Feeds

DVD Jon joins MP3tunes.com

Project Oboe puts wind up music industry

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Norwegian programmer Jon Lech Johansen, AKA "DVD Jon", has moved to San Diego after being hired by tech entrepreneur Michael Robertson to work on a new digital media project called Oboe.

Wired describes the link up as the most portentous since Butch linked up with Sundance and although this one is unlikely to end up in a shot-up with the Bolivian Army we can even now imagine the entertainment industry lining up a legal posse to range against two thorns in its side.

Johansen, a world famous reverse engineer while still in his early teen, was twice acquitted on charges relating to his involvement in creating and distributing a utility (called DeCSS) for playing back DVDs on his own Linux PC. Since then his hacks on copy protection components of Apple's iTunes and Microsoft's Media Player software have made him a hero to programmers and the bete noire of media conglomerates.

Robertson is no stranger to controversy either having founded digital music company MP3.com, sued by recording companies from over its online music lockers service, before taking on Microsoft on the desktop with an open source alternative that was changed its name from Lindows to Linspire last year in settling a protracted legal battle with the software giant. Robertson founded a new firm, MP3tunes.com, last year.

In a posting on his blog, Robertson said he'd hired Johansen to work on Oboe, which is cryptically described as an open system project at MP3tunes.com to "bring digital music into the 21st century". "I knew he'd be a great fit for the team, so I quickly extended him a job offer. It took a few months to process the immigration paperwork, but now he's living in San Diego and working on Oboe," Robertson writes.

Johansen told Wired that after Norway adopted a European Union directive which outlaws the circumvention of copy protection technology in July he is no longer safer from legal assault in his home country than in the US. "In Norway, you have the same laws (as in the United States) now. So it makes no difference if I'm doing my work here or there," he said.

"I plan to continue my research, but I won't be writing any tools (while in the US)," he added. Johansen said that he'd moved to the US because he wanted to work on consumer (as opposed to enterprise) software development projects. "I'm not scared about being arrested now that I'm here. Michael has good lawyers," he said. ®

Related links

Johansen's "So Sue Me" blog

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
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?