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DVD Jon patches Google Video

Not a DRM hack

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Norwegian developer Jon Lech Johansen has issued a patch for Google's Video Viewer - and taken a sideswipe at the press for sensationalizing the event.

On Monday Google released its Video Viewer, a browser plugin that's a modified version of the open source software VLC. The software only permitted videos hosted on the video.google.com domain to be played. Johansen's small patch fixes this.

The code doesn't circumvent any rights management software, which is Johansen's hallmark. He decrypted the DECSS scheme used to prevent DVD copying, earning him the nickname DVD Jon, and he has also created a number of patches for the DRM locks that Apple uses in its iTunes Music Store and its Airport wireless streaming software. In March, he unveiled software he'd co-written that allows users to purchase music from Apple's music service without using iTunes, in a form unencumbered by DRM.

After posting the patch, Johansen ticked off the press for blowing the story out of proportion.

"Journalists never cease to amaze me with their ability to blow things out of proportion," he wrote on his home page.

But Google didn't help, issuing an official, sky-is-falling scare for reporters.

"It could result in security vulnerabilities on their computer and may disrupt their computer's ability to access Google Video," warned Google PR Nate Tyler.

Hardly surprisingly, with encouragement like that, the story grew legs and ran. ®

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