Apple patent application details ‘DRM Particle Gun Authentication System’

HOT Apple Computers + FREE Shipping“On February 6, 2007, Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc., published an open letter entitled ‘Thoughts on Music’ calling on the ‘big four’ music companies to sell their music without DRM,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“Apple’s iTunes Store went DRM Free two years later. Yet DRM is still with us in other media, be it movies, video games and perhaps iBooks for the iPad and beyond,” Purcher reports. “According to Wikipedia, ‘DRM has never and will never be perfect. Hackers will always find a method to break DRM.'”

Purcher reports, “Perhaps that’s true, but Apple seems to think that they could out-gun hackers with their latest DRM authentication-centric Particle Gun. While only time will tell if this pans out as planned, for now, FairPlay or not, Apple is ready to gun down hackers in an effort to appease content creators.”

Full article, with patent application illustrations, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. In Star Trek’s next episode, Steve Jobs is Captain Kirk’s Grandfather who struts a Particle Gun and chases the Hakker Klan down in the Deep Southern Sky sector.

    But seriously, you have to wonder if Apple has finally found the magic bullet … or should that be particle, to beat the hacker community. Let’s hope that there’s a secret part of the patent that only the uspto sees. Otherwise, the cat is out of the bag (whatever that means!) and the hackers will begin work countering within the next week.

  2. Way to bring out the Space Battleship Yamato/Starblazers reference! Saw the trailer for the live action film this past weekend at Animazement.

    Seriously though, what are they going to shoot with the gun? The media to prove it’s an original? Me? What if I eat a taco? Will that change my EM field? What if I get taco grease on my DVD? In the age of digital distribution, I’m not sure how this will be applied…

  3. It’s to prevent hackers from replicating content illegally like they do in Asia. I can’t see Apple stopping that as the hacker will get it from Microsoft easily, ha. But it could be a bargaining thing for Apple or a good-will move to help content creators find a way of stopping digital media replication beyond simple home use. If successful, Apple could play the good cop by open sourcing it or use it as a negotiation tool to win favor with content creators for exclusives even if only temporary. My 2 cents.

  4. It could help to prevent reverse engineering. It creates a random component that traditional hackers won’t be able to figure out easily. It’s partly mechanical which will make a difference in changing the hacker rule book. For a while at least. It’s a serious business. Though I agree with jez. I want one too. Beam me up Scotty, one particle at a time. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  5. “Cat out of the bag.”

    From ‘WizeGeek.
    Many people use the phrase “let the cat out of the bag” to refer to divulging a secret, but they are often unaware of the colorful history behind the term. As is the case with many idioms, the origins of “let the cat out of the bag” are actually rather interesting, and they provide an intriguing insight into the lives of historical people. Delving into the origins of such terms like “let the cat out of the bag” can sometimes lead the researcher along fascinating tangents, as well.

    In order to understand the origins of “let the cat out of the bag,” it helps to understand how medieval markets worked. During the Middle Ages, markets or fairs were held to sell livestock, produce, and other goods from around a region. Most of the livestock was sold alive, usually in sacks so that the purchaser could bring it home relatively neatly. As a general rule, someone would inspect the pigs, chickens, and so forth for sale and pick one out, and then the farmer would bag the animal so that it could be carried.

    Unscrupulous merchants might replace the livestock with a cat, since cats were readily available. The unknowing customer would carry the bag home, open it, and realize that he or she had been swindled. However, the plot relied on not letting the cat out of the bag too early. If the bag was opened in the marketplace, the customer could demand reparations from the merchant, since the secret would be out. Of course, the scheme would also rely on a quiet cat, since most people know the difference between a oink and a meow.

    Some people have claimed that the term is related to the cat-o-nine tails famously used in naval discipline. However, this link seems tenuous at best, since there is no clear connection between letting the cat out of the bag and nautical punishments. Removing a whip from a bag is clearly not a euphemism for revealing a secret or spoiling a scam.

    Incidentally, this practice is also related to the common term “pig in a poke.” A “poke” is a bag in some dialects, and a pig in a poke is, therefore, a pig in a bag or sack. The full idiom is usually “don’t buy a pig in a poke,” meaning that buyers should inspect goods before purchasing them and taking them home. Otherwise, they may let the cat out of the bag too late, resulting in a rather large disappointment.

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