Feeds

Apple blasts Real DRM translator

Investigating Harmony's 'legal implications'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.