Further to my previous post about DRM, or digital rights management, here’s a story from IDG News Service
about software that may allow Windows-using customers of Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes Music Store to break the DRM technology that protects files downloaded from that service.
That the guy who posted it — or hosted it — is Jon Lech Johansen
, also known as “DVD Jon” is interesting. Johansen was arrested in Norway in 1999 after he created software to crack the copy protection on DVDs, according to IDG. He was acquitted on the grounds he was entitled to access information on a DVD that he had purchased, and was therefore entitled to use his program to break the code.
This is, as IDG points out, at least the second time since its release on October 16 that restrictions in iTunes for Windows have been circumvented by developers. Bill Zeller’s MyTunes application allows Windows users to download music from an iTunes shared playlist over a network.
IDG quotes an analyst saying this kind of thing won’t necessarily be widely used, due to the low cost of online music. But he does point out that it raises costs for the likes of Apple. So why don’t people go the route of Emusic
, whose MP3 files are unencumbered by DRM, meaning you can use them anywhere, anytime, and make any number of backups? I use Emusic because the music now belongs to me, physically and absolutely.
Another somewhat sad chapter in the life of the ZIP file. The guy who designed this excellent way of compressing files, Philip Katz, died tragically and young a few years back. Now the company he left behind, PKWare, is fighting over patents with another company, WinZip, since right now, would you believe, you can’t trade Zip files which have been encrypted with the other guys’ software. Here’s a good take on the situation, by Robert McMillan of IDG News Service.