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Apple DMCAs iPodHash Project 453

Posted by timothy
from the if-google-is-a-verb dept.
TRS-80 writes "Apple has sent a DMCA takedown notice to the IpodHash project, claiming it circumvents their FairPlay DRM scheme. Some background: Apple first added a hash to the iTunesDB file in 6th-gen iPods, but it was quickly reverse-engineered. They changed it with the release of iPhone 2.0 and a project was started to reverse the new hash, but wasn't successful yet. My guess is Apple used the same algorithm as FairPlay for the new hash, so Apple could use the DMCA to prevent competing apps like Songbird and Banshee from talking to iPods/iPhones. BTW, don't tell Apple, but the project uses a wiki, so the old page versions from before the takedown are still there."
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Apple DMCAs iPodHash Project

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  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:21PM (#25836815) Homepage

    Just another reason not to buy the ipod/phone. Double if you are not using a mac.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SoCalChris (573049)
      I have an older ipod that's been having problems lately. It freezes a lot, and absolutely sucks at playing audio books that didn't come from audible.com or itunes.

      I'll be looking to replace it soon. Does anyone make an MP3 player that uses a dock connector like the ipod's, so that I can use it with some of the ipod accessories that I already have? For example, my car radio has an ipod connector that charges the ipod, and lets me control it with the radio controls. I'd like to keep that functionality, exc
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Change (101897)

        The Creative Zen Vision:M player used the same connector, but with a different pinout.

      • You're locked in dude.... The iPod connector is, as far as I know, licensed to 3rd party accessories manufacturers. No way in hell, is Apple going to license it to a competitor.

        And, yes, a connector can be patented without any problem. After all it is a physical device, where you can give schematics etc....
      • Since the connector is a functional element and not a design one, they probably can patent it. Even if they can't, I can understand why a company would choose to roll their own connector rather than try to reverse-engineer all the functions of Apple's.
      • by compro01 (777531)

        Sandisk's Sansa e200 series [sandisk.com] of players have a similar connector, though I've never tested to see if it is actually the same or not.

        • by JiffyPop (318506) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:45PM (#25837209)

          It is the same plug, but the pinout is different. It was a few years ago when my wife wanted a music player, and someone had plugged in a Sansa to an iPod accessory on the demo table at Best Buy. Fried the screen on the Sansa if I remember right.

          My memory is a bit fuzzy. Can someone else verify this?

          • by ubercam (1025540) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:29PM (#25837907)

            Yes the connector is exactly the same, but pinout is different. The connector is not patented by Apple, you can order them direct from Mouser (I forget the part number, but I have ordered one in the past). I found which one to order off of the Anything but iPod Forums. Besides, if they were patented by Apple, how would Sandisk be able to use it on their Sansa players without some exorbitant licensing fee? And you'd think for that price, iPod accessories would be compatible with Sansa players too.

            DO NOT EVER plug iPod-branded/compatible anything into anything except an iPod. Worst case scenario, it will fry the other thing beyond repair.

            Sandisk had/has a line of products specifically for Sansa players called "Made for Sansa" or something similar. I know that Futureshop (Canada) carries a small selection of stuff, but you can generally find extra cables or whatever on Amazon for next to nothing.

            They are great players, especially with Rockbox (if you're lucky enough to have a v1 (doesn't work on v2's yet).

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:40PM (#25838067)

            It is the same plug, but the pinout is different. It was a few years ago when my wife wanted a music player, and someone had plugged in a Sansa to an iPod accessory on the demo table at Best Buy. Fried the screen on the Sansa if I remember right.

            My memory is a bit fuzzy. Can someone else verify this?

            Yes, ... my name is Chuck... I work at Best Buy. One hot summer day in 2005, some dufus walked in to my store and plugged in a Sansa to an iPod accessory on MY demo table. It fried the screen.
            I remember it well. In fact, it came out of MY pay... I'm getting closer to tracking you down now that you've posted on Slashdot!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MikeBabcock (65886)

        Apple was very smart in creating their specific dock connector and then upselling it to other companies.

        There's no reason a standard USB interface couldn't have been decided upon by various media players that allowed digital playback and user interface to be exposed in both directions, but instead we have the iPhone dock connector in cars and on stereos.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by rootofevil (188401)

          pin density is one factor that certainly weighed on that decision.

          how would you create video out from a USB port? the radio/headphone adapter? artist/song/albumart along with audio out for the dock devices?

          in the early days, firewire+usb?

          face it, without a specialized connector, none of that is possible. unless you make the ipod a host, in which case your battery life will suck and syncing with a computer will be an adventure.

          • by DrYak (748999) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @09:01PM (#25840479) Homepage

            pin density is one factor that certainly weighed on that decision.

            We are in 2008. Why would you even need to have a separate pin for everything ?!?

            We have very nice, completely standardized connection such as :
            - USB (specially since the On-The-Go and Pict-Bridge standards where the same physical connector can switch between master and slave depending on needs).
            - FireWire (which has the advantage of allowing several masters on the same bus and device sharing both master and slave role - just like SCSI. And has overall much better latency and bandwidth once you factor all possible overhead)

            They are almost ubiquitous. Today it's hard to find a device which is NOT USB-enabled. (although not all FireWire connectors you may encounter are 6pins with power. 4pins data-only are popular on some portable device).

            And they can easily do pretty much everything you cited and much-much more.

            Audio/Video (+controls for it) over FireWire is just a piece of cake, the standard was created with that purpose in mind.

            how would you create video out from a USB port?

            - If the device is a master and is PUSHing video OUT, video-over USB was among the first standardized stuff, with USB-to-VGA dongle being very popular. It's already a very popular method to get 2ndary output from device which lack a VGA or DVI out. Or get a 3rd output.
            - If the device is a slave and you are PULLing video FROM device, then a USB video device is perfect for it, just like thousands of Webcams, video receiver, etc. There's even an emerging standard called UVC - USB Video Class [berlios.de] (Before UVC, every webcam USB chip used a different protocol requiring several different procols).

            Given the sensitiveness of analog to electronic noise, digital video out makes A LOT of sense. And given that hosting the electronics for a DVI/HDMI/miniDisplay port would unnecessarily increase the costs of the device, the USB-to-VGA or UVC is the best compromise.

            the radio

            You must be joking. Just look at the crazy amount of USB FM+TV+DVB+DAB receiver dongles.
            There's a custom version of the OpenMoko sold with such an USB receiver contained in a spacer between the battery and the original cover.

            If you want a radio *emitter*, see next question about audio.

            headphone adapter?

            Still keeping with the everything over USB :
            - USB audio is an absolutely standard protocol.
            In fact dozens of headphone made for laptop/skype don't plug into the audio in/out ports, but instead plug into an USB port.
            As USB Audio does both input and output, it doesn't matter which is master which is slave, you can establish an audio link over USB.

            Now, plain analog audio has had a standard for many years : the simple 3mm Jack. For a quick and easy analog access you should leave an audio jack on the machine.

            For even more practical solution, you could go for a 3 or 4 ring jack instead of a classical stereo one, and carry video, s-video and/or mic.
            Put a LED on the bottom of the connector and it can also work as a nice digital out (Sony's MiniDisc already used hybrid optical+analog contacts for quite some time).
            Put them in line with the usb at very specific distance one from each other and you have a perfect connector with both analog and digital.

            The only reason not to do this is because by letting normal audio connection (jack), the constructor lose the incentive for users to buy the more expensive USB-based peripherals.

            artist/song/albumart along with audio out for the dock devices?

            That is just plain stupid.
            All this meta-data you cite is never going to be transmitted by lots of dedicated pins.
            Normally such kind of data is just emitted over a serial connection. (Even before the age of USB, Sony MiniDisc already used a serial link to transmit this. Audio goes through analog+optical jack, meta-data

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @06:24PM (#25838699) Journal
          A standard USB connector doesn't have pins for composite video or analogue audio. The iPod dock connector has these, USB, FireWire (and includes power pins rated at closer to FireWire specification than USB, which means that they charge more slowly if you plug them in to USB), and a simple serial (RS-432, if I remember correctly, but I might be talking nonsense here) for cheap devices to control it without needing an expensive USB / FireWire controller chip. I don't know why more devices don't support the iPod dock connector. The socket is standard (you can buy them cheaply for hobby projects, and a few people have done so) and all of the signals it carries are also standard. The only proprietary bit is the mapping from pins to signal formats, and this was reverse-engineered within a few weeks of the first iPods with a dock connector being released.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JonathanBoyd (644397)

          There's no reason a standard USB interface couldn't have been decided upon by various media players that allowed digital playback and user interface to be exposed in both directions, but instead we have the iPhone dock connector in cars and on stereos.

          Actually, a standard USB interface couldn't possibly provide such functionality because one end must be the host and the other the peer, but your suggestion requires that the media player be able to function as both (unless you're talking about having one USB

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by MooUK (905450)

            iRiver's H3xx series act as host to other standard devices, through a second mini-USB port.

          • USB On-the-Go (Score:3, Informative)

            by DrYak (748999)

            Actually, a standard USB interface couldn't possibly provide such functionality because one end must be the host and the other the peer, but your suggestion requires that the media player be able to function as both

            Yes, it can. It's called On-The-Go [wikipedia.org] and is already used by lots of devices.

            (Mainly smartphones and cameras).

            Any USB interface which deviates from this practice is by definition non-standard.

            OtG is an official supplement of USB 2.0. And OtG device can interact without any problem with plain USB slaves or USB masters.

      • by MasterOfMagic (151058) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:55PM (#25837359) Journal

        Buy a used iPod (not refurbished and not from Apple), run Rockbox [rockbox.org] on it, and don't purchase anything else from the iTunes Music Store. Apple doesn't make any money from you on that. That's how I've acquired 3 out of my 4 Apple products (the other was a gift).

        If you want to avoid it on principle, I don't know of any competing player that uses the same dock standard, but even so, if you are rejecting on principle, do you want to encourage others to accept Apple's dock connector? As I recall, it is patented and has to be licensed from Apple - you don't want to encourage more people to pay licensing fees to Apple, do you?

        3.5mm stereo minijack or stereo RCA all the way. No encryption, no DRM, just analog goodness. Sure you need an additional wire for power, but that's rarely a problem.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CompMD (522020)

          I have a 1st gen ipod nano and it works really well with Rockbox.

          To completely avoid Apple, you could always get an Archos media player. They are fantastic. I rescued a JukeboxMulitmedia 20 from getting thrown out, as the former owner replaced it with an ipod. I think I got the better end of that deal...

        • by Vireo (190514) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @06:00PM (#25838355)

          3.5mm stereo minijack or stereo RCA all the way. No encryption, no DRM, just analog goodness. Sure you need an additional wire for power, but that's rarely a problem.

          I use my old gen-4 iPod in my car exclusively. The funny part is that nowadays, it does not act as a player at all, only as a USB hard drive. My radio is the player, has a USB port, and read off the iPod. It's digital, it recharges the device, and completely bypasses the iTuneDB.

          Of course I might as well use a USB key (and that's what I'll do when the iPod stops working), and I'm aware of the fact that this works as long as I don't need the player itself. However this shows that there often are alternatives to using analog signals or proprietary connectors.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by CODiNE (27417)

          So I check out rockbox after reading your post. I find this in their FAQ

          But I want a gap between my songs. Is there a way to turn off gapless?

          No. As explained above, for all codecs which support gapless and for LAME-encoded MP3s, Rockbox plays back your songs the way they were intended by the mastering engineer to be heard. If the mastering engineer did not include a gap at the end of a file, Rockbox does not add one.

          If the transition between tracks is too abrupt for your liking, you have two options. Firs

    • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:35PM (#25837063) Journal
      Just what is the point of having ipod? Why can't the competitors to apple just sit down and devise a common method for syncing the device to a media player? Get amazon & other drm free media stores involved to also provide a standard interface to purchase and install the music into a media player, and you've got the makings of an apple killer.

      I think there may be a more general rule for these situations. If you have an established proprietary leader, the only way to dislodge is for the competitors to come together create an open standard. I'm not sure if that's always the case, maybe its just my rose colored vision at work again, but its sometimes true. Feel free to discuss.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Macthorpe (960048)

        Not quite what you're after, and MTP [wikipedia.org] may not be truly open, but it is freely licensable by everyone and anyone. There's also support in Linux via libmtp.

        Creative dumped their own protocol in favour of it, so it can't be that bad.

        • Well, that's good. I have an older creative zen extra, that only works in windows xp with a crazy driver. I didn't realise at the time of purchase that it didn't just work as a usb drive.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Beorytis (1014777)

        ...just sit down and devise... an apple killer.

        Seems to me that although the technical details got them started, Apple's continued dominance has more to do with sexy industrial design and slick marketing aimed at nontechnical consumers. One thing that can be killed is the iPod trademark. Every time you use the word "iPod" as a common noun, you dilute the trademark a little more: I don't own an iPod.

        • Yeah its a little of both. I've dealt with my non tech friends when they've bought a non apple music player and struggled to figure out how to load it with music (even though it was a simple usb type drive). I think if the ease of the experience was the same, people would gravitate towards the cheaper solution. The ipod dilution helps, it would also help to introduce more people to amazon's drm free music store. It works nicely and its even cheaper than itunes. It helps to ween them off apple little bit by
        • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:59AM (#25842361)

          aimed at nontechnical consumers

          For god's sake, please stop associating good interface design with nontechnical users. There are plenty of very competent technical users out there that prefer a well designed interface because it makes things easier.

      • This all sounds great and I use free software as much as possible (until recently anyway), but the ipod works really well. The integration with itunes, not managing your library, getting podcasts, etc isn't rocket science but it works as expected.
        I am not an apple fan boy but I finally gave in and bought an ipod this year because I liked what my friends had, the others looked horrible and plasticy, and I love my macbook to death. Mine is mostly used for podcasts and npr.
        Speaking of things working as exp
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jrumney (197329)
        They don't need to sit down and devise it, MTP [wikipedia.org] was standardized as a USB device class earlier this year, and is already supported by pretty much all of Apple's competitors, with support built in to all major OSes (stretching the definition of OS to include any libraries that gets pulled in by a GNU/Linux distribution if you install a media player capable of syncing with an MP3 device).
    • by Omega996 (106762)
      what are some real alternatives to the ipod/phone?
      This isn't a troll - I'm seriously wondering. I have a Touch, and i'd replace it with something less restrictive, if I could find something that didn't look and behave like a cheap-ass taiwanese ripoff of a japanese product. I kind-of/sort-of looked at Zunes, but it doesn't seem to be any better WRT lock-in than apple's products, and i don't see the point in trading one manufacturer's DRM for another.
      • by Goaway (82658)

        You're not going to have much luck asking Slashdot that kind of thing. Most people around here thing a bullet-point feature list defines a device completely.

      • by insllvn (994053) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @07:04PM (#25839229)
        Check out Cowon, Archos, Creative, and SanDisk. I can personally vouch for the SanDisk Sansa e200 series (one of those replaced my iPod 5G, and I am much happier with it) and I have a friend who has a Creative Zen. It is a sturdy device, with an attractive interface. The Zen will take some getting used to for an iPod user, while the Sansa is closer. It replaces the touch wheel with a physical one in addition to buttons on the perimeter (simialr to one of the older iPod models). It really depends on what you use it for, but try and look for something not locked into a particular store that supports the Mass Transfer Protocol (MTP) which is the closest to an open standard you are likely to find.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BrentH (1154987)
      Problem is, no other manufacturer offers me a 160GB drive with good batterylife (40hrs+). Apple does.

      And don't start the 'do you really need that?' talk. No, I only really need food. Offer me a player like that for good money (got my 160GB iPod for 250 euro) and you have a deal.
  • Not for long (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BrainInAJar (584756) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:22PM (#25836831)
    By pointing out the older versions on Slashdot, odds are good that Apple will demand they purge the pages from the database.

    Good job, timothy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:27PM (#25836919)

    I believe the EU legislation that's closest to the DMCA explicitly allows reverse engineering for the purpose of interoperability. Perhaps someone should just make a Swedish mirror? :)

  • by MasterOfMagic (151058) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:28PM (#25836935) Journal

    And how are Microsoft and Apple different again? Oh, one screws a larger group of people than the other? And that makes it okay why?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nsayer (86181) *

      And how are Microsoft and Apple different again?

      Here'e a list:

      Apple's products are vastly superior to Microsoft's.
      Microsoft has been convicted of anti-trust violations in federal court. Apple has not.
      Apple's monopoly power is in the portable music market. Microsoft's is in the desktop operating system market.

      How's that for starters?

      And that makes it okay why?

      Did anybody say it did?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blhack (921171)

        Apple's products are vastly superior to Microsoft's.

        How so? I have run windows xp and several different linuxes on my laptops and desktops, as well as having used Mac OS pretty extensively. Windows XP wins hands down every single time. What are you using your Mac for that makes it so superior to a windows machine?

        Microsoft has been convicted of anti-trust violations in federal court. Apple has not.

        Courts are now the deciders for quality of tech?

        Apple's monopoly power is in the portable music market. Microsoft's is in the desktop operating system market.

        Apple's monopoly power is also in the hardware-that-is-allowed-to-run-Mac-OSX department.

        Microsofts policy is "Here, do whatever you want with this so long as you buy it".
        Apple's policy is "We are l

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AlXtreme (223728)

          How, seriously, is Apple any better than anything else?

          Well, Jobs' magical fairy dust is better than anything else.

          It's the dust that makes everything worth 3x their normal price, force you to buy a toy made in China even if it means waiting in line for a day and makes you act like you're suffering from rabies if anyone were ever to say anything slightly negative about said toy. You'll even rationalize using the DMCA to limit your own freedom.

          I have an iPod. It has been collecting dust for a while now, as I

      • by MasterOfMagic (151058) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:08PM (#25837553) Journal

        Apple's products are vastly superior to Microsoft's.

        Value judgment. I think that the Mac OS is much more secure and stable than Windows, but how do you judge the Zune against the iPod? There's no objective criterion there.

        Microsoft has been convicted of anti-trust violations in federal court. Apple has not.

        True, but irrelevant. They both engage in business tactics that screw their customers. If Apple were bigger, they'd probably get slapped around the same way Microsoft did.

        Apple's monopoly power is in the portable music market. Microsoft's is in the desktop operating system market.

        Again, true but irrelevant. They both engage in business tactics that screw their customers.

        My argument is that they both smack around their customers. I'm wondering why geeks give one a pass while they rabidly fight the other.

        • by NuclearKangaroo (768480) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:24PM (#25837821)

          We give Apple a pass because where Microsoft just screws us, Apple cuddles with us before it leaves.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And how are Microsoft and Apple different again?

        Here'e a list:

        Apple's products are vastly superior to Microsoft's.
        Oh really.

        Microsoft has been convicted of anti-trust violations in federal court. Apple has not.
        Apple's monopoly power is in the portable music market. Microsoft's is in the desktop operating system market.

        How's that for starters?

        So what.

        And that makes it okay why?

        Did anybody say it did?

        Heard of that time when Microsoft locked down everything it had, fucked and censored its own fans and customers and had the most obnoxious followers on the planet?

        That's right. You didn't.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Draek (916851)

        Apple's products are vastly superior to Microsoft's.

        Microsoft's PC peripheals are second to none but IBM, and that includes the poor excuse of a keyboard that comes with my Powerbook. And Apple may not make products in that area, but Visual Studio and Flight Simulator are also definitely at the top of their respective markets, so they do produce excellent products from time to time. I don't see how that excuses anything, though.

        Microsoft has been convicted of anti-trust violations in federal court. Apple has not.

        Legal, not moral difference. Unless you base your morality on law, which has some nasty (IMHO) consequences.

        Apple's monopoly power is in the portable music market. Microsoft's is in the desktop operating system market.

        And this is an action do

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MikeBabcock (65886)

      Because some geeks are more in love with Apple than with Microsoft.

      Apple is pretty evil too in their business practices, and anyone who denies it is just as much of a fanboy as those who deny Microsoft has ever done anything wrong either.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:58PM (#25837405)

      There is a subtle difference between the approach taken by Apple as compared to Microsoft. Sort of like the difference between a womanizer and a rapist.

      When Apple's customers get used, they are at least convinced it's what they wanted.

    • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:04PM (#25837489) Homepage Journal

      And how are Microsoft and Apple different again?

      Microsoft's lawyers are way lazier, that's the difference.

  • by Vexorian (959249) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:28PM (#25836939)
    Why hasn't the EU screwed apple already? The itunes-ipod abuse is like 10 times worse than IE-windows, yet nobody seems to be doing anything to stop this abusive non-sense.
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:52PM (#25837313) Journal

      Why hasn't the EU screwed apple already? The itunes-ipod abuse is like 10 times worse than IE-windows, yet nobody seems to be doing anything to stop this abusive non-sense.

      One reason is because Apple does not have a monopoly. It's ok to mildly abuse your customers if they can go to one of your competitors.

      ITMS is far from the sole provider of online music, and Apple is far from the sole provider of "mp3" players.

    • by Firehed (942385)

      IE-Windows is only harmful to web developers. Windows-All PC Hardware, not so much. While they've taken some legal shit for the former (though moreso with WMP than IE, if memory serves), it's the latter that really got them in trouble.

    • by tgatliff (311583) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:59PM (#25837411)

      Maybe it is because people actually like the iTunes -> iPod setup.

      Meaning, you are not required to buy an iPod or iPhone. Also, you are not required to buy iTunes. There are plenty of other options to choose from. In MS Windows case, all of the vendor applications were written for Windows, so you really had no choice...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jorgis (1151067)
      I wouldn't say nobody is doing anything.. Just because Apple doesn't get the treatment MS has gotten, doesn't mean nobody cares or does anything. ;) The Ombudsman of Norway has since sometime 2006 been in a legal battle [pcworld.com] against Apple for locking music on iTunes to their iPod's, demanding that it either only sell music playable on other players or open up iTunes to be able to export music to a format playable by other players (eg. DRM-free MP3). The latest development is that the case has going to be brough
  • http://www.omm.com/sanfrancisco/ [omm.com]

    BTW, the lawyer's name is Ramage - quite appropriate in my opinion.

    tr.v., rammed, ramÂming, rams.

    1. To strike or drive against with a heavy impact; butt: rammed the door with a sledgehammer until it broke open.
    2. To force or press into place.
    3. To cram; stuff: rammed the clothes into the suitcase.
    4. To force passage or acceptance of: rammed the project through the city council despite

  • ...coincidence? Something tells me no.
  • by Qubit (100461)

    I first read Apple's lawyer's name as "Rampage"...then when I looked more closely I noticed that his name was just "Ramage".

    Pity. It would be so appropriate.

  • by wikki (13091) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:38PM (#25837103)

    Why are companies so intent on trying to lock people out of their hardware? I have stayed out of the portable MP3 market for years, but recently got a used 5th gen IPOD off of craigslist. Luckily it works fine with Amarok, and other Linux apps.

    I just don't understand what they gain by locking out a certain group of users from their Ipods.

    The main reason I got an iPod was because I knew I could use it in linux.

    • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@gmai l . com> on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:42PM (#25837171)
      FYI, if you install Rockbox on your ipod you can use it to play oggvorbis and flac files too. That's what I do myself, and it's also the reason I'd never get a new ipod.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I did this myself, and it's specifically the reason why I grabbed a 5.5 gen iPod rather than the newer (and easier to find) 6th gen "Classic" variety. I can play my collection in Ogg Vorbis and update it with rsync. I love their hardware, but they won't let me do what I want with it.
  • Oh look. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cloakable (885764) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:41PM (#25837159)

    Apple are exploiting a monopoly in one market (iPhone/iPod) to establish a monopoly in another (iTunes).

    Hopefully the EU will commence some asskicking.

  • by 1053r (903458)
    I've been considering buying a non-iPod for my next Mp3 player, but wasn't sure. Now Apple has done the nice thing for me and solidified my decision -- Any suggestions on what my next non-evil Mp3 player should be?
    • I agree with other respondents: almost anything, but my (older, discontined) Creative Zen M works beautifully with Amarok, has a radio, plays both video and audio for longer than my 5g ipod, and the video converter (windows only, so far, though you can fake it with ffmpeg) actually works, rather than spending 2 hours crunching only to say it can't convert the file, the way iTunes always seems to. Too bad the Zen looks like a 1980's remote control, but if you're primarily interested in how well it works, ra

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:47PM (#25837245)

    What is it about Apple products that make people willing to put up with all the crap they do to lock customers into everything. They do more bullying and steering of their customers through proprietary formats and schemes than any other company I know of.

    Is having the newest Shiny Thing(tm) really worth putting up with Apple?

  • by Gizzmonic (412910) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:52PM (#25837303) Homepage Journal

    I was unimpressed with the new version of iTunes, too. Turning off links to the Music Store no longer works either, unless you use this hack [macosxhints.com].

  • I must say that I bought a creative zen because I hate using ipods. You can't just copy files over to them and back to your computer. Oh no no, you must use itunes and authorize machines etc., and if you screw up there goes your collection.
    Of course the zen isn't as "sexy" as the ipod, but SFW? It's in my pocket playing music, and astonishingly it works! And I can freely copy music here and there, and share with friends (which is legal where I live, thank you very much cd/dcd/mp3 player taxes).

    • by Omega996 (106762)
      If someone is retarded/stupid/ignorant enough to keep an entire collection of music or video only on a portable media player, then that person deserves to lose it. That's akin to keeping important personal documents on a laptop, never backing it up, and then decrying the fact that all of that personal information is lost forever when the laptop was stolen after being left at a local $coffeenazi shop.

      How's the interface for the Zen, or playlist management using whatever software you have? That's more importa
  • Mirrored! (Score:5, Informative)

    by NeuralAbyss (12335) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:58PM (#25837397) Homepage
  • Unusual tagging... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kabuthunk (972557)

    Why is this article tagged "outbreak of stupidity"? In reality, it should be tagged "same ol', same ol'". An outbreak of stupidity would imply that wasn't already the norm.

  • Thanks, I will never be buying any of your products.

    I'll stick with building my own systems, and installing Linux, and I'll use digital music players that support Ogg-vorbis.

    It is quite obvious that you do not want any customer you cannot control.

  • I've been using the latest version of MediaMonkey which supports iPhone 2.0/2.1.
    The moment I found out, I was hella happy; dTunes (not iTunes) has it's advantages but it isn't as integrated as "Mobile Player"
    dTunes for one, doesn't support categorization of any sort, let alone any of the advanced features such as play/stop via the mic "squeeze" switch.

  • Can't the project be moved to the forums at thepiratebay.org? :-) They have a little history with Apple legal notices. http://static.thepiratebay.org/apple_response.txt [thepiratebay.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:01PM (#25837445)

    It is worth pointing out that the letter that the lawyers sent claimed that the web site contained information about breaking the DRM found in iTunes, but that is not the case.

    The web site contained information on how to be able to *read and write* the iTunes database, to allow you for example to use your iPod from Linux and update the song list.

