Navio threatens to hack Apple iTunes Music Store’s FairPlay DRM à la Real’s ‘Harmony’

“A company that specializes in rights-management technology for online stores has declared its plans to reverse-engineer the FairPlay encoding system Apple uses on iTunes Music Store purchases,” Jim Dalrymple reports for Playlist. “The move by Cupertino-based Navio Systems would essentially break Apple’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) system in order to allow other online music retailers to sell downloads that are both DRM-encoded and iPod-compatible by early 2006.”

“‘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.’ Navio’s Schaaf insists that his company won’t be fazed by Apple’s vow to thwart attempts to make FairPlay-compatible files without Apple’s blessing. ‘As technology advances with a software release or a different encoding scheme, you also need to have grandfathered rights for prior versions of songs,’ Schaaf said. ‘If a change is made or required then we would do it just the same way that Real or others would do it,'” Dalrymple reports. “‘For us it’s about the issuing of a right that grants you access to data or content and even non-commercial things like a calendar, for instance,’ Schaaf added. ‘Fundamentally we believe the best opportunity for us today is in the digital content space. That’s where we have been focusing with customers such as Fox, Sony and others that we haven’t announced yet.'”

Full article here.

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RealNetworks says ‘Harmony’ hack once again compatible with all Apple iPods – April 26, 2005
The Motley Fool: RealNetworks’ new Rhapsody ‘is still largely on the sidelines of the music war’ – April 26, 2005
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Real’s CEO Glaser: ‘Harmony’ hack legal, Mac lovers are very sensitive to Apple criticism, and more – September 14, 2004
Analyst: Rob Glaser’s ill-advised war against Apple ‘is going to bite RealNetworks on the ass’ – August 30, 2004
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  1. Okay, so they break theFairPlay DRM and now we have access to more music, is it still going to be the easy, no-brainer process it is now, or we going to have to install more software for different music services and clutter the entire process up again?

  2. At the RATE of technological advances, syncing one format to another’s in one point in time seems futile.

    I as an AAPL shareholder, I like the idea of Apple licensing Fairplay and getting a piece of digital music / video sales from other venues. It will certainly lock in Apple as the media hardware kind. The bad thing is that it is a slippery slope to license the encoding and not th edecoding to other hardware.

    iTMS is a great place to shop and regardless of DRM format, I would choose to shop there over the WMA-store also-rans if I could, but the whole lockin is vey valuable and until Apple feels they have obliterated the competition, there will not be a compelling reason to open up the DRM to others – of course at that point, there will be no reason to open up the DRM to others anyway so it won’t matter.

  3. I think Apple should allow other stores within iTunes. Not only that I think they should allow for alternate store icons to exist within iTunes and allow ease of use syncing with the iPod just as with iTMS. Apple could take a cut for allowing alternate stores within the iTunes interface.

    I mean if iTunes is really a loss leader for iPod sales, why wouldn’t they do that.

    MW ‘arms’ as in… I have two arms.

  4. Maybe I’m suffering from an extreme lack of imagination, but [B]what’s the point?[/B]

    The only way this makes sense is if another music vendor is going to make AAC music files available either at reduced cost, or at higher resolution.

    And the only way it remains sensible is if you think that Apple aren’t going to break it every time they release a new release of iTunes or iPod firmware.

    In the meantime, it’s not going to work within iTunes – so it won’t be as elegant or necessarily as reliable.

    As I say, I’m genuinely confused.

  5. “A company that specializes in rights-management technology for online stores has declared its plan to ride the coat tails of Apple to make a name for itself by reverse-engineering the FairPlay encoding system Apple uses on iTunes Music Store purchases,” nothing was known about this company up to this point…….

    mission accomplished…..but I could still give two chits

  6. “For us it’s about the issuing of a right that grants you access to data or content and even non-commercial things like a calendar, for instance,” Schaaf added.

    This guy is an ID10T if I’ve ever seen one. Basically what RealNetworks was doing is selling stolen property when it sold songs with their “Harmony” DRM. Apple doesn’t license that piece of their intellectual property, so reverse engineering it is basically stealing. To say, “For us it’s about the issuing of a right…” is like saying, “Well, I didn’t steal this Xbox 360 last night, but I want one and this one is cheaper (or I don’t have to wait in line or whatever reason you want to insert here).

    Stupid, stupid, stupid!

  7. Are they offering some value to the consumer above what Apple is offering with their hack of Apple’s DRM?

    What is fsking point? Except to get your name in cyberlights for a micro second or two.

    These days if you want your 15 min. of fame, either sue Apple, hack Apple or claim you and SJ are best buds (ala EMI).

    Who cares.

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

    MDN magic word: “food” as in donuts.

  8. Dear Apple,

    We’ve decided to take it upon ourselves to usurp your agreement with the record labels who have granted you rights to distribute their products based on your implementation of technology that protects their product.


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