Wednesday, October 25, 2006

iTunes Doubletwisted, detuned.

Jon Lech Johansen has "reverse engineered" the FairPlay system by Apple that prevents iTunes downloads from being played on any MP3 player other than iPods. Bummer.
Mr Johansen, also known as DVD Jon, rose to fame at the age of 15 when he wrote and distributed a program called DeCSS that cracked the encryption codes on DVDs.
Mr Johansen first distributed a program to bypass the Apple system, called QTFairUse, in 2003. Since then several versions of the program have been distributed to keep up to date with new versions of iTunes and FairPlay. Although these hacks were distributed on the web for free but were difficult to use without technical know-how, meaning not everyone could detune and Itune. But now there is another twist to this, Mr Johansen and DoubleTwist plan to commercialise the technology. Currently iTunes controls 88% of the legal music download market, while 60% of those possessing a portable music player own an iPod.
So what does this fairplay does?
All music sold through iTunes uses the FairPlay system that restricts the use of the downloads. Purchased music can only be moved between five computers and played on an Apple iPod. Downloads cannot be transferred to players made by other manufacturers, such as Creative or Sony.The new "workaround" could help companies like these sell iTunes compatible products that could start to scratch away at the iPod's dominance.
His latest feat could help companies such as Microsoft Corp., Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which have all announced plans over the past few months for music download services combined with new devices to challenge Apple. So take a byte, DeTune iTune.

No comments: