Decision reached in less than 24 hours
The jury for the iPod/iTunes DRM lawsuit has ruled that Apple didn't violate antitrust laws by blocking music from rival storefronts in iTunes software updates, Reuters reports. The verdict was rendered in less than a day, following closing arguments on Monday. Had the jury swung in favor of the plaintiffs, the company could have owed some $350 million in penalties.
Apple versus Real trial testimony concludes, jury deliberations begin next week
[Updated with additional context for Schultz' testimony] The Real versus Apple anti-trust trial continued on Friday, with an Apple engineer testifying that he worked on a project in 2006 that was "intended to block 100 percent of non-iTunes clients," though he later clarified that such actions were taken in the name of user security and OS stability. Former Apple engineer Rod Schultz was summoned by Real's attorneys unwillingly, and discussed his work on a project with the codename "Candy" which would "keep out third party players" who exploited flaws in the iPod's operating system.
Former ice dancer bought an iPod nano in 2006, making her eligible
A 10-year-old lawsuit between audio software maker Real and Apple, that was nearly derailed when both plaintiffs were found to have been mistaken about when and how they bought their iPods, is back on track following the discovery of an eligible person -- a 65-year-old ice dancer who bought an iPod nano in 2006. The case, which could have been dismissed if a qualified plaintiff wasn't found quickly, told the court that she had used iPods to help her practice ice-skating maneuvers. The judge, however, still noted that Apple now has "an appealable issue" should it lose the case.
Attorneys search for new lead plaintiff in class action
As anticipated, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has disqualified the final plaintiff in the iPod DRM lawsuit, Marianna Rosen. The Associated Press writes that Rogers sided with Apple, which pointed out that iPods bought by Rosen were either from outside the eligible time window or on a credit card associated with her husband's business. The judge says she is "troubled" by "the failure of plaintiffs' counsel themselves to investigate sufficiently," but notes that the case will continue if another lead plaintiff can be found, since she has a duty to the "millions of absent class members."
Real hunts for new plaintiffs in 10-year-old case
Judge Gonzales Rogers has ruled against an Apple request to dismiss the 10-year-long lawsuit by audio software maker Real, but has not denied that the case may soon be without a valid plaintiff. Following the dropout of the first of two women named in the original case, more evidence was presented in court today that the remaining plaintiff, Marianna Rosen, is also not qualified by virtue of not having directly bought an iPod in the relevant time window with her own funds.
Plaintiffs discovered to have bought iPods after DRM software removed
A 10-year-long lawsuit between Apple and Real in which the latter accuses the iPhone maker of deliberately altering its software solely to block Real's hack of Apple's FairPlay DRM software might be terminated over a previously-undiscovered legal issue found by Apple attorneys. Apple has informed the court that neither of the two women who represent the class of affected plaintiffs were, in fact, affected by the accused software change -- as they bought their iPods either before or after the software in question was in force.
User content, such as MP3s ripped from CDs, never at risk
Day two of the Real versus Apple trial over Apple's FairPlay DRM and alleged anti-trust actions potentially taken by the Cupertino manufactured concluded yesterday, after hyperbole from both legal teams. Real's attorney Patrick Coughlin claimed that Apple gave users the "worst possible experience" and would "blow up" music purchased from unauthorized stores. Apple defended itself, saying that the obtuse warning that iTunes gave when detecting hacked files didn't need to be more specific, and it was only protecting users from an array of attacks plaguing the device.
Jobs testimony calls Real 'hackers' in 2004, surprised that Real existed in 2011
In the first day of testimony in the anti-trust Apple versus Real Networks trial, the promised pre-recorded testimony from Steve Jobs was trotted out by both the plaintiff's and defendant's attorneys. When queried about the threat from Real, and what Apple's response should be in 2004, Jobs said that the statement should say that "we are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod." At stake in the trial is $350 million, as well as other antitrust actions that could possibly be applied against the Cupertino manufacturer.
Real seeking $350 million in damages, declaration by Apple about decade-old issue
The Apple versus Real anti-trust trial centering around Apple's use of FairPlay Digital Rights Management (DRM) to prevent piracy (or block other music stores, as Real claims) has begun, as expected. Lawyers for the complainants continue to claim that changes in iTunes blocking other companies' music stores from functioning on the iPod allowed Apple to raise prices. Real's attorneys seek $350 million in damages in the long-postponed suit that dates back nearly a decade. The trial, expected to last three weeks, is being held in the Oakland, California federal courts.
