Copying the copy-protection

Jon Lech Johansen, best known for breaking the encryption on DVDs so that Linux users could also watch them, is now creating encryption. Well, sort of…

He has reverse-engineered Apple’s Fairplay and is starting to license it to companies who want their media to play on Apple’s devices. Instead of breaking the DRM (something he’s already done), Jon has replicated it…

(from GigaOM)

This lets media-producers use Apple’s DRM without having to talk to Apple. (Of course, it’s worth remembering that Apple’s system will also play non-DRMed material). It’s not a long-term business strategy, I shouldn’t think, because Apple owns the whole chain at the moment and so can change Fairplay to an incompatible system in future without affecting their users too much. That would, however, involve re-encoding the media that currently works, so it’s probably something they wouldn’t want to do…

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