In what will be music to the ears of every rival iPod manufacturer famous hacker Jon Lech Johansen, affectionately known as DVD Jon, has announced he has found a legal way to bypass the iTunes ‘Fairplay’ copy protection.
The stunning announcement was made by Johansen’s company, DoubleTwist, and it immediately announced plans to market the breakthrough to iPod/iTunes rival companies.
"There's a certain amount of trouble that Apple can give us, but not enough to stop this," said Monique Farantzos, MD at DoubleTwist. "We believe we're on good legal ground, and our attorneys have given us the green light on this."
The reason DoubleTwist is so sure of itself is thought to be because of the way Johansen went about opening up Fairplay. Instead of cutting through Apple’s digital rights managements (DRM) code Johansen apparently developed software which wraps around the Fairplay code ‘reverse engineering’ it and tricking iTunes into thinking it is playing iTunes purchased music. In effect a kind of emulation which would allow other players to work with the uber-popular software.
Johansen has plenty of legal experience to back up his company’s bold claims too since aged just 15 (today he is only 22) he famously cracked encryption codes on DVDs using a programme he called DeCSS. Naturally he was taken to court, but he won and the free programme is readily available on the web. The achievement also earned him his nickname.
Interestingly, in dialogues I have had with many rival iPod companies it is a common view that the exclusivity of iTunes is the key component in the player’s continued market dominance. We may be about to find out whether that argument holds true…