Fairplay licensing

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Now that Motorola has received a license for Fairplay DRM. When can we expect El Gato and Roku Labs to get the same?



There are over a 100 million songs our there just dying to be played on other stereos.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Maybe. Also Real is going to get a severe beating for circumventing the licensing through abusive 'reverse-engineering'.
  • Reply 2 of 21
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,255member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kim kap sol

    Maybe. Also Real is going to get a severe beating for circumventing the licensing through abusive 'reverse-engineering'.



    A beating well deserved. Perhaps Real wouldn't have to do stuff like this if they operated in an ethical manner.



    I'm wondering if Apple is going to license Fairplay and let some developers get a head start before they enter the market with their own home device that goes beyond the Airport Express. That would be fair.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    welderwelder Posts: 10member
    Motorola has not licensed FairPlay. Motorola and Apple have entered into an agreement where Apple will create a "mini-iTunes" for cellphones. From the press release:

    Quote:

    Apple will create a new iTunes mobile music player, which Motorola will make the standard music application on all their mass-market music phones, expected to be available in the first half of next year.



    Abusive reverse engineering? Good one. Have you reported Apple to Microsoft yet for shipping Samba with MacOS X? Now that's some abusive reverse engineering. Hopefully Apple will remove Samba and start operating in an ethical manner.
  • Reply 4 of 21
    leppoleppo Posts: 66member
    The problem is that Real sucks, that Real is dying, and that Real had no choice. They reached out to Apple and Steve did the right thing by laughing them off because they brought nothing to the table. If someone wants to license FairPlay, I'm sure Apple would give it consideration if it actually added value or helped drive ipod sales. Nobody in their right mind would think Real's crappy offerings to have such potential.



    I see two possible outcomes here, either Apple's legal dept spanks Real and they continue to die a slow, painful death for inflicting their buggy and no longer relevant bloatware on the world; OR nobody does anything. Apple ignores Real, and in turn pretty much everyone else does as well. I honestly don't think many ipod users care about playing Real stuff on their computers or ipods anymore. This will cause Real to die a slightly slower, slightly more painful death for inflicting their buggy and no longer relevant bloatware on the world.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,255member
    Quote:

    Motorola has not licensed FairPlay. Motorola and Apple have entered into an agreement where Apple will create a "mini-iTunes" for cellphones. From the press release:



    Hmmm that's an interesting bit of semantics. If Motorola is paying for the privledge then they may as well be licensing Fairplay but you are correct a full license would allow them to create their own playback app.
  • Reply 6 of 21
    welderwelder Posts: 10member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    Hmmm that's an interesting bit of semantics.



    It's not semantics. By your logic, Founder Technology and Hewlett-Packard were the first FairPlay licensees.
  • Reply 7 of 21
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Welder



    Abusive reverse engineering? Good one. Have you reported Apple to Microsoft yet for shipping Samba with MacOS X? Now that's some abusive reverse engineering. Hopefully Apple will remove Samba and start operating in an ethical manner.




    I did. And Microsoft did nothing about it. So I'm guessing they're fine with it. Maybe if, on day, Samba's reverse-engineering of SMB brought a problem to the table or prevented Microsoft from getting a chunk of income, Microsoft would do something about it. But at the moment, they're not and that's their choice.



    On the other hand, Apple is trying to establish itself further with the iTMS. Reverse-engineering FairPlay this early in the game will cost Apple some lost iTMS sales. Apple should do something about...and probably will.



    So, ummm, what was your point again? Enlighten me, oh wise Welder.
  • Reply 8 of 21
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Our courts are traditionally lenient on these so-called reverse-engineers since in the end they are working in the name of compatibility after all. The DMCA might change things, but if Apple can't prove RealNetworks stole their code, I imagine there's not much of a case.
  • Reply 9 of 21
    leppoleppo Posts: 66member
    My suspicion is that Apple may choose not to sue at all, just trash them in public and keep breaking Real's Harmony code with successive ipod software revisions. Cheap and effective without the mess of litigation. It certainly sounds that way from Apple's statement. Real is pretty much done, I think.
  • Reply 10 of 21
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Leppo

    My suspicion is that Apple may choose not to sue at all, just trash them in public and keep breaking Real's Harmony code with successive ipod software revisions. Cheap and effective without the mess of litigation. It certainly sounds that way from Apple's statement. Real is pretty much done, I think.



    In practice, though, Real can easily update Harmony every time Apple tweaks the iPod firmware. It will probably happen within days.



    But at a certain point it may become too much of a nuisance for customers to accept... I imagine Apple will try to make it as as annoying as possible for people to use Harmony comfortably.
  • Reply 11 of 21
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Hobbes

    In practice, though, Real can easily update Harmony every time Apple tweaks the iPod firmware. It will probably happen within days.



    But at a certain point it may become too much of a nuisance for customers to accept... I imagine Apple will try to make it as as annoying as possible for people to use Harmony comfortably.




    That doesn't sound very harmonious at all.



    Anyways...Apple has every reason to not let Real get away with this. To counter Welder's poor example, Microsoft has no real reason (yet) to do something about Samba.



    Real Player 10 is a very nice player (yes, Real has done an excellent job with the player, finally) but I've always found Real video to be of poor quality. It's mostly a nuissance that sites deliver their content using Real.



    I wouldn't mind seeing them disappear. It would be one less app to use and 1 less choice for sites to drop upon the users. Only until recently, I refused to use any sites that only offered Real and WMV.



    It wouldn't be a huge loss if Real disappeared. They've always tried to force the pay version on people. They've always tried to lock people into a closed-source format. The player used to really suck (although they've rectified that...but I think it's a bit late.)



    Hopefully the only choices sites will offer, come Tiger, is WMV and QT...I hope a lot of people upgrade to Tiger so people can start enjoying streaming H.264/AVC content.



    QuickTime much more versatile than Real...it's really surprising why people bother with Real.
  • Reply 12 of 21
    jcgjcg Posts: 777member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Leppo

    My suspicion is that Apple may choose not to sue at all, just trash them in public and keep breaking Real's Harmony code with successive ipod software revisions. Cheap and effective without the mess of litigation. It certainly sounds that way from Apple's statement. Real is pretty much done, I think.



    I don't think that Apple will "purposly" break REAL's solution, especially if it does not infringe on Apple's patents or copyrigts, and so far there is no evidence that it does. For Apple to purposly break the software they could definatly open them selves up to bad press coverage and potentialy be subject to user lawsuite.



    I think that the most important thing for Apple to do is make it very publicly known that this is not a supported solution and any responsability for updates to make REAL's solution work with future iPod software and hardware is REAL's responsability so user's should not call Apple support if and when their songs no longer play on an iPod after some future software update.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    leppoleppo Posts: 66member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JCG

    I don't think that Apple will "purposly" break REAL's solution, especially if it does not infringe on Apple's patents or copyrigts, and so far there is no evidence that it does. For Apple to purposly break the software they could definatly open them selves up to bad press coverage and potentialy be subject to user lawsuite.



    Interesting, but I disagree. Apple in the past has broken software by third party developers when their legal standing was shaky. I'm thinking about the Stuffit icon in the menu bar thing when OS X came out. Each new version of the OS broke the stuffit icon, and many were convinced this was absolutely intentional. Besides, they're not actually 'breaking' Harmony, just changing their own software to box Harmony out, which does make a difference, I think.



    I also disagree with you that modifying the ipod software to disallow Harmony compatibility will open Apple up to lawsuits. Apple is perfectly within its rights to protect what it sees as a diminishing of the ipod's quality. I suppose there might be an antitrust argument to be made, but my guess is it would be shaky at best.



    Quote:

    I think that the most important thing for Apple to do is make it very publicly known that this is not a supported solution and any responsability for updates to make REAL's solution work with future iPod software and hardware is REAL's responsability so user's should not call Apple support if and when their songs no longer play on an iPod after some future software update.



    Yeah, which is sort of what I was trying to say earlier. Apple might just fight this battle by using the press rather than the gavel.
  • Reply 14 of 21
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kim kap sol

    That doesn't sound very harmonious at all.



    Anyways...Apple has every reason to not let Real get away with this. To counter Welder's poor example, Microsoft has no real reason (yet) to do something about Samba.




    Microsoft already went through the whole game of tweaking SMB to break Samba, and Samba kept releasing patches that restored compatibility. They tried and failed, and so now they've been trying to get open source software outlawed altogether.



    There is absolutely nothing wrong with reverse engineering. Not unless you enjoy being abused by monopolies.



    Quote:

    I wouldn't mind seeing them disappear. It would be one less app to use and 1 less choice for sites to drop upon the users. Only until recently, I refused to use any sites that only offered Real and WMV.



    It wouldn't be a huge loss if Real disappeared. They've always tried to force the pay version on people. They've always tried to lock people into a closed-source format. The player used to really suck (although they've rectified that...but I think it's a bit late.)




    If they fail on the merits, fine.



    Given that FairPlay itself is apparently just a couple of standard libraries used together, and so it represents such a paltry amount of original work that they haven't even bothered trying to patent it, I doubt it was all that hard for Real to do what they did, and do it legitimately. For Apple, whose CEO was a hacker and a phreaker back in the day, to be "shocked" at this is pure grandstanding. They might have legitimate beefs with user friendliness, encoding quality, inconsistent DRM schemes, customer confusion, and so forth. But none of those arguments carry weight in IP law.



    Quote:

    QuickTime much more versatile than Real...it's really surprising why people bother with Real.



    As long as it's a popular format on the web, people pretty much have to get the player.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    welderwelder Posts: 10member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kim kap sol

    I did. And Microsoft did nothing about it. So I'm guessing they're fine with it. Maybe if, on day, Samba's reverse-engineering of SMB brought a problem to the table or prevented Microsoft from getting a chunk of income, Microsoft would do something about it. But at the moment, they're not and that's their choice.