Judge rules 'battle between the economists' needs a jury
The new judge on the Apple versus Real anti-trust case has declared that there is enough evidence to go to trial, after nine years of litigation and a judge's retirement during the process. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has ordered a trial, after an earlier pre-trial conference finding that Real attorneys have presented enough evidence to show that Apple created a monopoly with its FairPlay DRM, which then allowed the Cupertino manufacturer to overcharge customers.
Traces back to Apple attempt to break Real Harmony
People who bought an iPod classic, shuffle, touch, or nano between September 12th, 2006 and March 31st, 2009 are being notified that they could participate in a pending class action lawsuit, reports say. Emails are being sent out this week referring people to ipodlawsuit.com, for extra details, even though there has been no settlement or ruling. The suit was originally filed by Thomas Slattery in 2005, based on an incident in 2004, when RealNetworks released software called Harmony.
Court says cracking DRM OK if purpose is legal
A new court ruling on Friday could set a legal precedent that allows bypassing digital rights management (DRM) for fair use purposes. New Orleans circuit Judge Emilio Garza found that GE hadn't violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by using hacked security dongles to repair uninterruptible power supplies from MGE UPS Systems as the goal itself was legal. While a jury fined GE $4.6 million for breaking copyright and misusing trade secrets, Judge Garza determined the DMCA hadn't been broken, as using hacked items by itself didn't constitute violating protection at the same time.
Rhapsody cuts price to stay relevant
Rhapsody today slashed the price of a subscription from $15 per month to $10. The immediate cut still provides the same features, which includes unlimited music downloads as well as streaming and in some cases local caching. Permanent MP3 downloads are still an option and usually cost $10 per album with songs ranging between 79 cents and $1.29.
Threat to iTunes?
A forthcoming version of Real's Rhapsody iPhone app should support offline listening, a designer of the software says. Although Rhapsody mobile service is priced at $15 a month, iPhone and iPod users can currently only stream music, whether through Wi-Fi or 3G. Offline listening would likely allow the storage of tracks for the duration of a subscription, making the app more practical in areas with bad or inconsistent connections.
RealPlayer SP update
Real has announced an update to its media player, RealPlayer SP, which adds a variety of new functions for sharing content or transferring videos to portable devices. Users can download videos from the Internet, and then select their particular mobile device from a drop-down list.
MCS sues MS, Yahoo, Real
MCS Music America has filed a lawsuit against Real Networks, Yahoo and Microsoft over alleged music copyright infringements earlier this week. The copyright administration company claims the defendants breached copyright on several pieces of music and their artists. MCS represents a large number of other plaintiffs and says streaming music services such as Rhapsody, Zune and Yahoo Music allow users to retain the copyrighted tracks for an extended period of time, saying the defendants are required to obtain the rights for such a form of distribution.
REAL Server 2009 shipping
REALbasic creator REAL Software has launched REAL Server 2009 Release 1, featuring improved scalability and performance. The SQLite database server is geared toward developers who need to expand a single-user application into a multi-user platform. The release provides eight major new features, including a new architecture that is scalable to support over 10,000 concurrent connections. The software now utilizes multi-core processing and improved RAM usage to increase the speed of queries, with platform-specific optimizations to maximize performance.
Nokia 7205 Intrigue at VZW
Verizon today made the rare addition of a Nokia phone to its stable in the 7205 Intrigue. The clamshell is a stylized music phone with a stealth external display and controls, a seamless back and a gradient-effect keypad. Functionally, it brings a 2-megapixel camera with a dedicated capture button and flash, a media player with support for Real Rhapsody music, and a microSDHC slot that supports up to 8GB of storage. Stereo Bluetooth allows wireless headphones.
Haier ibiza touch and mini
Haier tonight added two more players to the Rhapsody ibiza line that both share direct parallels to Apple players. The ibiza Touch (pictured above) appears a higher-end counterpart to the ibiza Theatre that adds a sharper, 2.8-inch 400x240 touchscreen and Wi-Fi, which lets it browse the web, download podcasts and Real Rhapsody subscriptions, and tune Internet radio. It shares the Theatre's Bluetooth for pairing wireless headphones. Battery life drops accordingly and sees the Touch run for just 15 hours of AAC, Audible, MP3, Rhapsody or WMA audio but a relatively long 6 hours of DivX, H.264, MPEG-4, VC-1 or WMA video.
