DVD Jon’s iPod+iTunes FairPlay DRM hack may actually help Apple

Re: “DVD Jon” (Jon Lech Johansen)’s hack of Apple’s FairPlay DRM:

Jon Ogg writes for Blogging Stocks, “This is obviously very controversial territory. In no way is this meant to be an endorsement of hackers or copyright violations. But entirely closed systems and incompatibility is something that the public doesn’t want to last forever. Apple has already established itself as THE leader here and that probably won’t change any time soon. PERIOD.”

Ogg writes, “For a while last year Audible, Inc. was almost giving away MP3 audio/video players to those who signed up for long-term contracts, yet iPod/iTunes still rules the roost and finding Audible.com subscribers isn’t exactly an easy task. Go ask Napster, Inc. how well their ‘Own Nothing’ campaign of just leasing unlimited music went, since now the company is trying to find a buyer for the entire company. Microsoft Corp.’s Zune is still yet an unknown entity and SanDisk Corp. just felt the wrath of the demanding stock markets on its margins and outlook.”

“Apple is not going to like this, but this won’t be the death of Apple’s stranglehold iTunes and iPod have on music downloads in any real way. If the hack (or shall we call it a ‘workaround’) actually does get to legally stand, the funny thing is that it could actually work favorably for Apple because they have created such fanatical brand loyalty. Time will tell,” Ogg writes.

Full article here.

Related articles:
DVD Jon cracks Apple’s FairPlay DRM, looks to license it – October 23, 2006
DVD Jon reverse-engineers Apple’s FairPlay DRM, starts to license it – October 02, 2006
Navio threatens to hack Apple iTunes Music Store’s FairPlay DRM à la Real’s ‘Harmony’ – November 22, 2005
DVD Jon hacks Microsoft Windows Media Player file encryption – September 02, 2005
PC World review gives Real’s Rhapsody music service 2 stars out of 5; ‘just didn’t work’ – May 06, 2005
Time Magazine article about RealNetworks’ Rhapsody makes no sense – April 27, 2005
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
RealNetworks launches new Rhapsody services, gives away 25 songs per month – April 26, 2005
Apple iTunes Music Store killer? Real expected to add subscriptions to Rhapsody music service – April 26, 2005
Resurrection Day comes quickly for PyMusique – March 22, 2005
The day the PyMusique died; Apple kills DVD Jon’s iTunes Music Store hack – March 21, 2005
‘PyMusique’ lets users buy songs without DRM from Apple’s iTunes Music Store – March 18, 2005
Real CEO Glaser calls Apple ‘deceptive’ with iTunes Music Store – March 07, 2005
Real CEO pitches to half empty room at tech symposium; Apple draws standing-room-only crowd – February 25, 2005
RealNetworks’ CEO Rob Glaser grabs 3 of top 10 spots on ‘Dumbest Moments in Business 2005’ list – January 31, 2005
RealNetworks ‘Harmony’ stops working on iPods but nobody notices for a month and a half – December 15, 2004
Bono-Glaser photo caption contest now open – October 25, 2004
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
RealNetwork’s CEO Glaser crashes Apple’s music party – July 30, 2004
Real CEO Glaser: Steve Jobs’ comments on Real ‘not succeeding’ are ‘ridiculously humorous’ – April 29, 2004
NY Times: Real CEO Glaser was close to having ‘iPod’ before Apple, but let it ‘slip through his fingers – April 24, 2004
Real’s CEO Glaser: Apple’s iPod/iTunes combo ‘threatens to turn off consumers’ – April 20, 2004
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Real CEO Glaser: ‘iTunes is only going to be used for playing songs you bought using the iTunes store – January 16, 2004


  1. Audible wasn’t trying to establish a platform – just trying to get mobile devices out there that allowed their content, almost completely audiobooks and similar spoken-word content, to be played. Notice that the iPod and iTunes work with Audible DRM – I’d say, Audible’s mission has been accomplished.

  2. If DVD Jon could work with Apple to sell FairPlay licenses to adult video companies it would be a win-win for all players.

    Apple solidifies its market by bringing on board the largest and most profitable sector of the digital media market without putting “smut” in the iTunes Music Store.

    The adult video companies gain easy access to the most popular players.

    DVD Jon would get a solid revenue stream without having to work about lawsuits.

  3. The article author has a point (about DVD Jon’s efforts actually helping Apple), but actually misses the point entirely and says nothing useful.

    There is a huge segment of media downloads that is considered “questionable” and “disreputable.” But it is a huge Internet business (starts with “P”), so there are certainly customers out there. Since many argue that the whole point of the iTunes Store is to sell more iPods, it would certainly help sell more iPods if that industry had a DRM scheme that was “iPod-compatible.” However, Apple would never offer such content on the iTunes Store, but if DVD Jon made it possible, it would not be directly related to any Apple actions. Apple sells more iPods and keeps its “hands clean.”

  4. Hmmmm, as I understand it, the “hack” requires you to pay for and download a song, do the hack, then you can output the song in mp3 format.

    If this is the case, then I must be a great hacker too. I have been doing this for some time.

    OH, wait, LOL maybe if someone else pays for then downloads the song, then you apply the hack and you can output the song as a mp3 file.

    Oppps, there I go again, super hacker, thats me. LOL LOL ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    I wonder if Apple will come after me for illegally hacking their software???? LOL


  5. All these arguments are irrelevant. The iPod doesn’t need Fairplay to play music, and it doesn’t need the iTS. Other MP3 players don’t need iTS; there are plenty of other online music sources. RECORD COMPANIES need Fairplay so they can sleep at night believing that they are at least slowing down inevitable piracy. DVD Jon’s hack doesn’t hurt Apple, nor does it hurt the record companies. His hack just let’s one play Fairplay encoded music on other other hardware. This won’t translate to fewer iPod sales because people do not CHOOSE iPods based on DRM. They buy because they are the best portable music player available. Where DVD Jon’s hack will help consumers and potentially hurt Apple on future hardware (like iTV) is for products, such as Slingbox, to process Fairplay encoded files. A Fairplay clone can expand the market for iTunes purchased music, so it sounds like a fair tradeoff for Apple.

  6. Hey Spark:

    I could be wrong but I thought this hack of his was so that companies could sell DRM managed music that can be played on the iPod – therefore allowing other music services to sell to the iPod and record companies will be happy that the songs are rights managed.

  7. Re: iPod is a closed system

    Only the badly informed or those with an agenda would claim that it is a “closed” system. For example, about 98% of the music on my iPod is ripped from CDs that I have bought over the years. Usually when I want to add new music, I buy used CDs from a local shop and rip those on my Mac. I do buy some tracks from iTMS, but they are mostly standup comedy tracks. I’m not worried about DRM on those because I can reencode them without worrying about any quaility loss.

    So in the closed iPod system I can:

    Rip CDs
    Import MP3’s from any source (stealing music is wrong)
    Buy tracks from iTMS
    Buy non-DRM tracks from other online sites

    Its the most open “closed” system I have ever seen.

  8. “But entirely closed systems and incompatibility is something that the public doesn’t want to last forever.”

    What evidence points to a “closed systems.” What evidence does the author have that the supposed “incompatibility is something public doesn’t want to last forever.”?

    I wish todays writers would take a course on “citing your sources.” It’s getting really bad in journoland.

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