Feeds

Apple blasts Real DRM translator

Investigating Harmony's 'legal implications'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Apple today described itself as "stunned" that Real Networks has dared to reverse engineer its FairPlay DRM system in order that Real's online music subscription service can be made compatible with the iPod.

Real launched its Harmony Technology earlier this week. The software essentially converts songs protected by Real's Helix DRM system into tracks guarded by FairPlay or Microsoft's Windows Media DRM mechanism.

Since the iPod doesn't support Helix, Harmony allows Real customers to download songs that can, after conversion, be played on the iPod.

Apple, however, said Real had "adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker" in the development of Harmony. "We are investigating the implications of [Real's] actions under the DMCA and other laws," it said.

Real maintains there is no illegality since Harmony doesn't bypass either its own or Apple's DRM rules - it simply translates one set of rule formulations into the another.

Reverse engineering is a legal activity, but Apple could yet claim that Real used proprietary information for which it did not have a licence to help it in that endeavour. It may also allege that the process has violated its own copyrights.

Whatever legal course Apple may or may not take, it certainly warned that it may change FairPlay and break Harmony. "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," Apple said. ®

Related stories

Real to 'free' iPod from iTunes Music Store
DRM begins to work its magic
DRM begins to work its magic
Macrovision preps '99% effective' CD lock-in tech
P2Pers: we can make file-sharing secure and outsell iTunes
Duke develops iPod-equipped download army
More universities agree to RIAA/Napster 'protection'
Guilty until proven innocent - DRM the mobile phone way
Intel, MS and co. to tout copy-friendly DRM tech

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.