    What happened is that recent versions of the firmware and iTunes now use a secret hash that they compute over the *directory listing*. If the hash does not match, then the iPod/iPhone refuses to load the database. So this is effectively a mechanism to prevent third-parties to upload un-DRMed songs to the iPhone/iPod and had nothing to do --as the lawyer claimed-- with breaking the DRM in the files themselves.

    You have to wonder if these lawyers or Apple are not in overstepping some legal boundaries, they could be liable for lying.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by profplump (309017)

      It's just to stop third-party interfaces. It has nothing whatever to do with DRM-encumbered media files -- the Apple-provided interface is perfectly happy to let you load media files with our without DRM.

  • by KeithIrwin (243301) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:09PM (#25837581)

    Interestingly enough, that's not a DMCA takedown notice. It's just a threat dressed up to look like a takedown notice. You can tell because it doesn't allege copyright infringement.

    Notice, for instance, that the "DMCA Certification" part at the bottom says "I hereby state, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the activities identified above are not authorized by Apple, that the information in this notification is accurate, and that I am authorized to act on behalf of Apple in this regard."

    What it doesn't say is that the works in question are owned by Apple or anything else which in anyway makes a copyright claim.

    What it does allege is that they're violating the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA. There is no takedown procedure for violating the anti-circumvention provision because there is no safe-harbor. If you create an circumventing device, you have violated the DMCA and you can't escape liability by following takedown notices.

    The further reason that it isn't a DMCA takedown notice is that what they ask to remove is not something that the receivers have a legal obligation to take down. Information about the workings of Apple's cryptographic schemes, whether or not they comprise an means which effectively controls access to a work, are not unto itself a device which circumvents their schemes, and, as such, is not in violation of the DMCA.

    Although Mr. Ramage writes "The DMCA explicitly prohibits the dissemination of information that can be used to circumvent such technology." that's very simply not true. The DMCA outlaws the creation of circumventing devices, but it does not outlaw exchanging information about how to create one. This, along with the research exception, is why DRM and other security research can still happen and has only rarely been hindered by the DMCA, and even then only by the specter of lawsuits.

    Beyond that, Apple's hash scheme quite certainly doesn't apply for DMCA protection for one simple reason: it isn't a scheme which, under the definitions of the DMCA, "effectively protects a copyrighted work." There are two distinct reasons why it doesn't qualify. First, it doesn't protect copyrighted files. It only protects the database which is not copyrighted and not eligible for copyright since it is not a creative work. Second, the hash protects it against modification, not reading. As such, it does not "effectively protect a copyrighted work" because the legal definition refers only to protecting something from being read in an unauthorized manner, not from being written.

    So, this might have been a valid takedown notice if:
    1) The hash in question were an effective measure under the legal definition
    2) It were protecting copyrighted information
    3) The DMCA outlawed the dissemination of information which could lead to creating circumvention devices
    4) There were a safe-harbor provision allowing service providers to avoid liability

    Except that the actions so far also all fall under the interoperability exception. Given that their only goal is to allow other programs to work with the iPod, this falls very, very squarely under interoperability exception.

    So, there would also have to be a fifth condition;
    5) There were no interoperability exception.
    As it stands, this notice has no legal standing, and if it were sent to me, I would ignore it. Hopefully the lawyers with whom this project consults will come to the same conclusion.

    Now, what Apple could do instead would be to assert copyright over the disassembled/decompiled versions of the source code which appeared on the web page. I would argue that that approach would also be legally invalid, but at least it wouldn't be so obviously so. It could at least lead to some fairly subtle legal arguments.

    This notice, on the other hand, is just factually and legally incorrect.

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:28PM (#25837881) Homepage Journal

    The DMCA explicitly prohibits the dissemination of information that can be used to circumvent such technology.

    Uh, no, actually it explicitly prohibits trafficking in "technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof," not necessarily all information. You can persuade a judge that Congress meant to restrict speech in addition to those other things, but don't say it "explicitly prohibits" speech, because it obviously doesn't.

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