backtop


Print 34 comment(s) - last by hubajube.. on Feb 9 at 1:01 PM

Famed DeCSS hacker doesn't buy into Steve Jobs' words on DRM

Jon Lech Johansen, or better known as DVD Jon for cracking CSS encryption, posted a response to Steve Jobs’ open letter about DRM. As one who clearly stands against the restrictions placed upon media by corporations, it may be surprising for some to learn that Johansen isn’t buying Jobs' preach.

One of Johansen’s immediate criticisms are what he believes to be Jobs’ use of misleading statistics. Jobs said in his letter that customers purchased a total of 90 million iPods and 2 billion songs from the iTunes store, which he equated to 22 songs purchased for each iPod ever sold. Johansen points out that the stats are misleading because not all of those 90 million iPods are in use, and that some of them may not even be operational.

“It’s the number of iTunes Store customers and average sales per customer that’s relevant, and Apple has never disclosed these figures,” Johansen wrote. “Many iPod owners have never bought anything from the iTunes Store. Some have bought hundreds of songs. Some have bought thousands. At the 2004 Macworld Expo, Steve revealed that one customer had bought $29,500 worth of music.”

iPod users who have purchased nothing from iTunes are not at all locked in to Apple’s technology and cannot be considered as attractive customers by competitors. Microsoft and Sony (along with the record companies behind them) want the customers who have already spent a considerable sum of money on iTunes, proving that they are willing to pay for music. “In effect, it’s the customers who would be the most valuable to an Apple competitor that get locked in. The kind of customers who would spend $300 on a set-top box,” concluded Johansen.

As one who has already reverse engineered Apple’s FairPlay technology, Johansen takes issue with Steve Jobs’ claim that opening up FairPlay to others would endanger its security. DVD Jon points out, “Microsoft’s Windows Media DRM 10 (marketing name PlaysForSure) has not had more security breaches than FairPlay despite the fact that it has been licensed to dozens of companies,” adding that Microsoft’s decision to make the Zune DRM a closed system was a business decision and had nothing to do with DRM security.

In his most recent post, Johansen said with a grin and a wink, “Licensing FairPlay is quite feasible, it’s just that Steve doesn’t want to do so. Of course, from a business perspective I don’t mind.”



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Who cares?
By Ralph The Magician on 2/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Who cares?
By FNG on 2/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Who cares?
By kelmon on 2/8/2007 7:04:41 AM , Rating: 2
You know, I don't honestly think that Apple much cares about what Microsoft or Walmart is doing, particularly when it comes down to the sale of digital content. Apple's business has always been the hardware so if they continue to make great hardware (and I know that someone is now going to follow this up by saying something like "Apple hardware sux") that sells because people can buy content from anywhere and put it on it then that's all good for Apple. This isn't some ridiculous conspiracy that it tends to be painted as. DRM-free would be good for Apple as it would be for other companies and consumers.

I will note that I do take issue with the suggestion that licensing FairPlay would result in Apple losing the content from the record labels due to the encryption being broken through IP leaks. Windows Media DRM clearly has shown this not to be the case so unless these other stores have different terms and conditions with the record labels I don't see why Apple can't do the same. This said, DRM-free is obviously the best idea all round and the sooner that this happens the sooner we can all get on with life.


RE: Who cares?
By Ralph The Magician on 2/8/2007 7:37:40 AM , Rating: 3
Windows Media DRM actually highlights the problem pretty accurately. Let's not confuse PlayForSure with the Zune Store. They are two totally different and incompatible things.

Content for PlayForSure has only ever been a fraction of that of ITMS. Futhermore, content and liscening terms for PlayForSure stores like Rhapsody have been changing rapidly, especially after the first big DRM ripping tool, which essentially let people steal tens of thousands of dollars in music overnight only having to pay their $10/15 a month fee. RIGHT after that happened, a whole bunch of my albums were suddenly removed, or switched to purchase-only. No more streaming.

Licensing FairPlay is probably possible, but there is no incentive for Apple to do it. Would it even matter? Are there that many people who want to use ITMS downloads on their Zune? Are there any people?

There's one other thing to keep in mind, and that's that DRM vendor lock-in really benefits the music industry the most...because it allows them to keep the price high. In fact, they want to raise the prices for music. It benefits them because since sites from downloads aren't interoperable wtih devices, they are less competive by nature, resulting in a higher price. Right now it's pretty much $0.99/song and there is no pressure on the labels to lower it. If suddenly all store were DRM free they are going to try harder to compete on price, and this is going to put pressure on the labels to agree. Right now they are sitting pretty. They control all the cards, and don't have to do anything at all. In fact, Microsoft is given them money just for existing and being douchebags.

