Update: Apple “stunned” at RealNetworks’ hacker tactics | iLounge News


Update: Apple “stunned” at RealNetworks’ hacker tactics

RealNetworks has responded to Apple’s statement (below) saying “consumers, and not Apple, should be the ones choosing what music goes on their iPod. Apple has suggested that new laws such as the DMCA are relevant to this dispute. In fact, the DMCA is not designed to prevent the creation of new methods of locking content and explicitly allows the creation of interoperable software. We remain fully committed to Harmony and to giving millions of consumers who own portable music devices, including the Apple iPod, choice and compatibility.

Harmony follows in a well-established tradition of fully legal, independently developed paths to achieve compatibility. There is ample and clear precedent for this activity, for instance the first IBM compatible PCs from Compaq. Harmony creates a way to lock content from Real’s music store in a way that is compatible with the iPod, Windows Media DRM devices, and Helix DRM devices. Harmony technology does not remove or disable any digital rights management system.”

Apple today released a statement in response to RealNetworks’ recent announcement that they had created a method to offer iPod-compatible song downloads through its new Harmony software. “We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions under the DMCA and other laws. We strongly caution Real and their customers that when we update our iPod software from time to time it is highly likely that Real’s Harmony technology will cease to work with current and future iPods.”

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When I see things like this, I am reminded of how much we are in the infant stage of the “digital era”.  Legal precedence is based in law from a different era - adaptations of rules and laws passed decades ago - which then is used to create new legal precedents that are prone to the whims of a few people’s opinions (Judges arbitrarily deciding what is legal and what is not).  So we have companies verse companies, legal groups verse individuals (thanks RIAA, MPAA!), and the vicious back and forth will never end.  Legal proceedings will close P2P software development one at a time, but one will always pop up to replace, Apple will create new software to lock out Real temporarily, then Real will break the DRM again.  These companies are still floundering at grasping the ethics of the information age, and really, so are we as individuals.  It will be many years until we have matured in this area enough to really cope with the scope of it all!

Posted by ERP on August 4, 2004 at 11:43 AM (CDT)


It would be difficult to imposible for a new firmware update to disable harmony.  Any update would have to be backward compatible with all the songs that have already been downloaded from itunes. 
And any new format would have to be compatible with G1-3 ipods, that haven’t had their firmware updated.  I don’t believe that there is away around both issues.
Besides, the harmony musik can be burned to a CD, and that would allow for ripping into itunes.

Posted by redruM on August 4, 2004 at 6:17 PM (CDT)


Competition is good. Closed systems are bad. This is why Apple is a niche player in the mega-huge personal computer market place. I dislike Bill Gates’ tactics as much as anyone, so save your flames over whether Windoze is less elegant than Mac OSX whatever… it’s not the point.

Real produces junky stuff and I won’t put it on my computer, but it’s nuts that Apple tries to close the door, monopolize a music market and announces they will try to engineer Real out of their space. Kind of reminds me of the junk that MS does to drive out competition. Choose your friends carefully - it says a lot about who you are.

Posted by MartyB on August 7, 2004 at 3:29 PM (CDT)


One thing to consider - iTunes music store is not available to all—in fact only to US, UK, France and Germany. Not available in Canada - so this gives me the possiblity to buy online that I did not have before.

Posted by PierreB on August 21, 2004 at 9:37 PM (CDT)


My dad just sent me his older iPod after mine got stolen.  Is there a way to take the songs on his iPod and put them on my computer so I don’t lose them?  I went to an apple store and a guy gave me a website once, like www.ipoditunes2.com/.... but i don’t remember what the rest was.  It was a pretty cool feature if anyone knows about it, let me know!

Posted by Ryan Brown on August 25, 2004 at 7:10 PM (CDT)

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