Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ambrosia's Andrew Welch and the iPhone

Andrew Welch discusses the state of the union with regard to Apple and Third Party Developers for the iPhone; this is a hot topic with today's software developers who are conscious of the issue of licensing. Watch as the famous DVD/CSS heist of American Digital Liberties returns in a new form to repeat itself, and see how the battle plays out when Apple is in the driver's seat.

The question of the day is this: can we still send our pirate signals over their wireless links, using our FCC approved hardware that we bought and paid for?

Today the answer is a resounding "Absolutely Not," at least not without the involvement of a third party. Their name is Rogue Amoeba, and their product AirFoil enables the user to redirect input from any arbitrary sound source on a Windows or Macintosh computer (any program's audio output or device driver's software input) into an Airport Express. It's based on a software crack called JustePort that was produced by Norwegian DVD Jon Johansen.

Does the encryption layer that Jon has broken add anything to copyright controls? No. For that matter, neither does DVD-CSS. It merely adds an encrypted layer that system manufacturers can use to test for the presence of "approved hardware." What does that do? It enables device and system manufacturers to control the flow of bits, to restrict it to travel across only approved hardware devices, and to establish digital venues in which copyright controls can be enforced.

What does that mean? It means that, because of agreements Apple has made with the Recording Industry, you will have to pay a Rogue Amoeba some amount of money if you wish to use the digital audio output on your Airport Express with any audio source other than Apple's iTunes media player.

Why is that significant? To tell the absolute truth, I'm not sure, but it sounds like it might have something to do with terrorism. To read more about DVD Jon Lech Johansen and his interesting life, visit Wikipedia.

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