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Media (Apple) Media Your Rights Online

BluWiki Seeks iPodHash Author, Hopes for Help From EFF 77

Posted by timothy
from the have-you-seen-this-guy? dept.
Sam Odio, who runs the BluWiki mentioned the other day as host of the iPodHash project, has posted a followup on the legal tussle in which Apple has engaged the iPodHash project for attempting to reverse-engineer the hash used to encrypt the iTunesDB in recent iPods. He writes in that post: "I've received a flood of emails from interested individuals who want to help. Most importantly, I was contacted by Fred von Lohmann from the EFF. They're currently evaluating whether they will represent us against any potential Apple litigation. This would be great, because it will enable BluWiki to continue to host the project while working with EFF to address Apple's concerns. However, before the EFF commits to representing us against Apple, they want to speak to the author of the [iPodHash] project. I'm posting this public plea hoping that the author, or someone who knows the author, might read it." Update: 11/23 04:25 GMT by T : Due to a shortage of brain cells, I flipped the actors here as this post was originally rendered: To be clear, Sam Odio of BluWiki is seeking the person behind the iPodHash project, not the other way around. Mea culpa.
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BluWiki Seeks iPodHash Author, Hopes for Help From EFF

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  • I hope they win (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rriven (737681)

    I hope they win. I am currently avoiding iTunes like the plague it is on windows. Resource hungry and shoves new software at you all the time

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The other day I got a popup that asked me to update iTunes. I DIDN'T INSTALL iTUNES, apparently it came with quicktime. Fuck.

      • by rriven (737681)

        When mine broke I decided that just because of itunes i was going to look for a different brand. It seemed like it installed 10 windows services always had updates and then the whole give you Safari unless you opted out.

        That was when I said no more

        My brother says it is 100 times better on his Macbook Pro. So i guess it is not all bad.

        • by corsec67 (627446)

          i was going to look for a different brand

          If you are looking for something like an MP3 player, an interesting one I got recently is the Slacker G2 [slacker.com].

          It doesn't interact with my Ubuntu computer at all, and only works with Windows computers for transferring songs.

          But, it will automatically download songs over wifi based on stations I add to it through the Slacker.com website, and then it keeps track of what I played, what I like and don't like, and will change the songs automatically based on that. The free serv

          • Re:I hope they win (Score:4, Insightful)

            by lysergic.acid (845423) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @12:35AM (#25862743) Homepage

            that sounds pretty cool actually (and doesn't look half bad either). though i'm still waiting for public wireless internet access to gain more widespread adoption so we can start seeing true wireless internet radios. i was sorta hoping Last.fm would come out with a portable media player. they're more indie friendly, and their recommendation system and just the overall site interface are both really well designed.

            in any case, Apple is really demonstrating how screwed up our legal system is, and particularly the abuse of the DMCA by corporate juggernauts like themselves. guilt and innocence don't even matter in such lopsided match ups. this kind of corporate bullying not only shows the ugly side of the legal system, but also the ugly side of Apple.

            if such actions are tolerated by consumers, then we'll continue to see consumer rights being eroded to the point that we'll need the express permission of Apple/Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo/et al. just to turn on the devices we've purchased. if breaking the DMCA is the only way to create software that's interoperable with the iPod, then Apple can take their DMCA notice and shove it.

            Apple has a near monopoly on PMPs, and they're now abusing their market dominance to gain an unfair monopoly on the desktop music player/media manager market as well. DMCA or no DMCA, you can't use one monopoly to muscle out your competitors in another market. this is clearly anti-competitive behavior. Apple doesn't need to publish the specifications to their proprietary hardware/software, but they shouldn't be allowed to suppress other people's attempts to reverse-engineer those specs.

            • Re:I hope they win (Score:5, Insightful)

              by corsec67 (627446) on Sunday November 23, 2008 @01:27AM (#25862895) Homepage Journal

              though i'm still waiting for public wireless internet access to gain more widespread adoption so we can start seeing true wireless internet radios.

              You mean like this [amazon.com], although the reviews seem to be poor.

              There are internet clock radios, and this one [amazon.com] even has Slacker.

              As for the rest of your comment: yeah. The DMCA is a bad law.

              Ideally if DRM was protected by law, the consumers should be protected as well. Free replacement discs since backups aren't allowed. Guaranteed money back if the activation servers go offline, or a DRM free version. A DRM free version of the media in escrow for when(if?) the media goes into public domain. If the media is tied to a piece of hardware, free replacement if that hardware is broken or no longer functional. Free upgrades in media, like DVD to Blu-Ray, since you can't copy stuff.

              And so on.

            • by NateTech (50881)

              Oh what silliness. Apple has no monopoly on PMP's at all. People just buy their stuff because they like the devices, and know about them from TV ads.

              Any other wimpy little PMP manufacturer buys some airtime and gets themselves a good marketing campaign, they'd see a resulting bump in sales.

              Going from "people like them and they win in the marketplace" to "monopoly" is quite a stretch. It's not like the MSFT case (which was all about pre-installed browsers, not the OS, and it's cute that no one seems to re

        • by Goaway (82658)

          Most of Apple's software for Windows is incredibly annoying and buggy compared to the OS X versions.

          It's not really a very good strategy for introducing people to their platform.

      • My sister in law got Safari with iTunes. She didn't ask for it either.
  • What I don't understand is why does Apple even have iTunes as a program. Honestly the most logical way of making an iPod would it would conform to USB mass storage device specs and could use whatever machine (OS X, Linux, Windows, BSD, etc) and have iTunes be a music store along with an optional player where the iTunes store is accessed via a web browser or via the iPod (in the case of the touch). And even then, why does Apple even care about people wanting to use the iPod without iTunes, its a small minori
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by larry bagina (561269)

      iTunes predates the iPod.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because it makes it harder for Apple to control the user and to keep product bugs to a minimum.

      By bundling all of the steps into their own products they don't have to address bugs such as:
      *Internet Explorer not being secure enough to access the store
      *Operating System not handling Mass Storage correctly
      and other bugs that are, honestly, not their problem.

      I am as much against the evil empire as anyone else, but they have their reasons for covering their butts and bundling all their eggs together. Honestly tho

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Walpurgiss (723989) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @09:16PM (#25861783)
      They encode the db, and rename all the files and sort them into unrecognizable folders and such to obfuscate the files.

      You can enable disk mode on the ipod, and just drag and drop stuff onto it, but you can't put music on it that way for the iPod to play. They do this so you can't 'easily' (for a casual iPod user) just load up your ipod, take it to someone else's computer, and give them a copy of all your music.

      Of course, this hasn't stopped anyone who really wants to do that, since free software exists to copy playlists, and tracks off of the ipod onto your pc without using iTunes exist. But it stops 'regular' iPod users from just sharing all their music everywhere.

      Stopping that, is the reason that they tie your iPod to an itunes account, and why they obfuscate the music you put on the ipod with iTunes.

      Other than that though, it conforms to the mass storage device.
      • by peragrin (659227)

        while your correct whats the difference If I carry an 8 gig SD card with me and leave the songs I want with my friends anyways?

        Actually I know the difference apple isn't trying to stop that part, only to stop from being sued by stupid record labels trying to enforce an old business model on new hardware.

        • Convenience is really the only difference. To load up the SD card/flash drive/whatever that is not your iPod, requires forethought. But just dumping something from your iPod could be done spur of the moment. They can't stop the people who 'really' want to do it, only people who are like 'oh I have that song right here, take a copy' somewhere.

          All their obfuscation stops is people who would only do it because it was convenient to do so. Everyone else would work around the problem.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Duradin (1261418)

        The way iTunes stores the songs on the iPod also makes for more efficient searches (for the iPod). Less unnecessary harddrive spinning means longer playtimes.

        I'm kidding of course, Apple just wanted to piss off all the anal-retentive types that are still living in the 90's and want to name every song by hand and put each song individually into a specially crafted folder. MP3s just don't sound right without that personal touch.

      • by lachlan76 (770870)
        You can copy from an iPod to a computer with iTunes now. I expect it's merely so that the name is of a fixed length, allowing everything to be allocated statically.
        • The naming on the ipod does that, but it also obfuscates the contents, a positive side effect if you want to add a stumbling block to sharing out songs. It is harder to give someone a copy of an album, if the album is split up between like 100 folders, and each file has an encoded unreadable name.

          You can copy from an iPod to a computer with iTunes now.

          When did they add that capability? When I used to use itunes, it could only copy to the ipod from the library, and not back. It only had sync options.

          And if you try to connect to another itunes library, you ha

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      its called control, and an obsession to keep it

      but really none of this is news, its all part of how DRM is designed to make sure customers use their hardware exactly how they want them to and no other way. At the expense of sounding like a broken record, DRM simply is defective by design in that they expect people to buy these devices yet never truly own them.
      • by chrb (1083577)

        Yeah, Apple's DAAP [wikipedia.org] authentication still hasn't been cracked, meaning that no other media player can stream from iTunes. It used to be that Amarok, Banshee etc. could stream, but since iTunes 7 they replaced the cracked hash algorithm with some kind of public key authentication and this is no longer possible.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I actually have to disagree. The way Apple does it is brilliant for keeping things organised on the iPod. Before getting an iPod, I had a generic MP3 player that did simply function as a USB mass storage device... and I hated it. Sure, it's possible to keep a music collection organised the old-fashioned way, but the iTunes way is easier.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's possible to provide the organisation features without obfuscating the files on the iPod, though.

    • What I don't understand is why does Apple even have iTunes as a program.

      To play mp3s (originally). To be a music store. To interface with the iphone and ipod. iTunes has been around since pre-ipod and pre-OSX days. I think a lot of people don't realize this..

      Honestly the most logical way of making an iPod would it would conform to USB mass storage device specs

      Does it not? Do you have trouble using it this way? I used to use mine (2g? 3g? I forget) as a usb disk on my PCs...

      and could use whatever machine (OS X, Linux, Windows, BSD, etc) and have iTunes be a music store along with an optional player where the iTunes store is accessed via a web browser or via the iPod (in the case of the touch).

      So you want apple to split up one easy to use app into several that do the same thing. What's the point of that?

      And even then, why does Apple even care about people wanting to use the iPod without iTunes, its a small minority.

      Copyright concerns. Are you forgetting that Apple with the itunes store was the breakthrough app

    • What I don't understand is why does Apple even have iTunes as a program. Honestly the most logical way of making an iPod would it would conform to USB mass storage device specs and could use whatever machine (OS X, Linux, Windows, BSD, etc) and have iTunes be a music store along with an optional player where the iTunes store is accessed via a web browser or via the iPod (in the case of the touch). And even then, why does Apple even care about people wanting to use the iPod without iTunes, its a small minority.

      It is more profitable to be a monopolist.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by profplump (309017)

      The iPod works just fine as a mass storage block device. And when you transfer media files to it I assure that it's using that interface.

      But if you own more than a few hundred media files you'll quickly find that organization by folder is inefficient if not totally unmanageable, and iTunes is designed to address that issue.

      It would be nice if the iPod could work both with unindexed and indexed media files -- certainly the additional flexibility and compatibility would be nice -- but it's folly to pretend th

      • by Briareos (21163) *

        But if you own more than a few hundred media files you'll quickly find that organization by folder is inefficient if not totally unmanageable, and iTunes is designed to address that issue.

        I'm not sure what stuff you were smoking, but managing my ~1250 folders of albums ripped to MP3 files is very convenient, especially outside of any media player you're locked into otherwise.

        And for browsing everything in those folders (and filling my iPod classic 30GB) there's always foobar2000 or Windows Explorer's search function, thankyouverymuch.

        np: The Year Of - Bees Be (Slow Days)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)
          How do you sync copies of your music library preserving and merging the latest metadata changes? Do you use some variant of svn or git that understands ID3 tags and MPEG-4 atoms? If not, what happens when you increment the play count for a song on your portable device and give it a rating and then sync with your computer?
          • by Briareos (21163) *

            If not, what happens when you increment the play count for a song on your portable device and give it a rating and then sync with your computer?

            Simple: I don't know, as I have no need for either of those features - updating my last.fm playlist is enough for me...

            But I guess those two features are still on the Requests list [www.yuo.be]...

            np: Max Tundra - My Night Out (Parallax Error Beheads You)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Goaway (82658)

      Because the iPod does more than just play mp3 files off a harddrive. It keeps files organized by metadata, it does smart playlists, and it keeps track of play counts, and it syncs all that with iTunes.

    • by Lars T. (470328)

      What I don't understand is why does Apple even have iTunes as a program.

      Maybe because they knew that people didn't want the oh-so-cumbersome "easy" way, but an actual simple way to do it. And the fact that the combo out-sold the "easy" players very soon (despite being derided by everyone and their dog) probably means they were right.

    • The actual reason is that when the iPod was created iTunes already existed, and that the purpose of the iPod was supposed to be iTunes on the go and it was supposed to be easy.

      Creating playlists on a USB mass storage device.... would not be easy.

      Creating playlists on iTunes which centralizes all your personal music is pretty darn easy.

      Additional reasons why include:
      1) having the entire catalog of songs on an ipod indexed and ready to go makes startup time so much easier and faster.
      2) having all the file nam

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 22, 2008 @09:23PM (#25861829)

    Registrant Name:Sam Odio
    Registrant Organization:OdioWorks, LLC
    Registrant Street1:14525 SW Millikan
    Registrant Street2:#39248
    Registrant Street3:
    Registrant City:Beaverton
    Registrant State/Province:OR
    Registrant Postal Code:97005
    Registrant Country:US
    Registrant Phone:+1.7037772727

    If you want something done...

    • Nice try... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Due to a typo in the article and the /. headline, you have located the guy who wrote the article. Great job, sherlock. Now find the author of IpodHash.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sheash. It is so hard to RTFA now?

    The iPodHash project is (was) hosted by BluWiki, and Apple's lawyers have contacted BluWiki with the takedown notice.

    It's BluWiki who are looking for the iPodHash guys, because the EFF wants to help represent them.

    to save you clicking through:

    "Plea to the author of IpodHash:
    Please contact Fred at the EFF. Fred is looking to protect your right to free speech online. But he can't do so if we don't work with him. Because Fred has expressed interest in representing both you an

  • I know that this is rather off-topic, but can anyone recommend a decent mp3-player that is similar to the ipod classic (i.e. at least 30gb storage, preferably more, not too expensive, acceptable battery) ?

    My creative player died this week and I would like to replace it with something that can hold all my music files. The ipod classic really appeals to me , but the fact that apple tries to force their software upon customers makes me want to avoid their products like the plague.

    So I would be really grateful

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Get a Zune.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      I know that this is rather off-topic, but can anyone recommend a decent mp3-player that is similar to the ipod classic (i.e. at least 30gb storage, preferably more, not too expensive, acceptable battery) ?

      My creative player died this week and I would like to replace it with something that can hold all my music files. The ipod classic really appeals to me , but the fact that apple tries to force their software upon customers makes me want to avoid their products like the plague.

      So I would be really grateful

    • Rockbox works with OLDER ( i.e.: Used/Refurbished ) iPod hardware up until Apple started hashing their database. ( IIRC, up to ver 5.5 )

    • by neomunk (913773)

      I REALLY like the Creative Zen Vision M. I know, I know, it's a 'brick', but the battery life is long, the sound quality is just fine, and it (well, MINE) holds 30GB.

  • Summary is wrong. (Score:5, Informative)

    by lothos (10657) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @10:10PM (#25862081) Homepage

    Sam Odio runs BluWiki and he is seeking the author of ipodHash.

    Plea to the author of IpodHash:
    Please contact Fred at the EFF. Fred is looking to protect your right to free speech online. But he can't do so if we don't work with him. Because Fred has expressed interest in representing both you and BluWiki, all communication is confidential and protected under the attorney-client privilege. Communication with Fred can not be released in court.

    If you do not contact Fred, and the EFF does not represent us, we will be forced to comply with all of Apple's demands. If Apple chooses to litigate against us, we will probably exhaust all funds in our defense. Out of money, BluWiki could ultimately be forced offline. This would be one more small step backwards in the fight for the right to free speech.

    Fred's phone number is +1 415 436 9333 x123 and his email is fred@eff.org. You can find his PGP key here.

    I sincerely hope that you contact the EFF so that we can restore this project and work with Apple in a way that does not violate BluWiki's founding principle: giving everyone the tools to express themselves online without censorship.

    posted by Sam Odio at 2:06 PM

  • by CaseyB (1105) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @11:48PM (#25862581)

    Sam Odio of BluWiki is seeking the person behind the iPodHash project

    It is a property of every good hash implementation that it's difficult or impossible to determine the source that generated the hash.

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