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

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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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Comments

81

“Real is right here !
And we as Apple user can be thankful for it.
Now we can use Songs from more than 1 Store.
We can use Reals Store too. And lets see who is next.

If Apple sue them and win, i sell my iPod.
I want songs from anywhere on my iPod.
Otherwise i have to buy an other Player.”

Haha…sell your iPod now. Please.

Give Microsoft another month and then we can have a real argument about all of this.

Posted by lol on July 31, 2004 at 6:50 AM (PDT)

82

Choices.

Several, quite amusing, persons wrote that there are choices (like use an ipod or not). Thing is, though, that choices are like money - the more the merrier
It’s not about having choices, but about having MORE choices..

Higher diversity is always a good thing. Not that it hasn’t bad sideeffects (like incompatibilities), but it’s good sides vastly outnumber its bad ones. Main positive effectof highly diverse systems is that they change - evolve - much more rapidly.

Take the current apple-real situation, for example. I would have a hard time to decide between apple (good) & 128kbs (bad) and real (bad & 196 kbs (good). If apple had no outside influence you can bet that it will stay on 128 kbs till kingdom come. Higher bitrates have only negative sideffects for them, higher bandwith cost and more complains about Ipods battery (since higher bitrate = less batterylife).
On the other hand, if competition with higher bitrates will cost them marketshare they will introduce a higher varity of bitrates, too.

Posted by Shrike on July 31, 2004 at 6:55 AM (PDT)

83

“It would seem Apple is turning into Microsoft junior. Create proprietary products and try to sue anybody who competes with you into oblivian.”

I think if Apple isn’t aggressive now, they won’t be competitive when M$ launches their own service. They weren’t aggressive 10 years ago when M$ launched Windows 95 and it nearly destroyed them.

Posted by lol on July 31, 2004 at 6:56 AM (PDT)

84

“If apple had no outside influence you can bet that it will stay on 128 kbs till kingdom come. Higher bitrates have only negative sideffects for them, higher bandwith cost and more complains about Ipods battery (since higher bitrate = less batterylife).”

Good points

Posted by lol on July 31, 2004 at 7:00 AM (PDT)

85

Woz and Jobs made about $30,000 from selling blue boxes.  Two years later, Apple computer was born.  Yep, no connection there… derrrrr…

BTW, Woz himself says that the original Apple’s design couldn’t have been accomplished without information he’d learned from building blue boxes.  Apple wouldn’t exist if these two HACKERS! hadn’t sold HACKER! equipment in their college years!  From the horse’s mouth.

YHL
HAND

Posted by Johnny Billy Timmy on July 31, 2004 at 8:56 AM (PDT)

86

Can’t we just all get along?  I mean, I like my iPod, but I don’t want Apple telling me what to do - so I’m actually glad Real saved me from slavery.  iTunes is a joke, and since I can’t use MediaPlayer, I’m glad to have other options.  These companies are just so greedy!

Posted by TLC on July 31, 2004 at 3:27 PM (PDT)

87

I love my iPod, I love iTunes - for whatever the reasons, the two clicked in a way that impressed the heck out of me and, for now, have me a very loyal iPod customer.

However, I don’t love the iTMS. There is no way that I’ll be paying a real CD price for 128 bitrate DRM’d bandwidth.

Apple should have learned that a closed system will fail in an *open* marketplace in the long run. Maybe what Real did wasn’t totally kosher, and Real is a total bunch of crap as software producers no matter what the technicalities behind this move. Yet, I can’t help but be glad that someone is lighting a fire under Apple’s arse.

If Apple wants to succeed in the long run and not just replay their almost success of the Macintosh they need to license Fair Play to anyone and everyone who wants it. If it drives profits of online music sales down, so what? Let the marketplace decide.

Posted by Code Monkey on July 31, 2004 at 4:33 PM (PDT)

88

Anyone know anything about eMusic? They sell 192 VBR MP3s, with no DRM. 40 tracks for $10.00 a month, and you can download songs you have already downloaded without paying.

I’m not a customer, but the deal seems reasonable. What are your opinions of eMusic?

Posted by Questioner on July 31, 2004 at 10:36 PM (PDT)

89

I think it should be OUR choice what software we use on OUR ipod, anapod, ephpod, or real, apple needs to ease up a bit, like someone else already said…. If you dont learn from history, its doomed to repeat itself. PLAY NICE APPLE, dont be a bunch of pigs!

Posted by Josh on August 1, 2004 at 4:14 AM (PDT)

90

I would personally like to be able to get my music frlom other sources without downloading illegally. Sometimes Itunes doesnt have what I want. There still are labels out there that haven’t signed up with apple…..

Posted by Ryan on August 1, 2004 at 9:50 AM (PDT)

91

In reply to Ipodleder… Yes Gamecube’s dont play xbox games etc but you DO have a choice to what retailer your want to buy from. You also don’t have to buy games only made by nintendo . If there was a choice fro me which “retailer” to download my music from, that would make we want to buy a ipod if I didn’t have one already

Posted by Ryan on August 1, 2004 at 9:57 AM (PDT)

92

“I think it should be OUR choice what software we use on OUR ipod, anapod, ephpod, or real, apple needs to ease up a bit, like someone else already said…. If you dont learn from history, its doomed to repeat itself. PLAY NICE APPLE, dont be a bunch of pigs!”

Please stop with the “choices” already. Its not like you didn’t know that you could only buy downloads from iTunes before you bought your iPod. You should have bought another player if this was going to be such a “hassle” and upset your freedom to be gluttonous consumers. GO TO AMAZON and BUY CDs or better yet, your local indie music store.