Haier ibiza Rhapsody Sport
Haier on Thursday has quietly released the second generation of its Internet-capable portable media players. The ibiza Rhapsody Sport is ruggedized compared to the original player and has both a more easily gripped, rounded body as well as a weather-resistant covering that partly protects against rain or snow. The player continues to center on an 802.11g Wi-Fi link that lets it download podcasts, download unlimited songs over Real's Rhapsody to Go service, stream videos from AOL and check specific news feeds.
Kid Rock picks Rhapsody
Popular rap-rocker Kid Rock has chosen Rhapsody as the exclusive online sales venue for his music, the owner of latter party has announced. Real notes that Kid Rock's albums have not been available online in any legal manner in the past, whether for download or streaming; as of today, the artist's entire collection should be available for purchase or streaming through the subscription version of Rhapsody.
Studios to Sue Real
Several major studios plan to sue RealNetworks for what they believe is inherent copyright infringement in the company's RealDVD ripping software, according to a tip sent to the AP. Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner are all said to believe that the software is deliberately bypassing the CSS encryption on DVD movies and so violating their copyrights. They also plan a temporary injunction on just-begun sales of the app, the unnamed source indicates.
Real early on Monday introduced a potentially controversial app that could affect the legality of media transcoding. RealDVD would be one of the first DVD ripping programs from a major developer but claims to dodge the legal setbacks that have shut down earlier apps: the software preserves Macrovision's CSS encryption and limits sending copies to a maximum of five authorized PCs. The solution would let notebook owners or a whole home play a DVD movie from anywhere, Real claims.
Real has fixed four "highly critical" security issues spread across the Mac, Windows and Linux versions of RealPlayer, according to a Secunia report. While two of the vulnerabilities are Windows-only, in that they relate to ActiveX controls, at least one is known to be universal. In this a design flaw is said to exist within the handling of frames in Shockwave Flash files, which in an unpatched copy of the software, could be used to create a heap-based buffer overflow.
Moto V750 Adventure at VZW
Verizon this morning quietly introduced the Motorola Adventure V750, the carrier's first-ever phone based on Motorola's push-to-talk network. The handset uses EVDO Revision A-based cellular data to provide the same kind of instant talk as Sprint's iDEN service (which moves to the similar QChat format) but with the theoretically improved quality of the 3G network. The clamshell design is also ruggedized with US military-grade protection against dust, drops and other shocks, temperature, and water splashes.
Verizon VCast MP3
Following on the heels of Real's Rhapsody MP3 store, Verizon today expanded its VCast Music store to include both MP3s and the Rhapsody subscription service. The former lets users of Verizon's PC software as well as any MP3-supporting cellphone on the company's 3G network download unprotected songs that can be used as the customer likes; that includes loading content on to phones that wouldn't otherwise support VCast songs or to outside software and devices, including iPods.
Real Rhapsody MP3 Store
Real this morning opened a test version of the Rhapsody MP3 Store, its first store to go without copy protected files. The MTV co-owned outlet is web-based and, unlike the company's subscription service, promises to work with any computer or device, including iPods; a Mac download manager is available to let users download all their songs as a complete package, Real says. The company has also successfully secured the catalogs of all four major music labels.
Nokia E71 Pre Review
Nokia's E71 today has received a review ahead of its official release date that suggests it may be the cellphone maker's best device yet. BGR notes that the QWERTY keyboard smartphone is more polished and slimmer than the E61i it replaces without sacrificing features; confirming earlier leaks, the device sports 3G for North American HSDPA networks as well as GPS and Wi-Fi. It also brings a large-capacity battery that lasts through more than a whole day despite "heavy" usage, according to informal tests.
Yahoo Switches to Rhapsody
Yahoo today tilted the balance of digital music by announcing that Yahoo Music would switch to RealNetworks' Rhapsody for its on-demand music, replacing the Yahoo Music Unlimited service for subscription services. The move will see existing Yahoo subscribers transition over to Rhapsody accounts over the next several months, beginning mid-year, and will make Yahoo's music services accessible from devices which were previously limited to the Real service; devices such as Logitech's Squeezebox media streaming hub and TiVo recorders will now have access to Yahoo's services. Both companies also plan to collaborate on a la carte downloads in the future.