The hacker popularly known as DVD Jon is having another go at Apple’s digital rights management (DRM) technology, this time by commercialising code that enables users to play iTunes on any MP3 player.
Purchasers of iTunes are not officially allowed to play their songs on any player other than an iPod, but Jon Lech Johansen, thinks this isn’t fair.
Johansen’s company DoubleTwist now plans to license its Apple DRM-breaking code to other MP3 player makers, to allow them to let their customers play iTunes files on their devices.
The use of DRM on the web is a hot issue in the industry as it controls the distribution of content and is seen by content providers to protect their copyright.
Google for instance, is now under pressure from content providers to tighten up the DRM on the YouTube site, after recently buying the company, as content distributed by users on the site sometimes breaks commercial copyright.
Apple so far hasn’t reacted to the news, but it isn’t the first time the company’s DRM system has been tackled by the hacker.
Johansen first released a product to circumnavigate the DRM in 2003, and several updates have been released for free on the web since then, but users have found it difficult to load the code onto their machines.
Johansen believes that going straight to the MP3 player makers will open up the digital music market more quickly, although no industry users have so far been announced by DoubleTwist.
Apple currently sells around 60% of the MP3 players in the global market and controls almost 90% of legal digital music sales.
Johansen became known as DVD Jon after he introduced a code-breaking program to open up the DRM in DVD films, to allow him to play films on his Linux computer.
The film industry took action against him, but a Norwegian court threw out the case.