Apple has a very small market to protect, and what makes their products work very well is that they don’t have to worry about making things align with a ton of different hardware specs, or that they don’t have constant attacks from viruses. If they don’t protect what the have now, and move sensibly when the should, i.e. decide WHEN to open their DRM and iPods, M$ will crush them.

I don’t care if Real or the M$ stores will work with my iPod, but when that happens (it won’t with Real—M$ will put them out of business before the end of the year), it should be up to Apple to decide, not the desperate CEO over at Real.

If you really need something to do, get out and get people to vote against George Bush…that’s a real choice. If you’re not from the U.S., tell your American friends why Bush is the devil wink

Posted by lol on August 1, 2004 at 12:19 PM (PDT)

93

i just feel sorry for Real to come up with such lowdown s*** tactics.. rm files suck and real player is just a lousy excuse for media files.. i’m running a win xp pc with an ipod and i don’t really give a s*** about real anyways… i’m sure most people out there don’t really care wat Real does or even plan to do… haha

Posted by ipod newb on August 1, 2004 at 12:34 PM (PDT)

94

oh… and billy joe, when u don’t know nuts about woz… he built apple and he’s the pioneer of the pc, you’re just an end-user like all of us, he’s a great person with visions. don’t make comments when u don’t know s***.... thanks.

Posted by ipod newb on August 1, 2004 at 12:37 PM (PDT)

95

finally, apple has something to be proud of and actually has majority market share of [online music-portable mp3] and now they wanna act like MS to keep that control on the market…oh the irony.

Posted by omino on August 1, 2004 at 1:12 PM (PDT)

96

“finally, apple has something to be proud of and actually has majority market share of [online music-portable mp3] and now they wanna act like MS to keep that control on the market…oh the irony.”

I think if Apple isn’t aggressive now, they won’t be competitive when M$ launches their own service. They weren’t aggressive 10 years ago when M$ launched Windows 95 and it nearly destroyed them.

Posted by lol on August 1, 2004 at 2:44 PM (PDT)

97

I really don’t understand the issues here.

Let’s see:

The iPod plays MP3s, AACs, AIFFs, and a few other less popular formats.

You can purchase music in around a million and one different formats, but are freely able to convert between them at your own leisure, using free or shareware apps.

At the very worst, you can buy a song in one format, burn it to CD, and rip it back in another.

I cannot think of any file from any shop I can’t convert somehow to make it play on my iPod or my home stereo.

Real Networks have decided to hack together an app which enables users to use their proprietary format on the iPod, and sync it just like iTunes syncs.

The only reason I can see for doing that is because nobody is using their format for music, and they need to try and change that. I mean - does anybody use Real for anything other than streaming content (mostly video)?

Posted by Tony Poprock on August 2, 2004 at 12:41 AM (PDT)

98

Tony,

What you’re missing is that this is about copy-protected (aka DRM, Digital Rights Management, an oxymoron) files.  This is NOT about mp3’s or other unprotected content. The iPod only supports one form of DRM - Apple’s proprietary Fairplay.

Real (and others) would obviously like to be able to sell content to iPod owners, due to the large available market. To do so, they must use DRM to protect the content they sell (which is presumably required by the labels owning the copyrights). Sure, they could (technically) convert files to unprotected MP3’s or even AAC’s and have them play, but there are likely legal (contractual) reasons they can’t do so. Sure, there are people selling unprotected songs, but they only offer a very limited subset of what’s available in protected formats.

So, to sell you a song, they must protect it. The only protected songs the iPod will play use FairPlay, a proprietary solution. Apple has not made details of Fairplay available to others.

Real has figured out how Fairplay encrypts files. Their new software will allow you to buy a song from them and then convert it to use Fairplay so it can be played on an iPod. The Real software isn’t breaking (decrypting) Fairplay files, so it doesn’t allow protected iPod files to be used elsewhere. It doesn’t in any way change Apple’s ability to protect songs nor does it weaken the protection offered by Fairplay.

What it does do is remove Apple’s previously exclusive ability to sell protected songs to iPod users. That’s got Apple pissed off, because they want to lock users into buying from them. It’s no different than a lot of the things Microsoft does to lock in users - such as using non-standard extensions for web content so non-IE browsers don’t work. Microsoft gets (rightfully) reviled for it, Apple is getting revered.

It’s obviously the user’s choice whether they wish to buy content from Real, which apparently requires using their software in place of iTunes. The choice itself may be good or it may be bad, but it’s an additional choice available to iPod users, which is a good thing.

Posted by m.s on August 2, 2004 at 6:23 AM (PDT)

99

Right then.

So buying a protected song file from iTMS, burning it to CD and playing it when I DJ in a club is illegal, right? Because that’s not one of my 3 permitted devices?

What’s Real’s version of this? If I buy from them instead, am I legally entitled to do any more with the song than I would be with ones from Apple?

I have problems with the licensing via ‘x number of permitted devices’ model in the first place, because of such worries. I mean - since the iTMS opened here in Europe, I’ve already run out of ‘permitted devices’ because of upgrading my Apple kit at home and at work. I was forced to circumvent the protection by burning to CD and re-ripping back into iTunes.

Unless Real have improved on that situation, I don’t see why I should give a damn what services they try and launch.

Posted by Tony Poprock on August 2, 2004 at 6:58 AM (PDT)

100

I don’t know the answer to that for the E.U.

In the states, public performance is an entirely different copyright. There are two major clearinghouses, BMI and ASCAP, which collect royalties for performace rights. A DJ would pay them, and then have the right to play the music, from whatever source including an iPod. Correctly interpreted, the ITMS license doesn’t prohibit such use, but rather doesn’t permit it. Permission is conveyed through a royalty payment made outside of the ITMS system, as above.

http://www.prs.co.uk/ appears to provide similar licensing for the UK.

Posted by m.s on August 2, 2004 at 7:20 AM (PDT)

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