by Carlo Longino

In A Twist, Now DVD Jon Wants To Give You More DRM

from the still-no-friends-in-Hollywood dept

Back in June, we noted that "DVD Jon" Lech Johansen had quit working with Michael Robertson (of fame), and had joined a new company to reverse-engineer DRM schemes that companies refused to license. He's not wasted much time in starting at the top, as his new company is already offering Apple's FairPlay DRM technology for companies to license. Apple's famously refused to let anybody else put their DRM'ed content on iPods outside a very small circle -- leading some companies like RealNetworks to try and reverse-engineer FairPlay on their own to make iPods compatible with their music services -- while it also refuses to license the technology to hardware manufacturers so it can control what devices consumers use to play back media it sells. Apple's steadfast refusal to license FairPlay creates a nice little lock-in for the company; but it also limits the usefulness of iPods and media purchased from the iTunes Music Store. For instance, the idea of selling TV shows seems to be working well for Apple, but by limiting the devices on which they can be played back, in particular making it somewhat difficult for people to watch the shows on their televisions, they're limiting their audience. Meanwhile, the value of an iPod gets held down since it can't access any media stores, apart from iTMS, selling content with DRM. The obivous solution is to scrap DRM, since it really doesn't help anyone (not to mention it doesn't really work, either), but that doesn't seem like something that will happen anytime soon. In the meantime, DVD Jon's approach, of making proprietary DRM technologies available for license to all comers, is a reasonable replacement. While it seems slightly ironic that DVD Jon's now working to spread DRM, he still shows a better understanding of how to create useful products than many manufacturers and content providers.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 12:27pm

    Actually, its reverse psychology. Apple will react to this with a knee-jerk update of iTunes that will have to break some part of their own DRM causing a customer uproar that their legitimate DRM music no longer plays, customers and press will jump on the "DRM unfair to consumers" bandwagon, and down comes Humpty DRM Dumpty.

    Or, Apple has to eat shit and let this happen.

    Either way, I'll enjoy watching.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Madmyk, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 12:36pm

    maybe i am special

    I am able to play my itunes purchased tv shows on my television. A great deal of video cards and a large number of laptops have video out. I simply plug my video out on my laptop into my tv, put itunes playback into full screen mode, and I have flawless playback on my tv.

    Very simple, very easy.

    oh..and drm is stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    You should be shot, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 12:47pm


    How can the minority in this country ever rise to the top with people like you, Madmyk? You with your high and mighty laptop! What about all of us that can barely feed our 6 kids and get the spinners polished on our '93 Caprice Station Wagons, let alone be having to buy laptops to run our tv's thru. No wonders I hates apple!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    UniBoy, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 12:49pm

    DRM stupid, Apple, not so much...

    Apple's cash cow is the iPod. iPod's are certainly compatible with both DRM (FairPlay, that is) and non-DRM music. Owning an iPod only limits you from using someone else's DRM or someone else's DRM-enabled music store.

    As soon as anyone comes up with an online music store that is half-way compelling compared to iTS, Apple will move quickly to support those features in its own store/device/DRM.

    The real DRM culprit is the RIAA. I think that if RIAA dropped their demand for DRM, Apple would drop FairPlay so as to effectively compete with non-DRM music stores on their merits.

    DRM or no-DRM, Apple has the best online music retail system, and they know it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    PirateJoe, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 1:10pm

    Exactly a good reason

    This is why I use all non-DRM music on my iPod. Apple and the rest of the companies can go to hell. My music is and always will be free of thier dirty little paws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    speculatrix, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 1:22pm

    ... and next, P4S and zune?

    so, with plays4sure locked tracks not being playable on Zune, I hope that this other Digital Restrictions Management stone is knocked out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    X-Advertiser, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 4:38pm

    Re: DRM stupid, Apple, not so much...

    I am curious, have you tried

    I don’t know of any other service that offices all of the major formats and bitrates. (OGG, MP3, AAC [Apples format] and several of the less known). Even Loss-Less... Other than a "pretty" interface, what’s so nice about iTs? I have had many issues with it my self (not that I haven’t with AOM), and had more than one person tell me that the resent update crashed their pc (Windowz)!

    But that is all opinion...

    Here is my question... If Apples music sales are a loss leader, and they make their money on the iPod (and accessories), why not make it compatible with as many DRMs as possible? I mean the thing has to be updatable, why not take over all of the other stores one by one? Ya know, the only, "CRUSH your competition deal"...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    jeff, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 4:43pm

    "selling TV shows [...] but by limiting the devices on which they can be played back, i[...] they're limiting their audience."

    Uh, now. They're increasing sales of iPods.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Scott, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 5:43pm

    Apple wants it all

    Are we really suprised that Apple won't release their DRM license?
    They have wanted it all from the very beginning.
    There is no generic apple like you can get on a PC. Once apon a time there was a company that tried, they came out with what they called "The Peach" Apple promply sued and then ther was one.
    Now they want to control the largest selling media player in the US by how, Controlling the DRM for the IPod.
    Try and run Apple OS on a PC. NOT, but you can run M$crosoft OS on a MAC.
    Hum, What is Steve Jobs really up to, not for the user like Steve Wozniak says but more like the rest of the world, The Big Buck. Other wise the IPod would be reasonably price at a simular price for say, Creative ZEN, or the Phillips GoGear, or others to many to mention.
    Just listened to an article NPR'sScience Friday on Steve Wozniak. Did you know they stole the ideal of a GUI from, now don't quote me, I think it was Kodak!! And the way I understood this Steve Wozniak said Apple invented it. Go figure! It's all in the history books.

    Have I ranted, gee it feels good. I just hate stupid people and liars.
    Have a good day or evening and a better tomorrow

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    jeff, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 6:19pm


    If they control the format to only work on ipods, then they will sell more ipods (and more TV shows). This is good business model (which is why they are so successful). What's the problem?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    X-Advertiser, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 6:39pm

    Nonono, I meant it the other way, we KNOW they won't EVER willingly let THEIR format out, but why not ALSO support the other DRM on the iPod. Such as being able to load Napster DRMed files onto your iPod.

    And ya, Apple, Microsoft, they all stole it (and then Apple sued [and lost] Microsoft for coping the idea THEY stole). Actually I think it was Xerox, they where showed something that looked a LOT like a Mac classic on a tour of their basement (or so I have heard).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    A chicken passeth by, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 10:49pm

    Next up - he offers a way to convert from ZuneDRM or PFS to FP.

    Then it's Macroshafted's turn to fume.

    And we have Apple vs M$ again.


    With them bickering, DRM will soon be seen as a complete utter joke.

    I hope he's still trying to do in whatever crap management they put on BRDs and HD-DVDs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Jeff, Oct 3rd, 2006 @ 11:07am


    "why not ALSO support the other DRM on the iPod"

    Because then users would not need to use itunes. Seems pretty logical business move to me...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Matt Bennett, Oct 3rd, 2006 @ 11:56am

    I don't get it. Isn't it also illegal to offer a reverse engineered version for licencse? Won't they claim a bazillion patent infringements?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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