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DVD Jon receives subpoena in Apple antitrust suit

updated 11:35 pm EDT, Tue August 11, 2009

DVD Jon Apple subpoena

John Lech Johansen, known to many as DVD Jon, has been served a subpoena in the ongoing Apple iTunes antitrust case. The plaintiff's attorney, Thomas Merrick, requested the subpoena to gather relevant documents that Johansen might have in his possession.

Johansen has been asked to provide any communications with Apple regarding his efforts to make iPods inter-operable with content purchased outside of iTunes, along with discussions relating to syncing iTunes purchases with non-Apple media players. The request specifically asks for documents or communications involving FairPlay, including Apple's attempts to prevent Johansen from reverse engineering the technology.

Along with cracking DVD protection technology, Johansen also co-founded the start-up doubleTwist. The company offers software that circumvents Apple's FairPlay system and Microsoft's Windows Media protection, enabling users to transfer content between devices. The method is claimed to be legal, as it plays protected content through the original application, such as iTunes, and then records the output as a new track without restrictions.

It remains unknown how the attorneys plan to utilize the documents and communication records in the case. The suit argues that Apple violates antitrust laws by preventing music purchased through the iTunes portal from being played on other devices. The plaintiff accuses Apple of violating terms of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act.

Apple recently issued a formal retraction of its cease and desist letter sent to a BluWiki publisher that hosted discussions relating to syncing iPhones and iPods without using iTunes. The company's lawyers initially threatened the site with legal action, although the Electronic Frontier Foundation reacted with a lawsuit aiming to protect the site host. Apple finally backed down and sent a letter withdrawing its objections to the content.

The class action suit, initiated by Thomas Slattery, was approved to go forward in the U.S. District Court of Northern California.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. vasic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005

    +4

    How is this possible

    Isn't this suit without merit? Any device can now play music bought in iTunes. There are plenty of software solutions for transferring iTunes music to other devices.

  1. lowededwookie

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008

    +2

    Because of video

    Because video is still protect by DRM so in theory something like this could be used to record video for use on other players.

    It's how he managed to break the DRM on DVD so Apple's case still has some merit.

  1. Eldernorm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007

    +3

    Scary

    One part of the government wants to make you have access to everyones propritary software and another part of the government (in Marshall texas) wants to prevent any use of any stupidly allowed patent.

    If you breathe air your in violation of a patent and must stop and yet you must allow everyone who deals with you to breathe all the air around you.

    Its a typical "stupid government " edition of left hand and right hand acting like they are on different bodies. :-((( very sad.

    Just a thought,
    en

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: Scary

    One part of the government wants to make you have access to everyones propritary software and another part of the government (in Marshall texas) wants to prevent any use of any stupidly allowed patent.

    Sorry, but no one is saying they want access to Apple's software. What they want is for Apple to open up the DRM for other companies to license.

    And this isn't the government doing the suing, it's a standard civil lawsuit.

    And it has been granted to move forward because it takes a lot for a judge to just dismiss a case out-of-hand.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    Re: How is this...

    Isn't this suit without merit? Any device can now play music bought in iTunes. There are plenty of software solutions for transferring iTunes music to other devices.

    Unless you count the millions (billions?) of songs still DRM'd in people's libraries and still restricted to playing on just iTunes and iPods.

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