have plans to license the technology to other companies, which could open the door for others to provide iPod compatability.


macrumors regular
Jul 16, 2002
Dallas, TX
Does this violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)? I thought it was illegal to reverse engineer copyright systems?


macrumors member
Jun 23, 2003
so... apple doesn't know yet?
it will play on the iPod because its an illegal copy of FairPlay?

heh... wonder what they had to do...

edit: whoa whoaa!!! they're going to license it, too?!


macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2001
Real needs to make their service available to Mac users before they make thier Harmony DRM'd songs available. BUT, I'm sure Apple could easily break Real's software if they want to in their next version of the iPod's firmware.

Mr. MacPhisto

macrumors 6502
Jan 16, 2003
I've got a feeling that Apple's not going to take this one sitting down.

However, it's good to see how much other companies want to plug into the iPod. I remember when they first came out and tons of people thought Apple was off their rockers. Now they've got an item that tons of people are desperate to plug into in order to distribute music.

I think they've figured that the iPod is the reason for ITMS' success, even though Apple has repeatedly told them that online distribution is not a big moneymaker - the iPods are what make the jack. And they're making a lot of it for our favorite computer company. :D


macrumors 604
Apr 19, 2004
Billy:Hey ma! What is that stench?

Ma: Well Billy that stench is a lawsuit.


macrumors newbie
Nov 6, 2003
Troy, NY
Remember when Apple tried to be compatible, and everyone (MS) gave them the cold shoulder? Then Apple went to superhuman lengths to be compatible anyway, and as a result got marginalized. As cruel as it is, clearly Steve learned which method works to keep your spot in the lead... hold it, take it, and let the herd follow if they want.


macrumors 604
Feb 4, 2004
Florida Resident
Yea, it sounds like they will be sued. But perhaps it will sell more iPods. I see no reason to buy from them unless they cut their prices down on their music. Even then, the music might not work in the future.


macrumors newbie
Jun 3, 2004
real bad

i never liked any of real's products. They crashed all the time. I hope they die.

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
zkmusa said:
Does this violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)? I thought it was illegal to reverse engineer copyright systems?
People were able to design clones using the black box method, but as you say this does run afoul of the DMCA this time -- so some of the existing cloner law may not apply.

Even though you designed a clone copyright scheme designed to work with Fairplay, and allow others to sell content for a product, Apple may say you're threatening the integrity of Fairplay.


macrumors regular
Jul 5, 2003
Why won't Real go into a corner and die somewhere. They have always sucked and they still suck.


macrumors 68000
Aug 19, 2003
Denver, CO
ha. . . wow so wait apple *doesnt* license something . . . then someone comes out with something that works in its place. . . and apple gets no money. . . has this happened before? does anyone at apple realize they will make money by licensing a product and letting others use and distribute it? now someone else is going to be licensing something that works and apple probably wont get much money if any!


macrumors 68000
Aug 11, 2003
Now we see exactly why Apple wouldn't license Fairplay to these clowns. This is just a desperate move on Real's part that will only result in a lawsuit. Apple will probably have an update to iTunes and iPod firmware within a week that will make Harmony useless anyway.


macrumors member
Oct 21, 2003
Jesus, you people are touchy. I for one think it's great that Real is willing to go to these lengths to ensure iPod compatibility. Not to mention that they actually put quite a bit of work into making RealPlayer a good OS X app (the same can't be said of another, much larger company with a competing media player...).


Administrator emeritus
Jun 28, 2002
North Central Colorado
from what I understand of it, the DMCA (digital millenium copyright act) says reverse engineering of a digital format is against the law. I would imagine Apple would use this in their litigation if and when that happens.


macrumors newbie
May 21, 2003
More like..

narco said:
It's like not inviting a lame kid to your party, yet he shows up anyway.


It's more like the kid begs you to let him come to the party, but you refuse. Then, he goes and photo copies your invitations and tries to sell them to other people.

....I hate that kid!


macrumors 6502a
Feb 14, 2004
South Jersey
But if Apple has repeatedly stated that they make no (or very little) money on the iTMS, why wouldn't they take a wait & see approach to this ?... This will give more people options to get their music onto an iPod right ?... Could help sell even more iPods, which is really the goal of the iTMS anyway right?...


macrumors member
Jan 6, 2004
Funny how the only company with any integrity in this whole business is Apple. Regardless of what one thinks about their decision to (try to) keep iPod/iTunes a closed platform, they've at least been consistently up-front about why they want to do that: it moves the merchandise. And their results have proven that out. Glaser at RealNetworks is running his mouth about Harmony being all about "user choice," and amazingly the consumer groups are eating it up. But there's nothing altruistic here: it's really all about Glaser trying to prop up the fortunes of his own lagging, also-ran music store. The majority of the populace doesn't care about the music store, they care about the music player. In that regard, they have a ton of choices available, and they're making theirs in droves: the iPod. Glaser's got the tail wagging the dog. And why aren't any of these people busy noticing that all this "consumer choice" is really just saying let's lock everyone into Microsoft's format? There's a world of downside to that outcome that Glaser and others just pretend doesn't exist.
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