    1. Whether or not the victim cares does not change the legality.

    2. Microsoft SMB licensing.



    Quote:

    Reverse-engineering FairPlay this early in the game will cost Apple some lost iTMS sales.



    Unfortunately for Apple competition isn't illegal.



    If MacOS X didn't include Samba, some customers who need Windows compatability would probably have to buy Windows instead. Apple's inclusion of Samba is costing Microsoft sales.



    Quote:

    So, ummm, what was your point again? Enlighten me, oh wise Welder.



    Quote:

    To counter Welder's poor example



    What's poor is your arguments. Why don't you enlighten the rest of us on the difference between abusive and non-abusive reverse engineering. Let me guess: it's abusive when the product of a company you own stock in is reverse engineered.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorph

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with reverse engineering. Not unless you enjoy being abused by monopolies.



    Ditto.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    I seem to recall a lawsuit when Connectix reversed engineered a certain Sony BIOS. Reverse-engineering may be legal but if a company is doing it out of sheer malice and costing another company sales, then I think the abused company should sue.



    If MS wants to sue Apple for using Samba...they should.



    I'm all for a company defending its property and user-experience in Apple or MS's case.



    Compromising iTMS' future and the iPod user-experience is no joke when MS is right behind Apple breathing down its neck. MS has more money and power than Real and Apple combined and will be the last one laughing if Real kills Apple's chance to establish itself in the net music business.



    Paint it anyways you want but Apple has something to defend.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    Doesn't it seem that Real is on mostly solid (if shaky) legal ground in hacking the iPod to play their DRM, but on much less solid ground in proposing to license (i.e, sell) this technology to other companies? The latter seems pretty sketchy to me.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    One clarification that needs to be made:



    It appears that Real did *NOT*, repeat, *NOT* in any way 'hack the iPod'.



    What they did was to figure out what FairPlay was *ADDING* to the AAC file, as far as DRM, then do the same to their files.



    They did not break the DRM, they added it.



    They did not hack the iPod, it is left alone.



    All they did was take the Real Music Store files, and make it so they can wrap them in the Real DRM, or FairPlay DRM, or even, I believe, WMA DRM.



    Just to clarify.



    At best, Apple might have a case that Real reverse-engineered the DRM... but then they're going to have to figure out how ADDING that DRM is in violation of some law. It's an interesting loophole.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    Ah. Thanks for the clarification. That is interesting.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kim kap sol

    I seem to recall a lawsuit when Connectix reversed engineered a certain Sony BIOS. Reverse-engineering may be legal but if a company is doing it out of sheer malice and costing another company sales, then I think the abused company should sue.



    Huh? Where did "sheer malice" come from? Connectix is an emulation company. They released an emulator. How do you read malice into this?



    Let me turn this around: If a company, acting out of sheer malice, sues another company for the entirely legal and ethical behavior involved in bringing a product to market, is that OK? Should the companies with the biggest legal budgets necessarily win? Keep in mind that most small companies have little to no money to fight a determined lawsuit, or even to enforce their own patents, so it's possible for a big company to "win" a lawsuit without spending a minute in court.



    By your logic, big companies can simply squash anyone who releases a product that they think will impact their sales, regardless of the merits, and mumble something about malice in their defense. I can't imagine a scenario that would kill innovation more completely. Should Quark have sued Adobe for maliciously introducing a product (InDesign) that has been costing them sales?



    Quote:

    If MS wants to sue Apple for using Samba...they should.



    So lawsuits shouldn't be filed if the person feels there's a clear legal merit, but only if they have the power to shut someone down by sheer force?



    This is fascism, in the most absolutely literal, historical sense.



    Quote:

    I'm all for a company defending its property and user-experience in Apple or MS's case.



    Property is not an issue here. The "user experience" argument was tried by the carmakers when they tried to shut out third party component vendors, and it got laughed out of court: It's always a transparent ploy to defend a monopoly, and in the case of the carmakers it was an abusive one.



    Quote:

    Compromising iTMS' future and the iPod user-experience is no joke when MS is right behind Apple breathing down its neck. MS has more money and power than Real and Apple combined and will be the last one laughing if Real kills Apple's chance to establish itself in the net music business.



    Paint it anyways you want but Apple has something to defend.




    First of all, your first paragraph is a joke. You can use fear to justify anything, and so it's generally true that anything that is justified by fear as a first resort cannot be justified any other way.



    Apple has plenty of other ways to "defend" itself, including such flatly obvious ways as offering a manifestly better product — which they do — and offering more seamless quality and compatibility than Real — which they do, and getting the word out that Apple did not approve this and they cannot guarantee support for it, which is fair enough. If they actually do pursue legal redress, and they have no case legally, they deserve to lose. And that could do them a lot more damage than if they distance themselves from Real and let them fail on their own. After all, Real is not exactly threatening anyone anymore.
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