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DeCSS writer recreates FairPlay, talks to Apple

updated 11:50 am EDT, Mon October 2, 2006

FairPlay Recreated

Jon Lech Johansen is infamous for his ability to break copy protection. Known as "DVD Jon," he wrote his DeCSS program that circumvents the Macrovision protection on movie DVDs while trying to enable playback on Linux. Johansen has now turned his attention to Apple's FairPlay in a constructive way, writes GigaOM's Liz Gannes. While programmers have previously broken FairPlay as used for songs and videos from the iTunes Store, these attempts have largely been made for either personal gain or to replicate Apple's music services without permission. Johansen has instead reverse-engineered the format with the intent of offering it for legal licenses to online music stores, says Gannes, and has reportedly talked to Apple CEO Steve Jobs about his future plans. Although the article indicates that Jobs was not informed of Johansen's specific plans and may respond differently in the future, the former purportedly warned the latter only that while Apple was not a litigious company, other companies might not share the same opinion.

The FairPlay emulation technology and the Apple executive's possible attitude towards it may mark a change in the iPod ecosystem, where FairPlay-encrypted media bought through iTunes has been used as a way of tying users to the more profitable iPod hardware. [Photo courtesy of Irina Slutsky]

By Electronista Staff
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  1. LordJohnWhorfin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2002


    Poor Jon

    He's been bamboozled by venture capitalists and fast talkers who will be laughing all the way to the bank while he's left holding the bag in criminal court. How many times has he broken the DMCA now? I can't believe he's naive enough to set foot in the US. For such a smart guy, he's pretty dumb.

  1. Commodus

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Feb 2002


    Maybe not!

    I agree that he's not the most careful coder out there, but unlike Real he at least wants to make it a standard instead of hogging it for himself.

  1. fritzw1957

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2004


    DeCSS is NOT Macrovision!

    DeCSS (dee-ciss) is an algorithm used to DeCODE the Content Scrambling System on just about every copy-protected DVD sold in Region 1 (US/Canada) and elswhere.

    Anyone who has used MacTheRipper could tell you that. MTR also will de-Macrovision the VIDEO_TS folder on your commercial DVD's.

    Let's get the terminology straight... it's confusing enough as it is for some people.

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