In the event of a DRM-free world, whatever business Apple might lose as a result of people migrating away from the ITMS to competiting download sites it will more than make up for in people buying iPods who already purchased their content in another format and people new to the ITMS, like me, simply because it's DRM free. DRM free music will sell more iPods.


RE: Who cares?
By hubajube on 2/9/2007 12:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Licensing FairPlay is probably possible, but there is no incentive for Apple to do it. Would it even matter? Are there that many people who want to use ITMS downloads on their Zune? Are there any people?
I use ITMS and I don't own an IPod. It would be nice to not have to worry about DRM. But there are hacks for it so I am not too concerned.


RE: Who cares?
By Suomynona on 2/8/2007 8:13:18 AM , Rating: 2
Apple does make good hardware, but that's not really their business. What has made them money is their software that works well with the hardware they provide. The iPod is a good piece of hardware, but it sells because of the software that works with it. Apple computers don't have necessarily better hardware, they sell because it's the only way to get OSX. Apple has consistently used its software to lock people into its hardware. This is why they have so much to lose if they allow Fairplay to be licensed. Just like MS or Sony or Nintendo depends on console game sales to make money, Apple depends on iTMS media sales to make money.

I think both Jobs and the RIAA are being disingenuous on this topic, but especially Jobs. He basically said that he would license Fairplay, but the record companies wouldn't allow it. The RIAA called his bluff on this. I have to agree with DVD Jon that the 22 songs per iPod numbers are fudged. In addition to what he said, there are people who buy music from iTMS that don't own iPods (my dad does this) who further skew these numbers.


RE: Who cares?
By hubajube on 2/9/2007 12:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The iPod is a good piece of hardware, but it sells because of the software that works with it.
Wrong!!!! People buy the iPod to own an iPod. They could care less about what software is used or how it works or what features it has. That's just (LOL!) not how the average person thinks. The iPod is cool and trendy and that's all most people care about. Go ask your non-geek friend (if you have any) why they bought the iPod. It sure as hell ain't because of iTunes.


RE: Who cares?
By Shadowself on 2/8/2007 9:53:47 AM , Rating: 3
I think you need to do more research.

Every investigation I have read over the past few years (including some statements in Apple's quarterly reports and financial teleconferences) have stated that Apple makes virtually nothing off the iTunes Music Store. They are most certainly *not* "making boatloads on iTunes".

Sure the cost to the consumer might be the same, but from virtually every thing I've read the studios and music houses are charging Apple a significantly higher royalty than they charge the physical media channels.


RE: Who cares?
By hubajube on 2/9/2007 12:35:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Every investigation I have read over the past few years (including some statements in Apple's quarterly reports and financial teleconferences) have stated that Apple makes virtually nothing off the iTunes Music Store. They are most certainly *not* "making boatloads on iTunes".
I agree 100%. Apple doesn't make dick on iTunes. It's all about the iPod and its accessories. iTunes is there to provide a source of music and etc for the iPod. That's it. There's no more to it.


The hell he says?
By OddTSi on 2/8/2007 12:39:21 AM , Rating: 5
Apple, use misleading statistics? Never!




RE: The hell he says?
By bozilla on 2/8/2007 1:05:02 AM , Rating: 3
LOL, shocking isn't it?! :) Apple misleading customers and statistics. Please tell me it ain't so :)


RE: The hell he says?
By volvox on 2/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: The hell he says?
By fic2 on 2/8/2007 12:42:43 PM , Rating: 3
Someone on dailytech not understanding sarcasm. Say it ain't so!


RE: The hell he says?
By MarkHark on 2/8/2007 3:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
ROFL


RE: The hell he says?
By hubajube on 2/9/07, Rating: 0
RE: The hell he says?
By somerset on 2/8/2007 11:54:52 AM , Rating: 2
No WAY ! that cannot be. Impossible, Apple would Never mislead anyone. ;)


Blasphemy!
By nombrecinq on 2/8/2007 4:56:24 AM , Rating: 2
The real reason Jon has a problem with this is because once DRM is abolished, he'll be out of a job :D




RE: Blasphemy!
By FITCamaro on 2/8/2007 7:11:14 AM , Rating: 3
Uh...last I checked hardly anything he's done has been for profit. Yes he reverse engineered the iTunes DRM and is trying to sell it, but you really think if he's capable of that, that if DRM went away he couldn't get a job? Hell I'm sure Apple and Microsoft have tried to offer him jobs. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Look at a lot of the ex-hackers out there. A lot of them now work for security companies.

If you actually believe your statement, you need to get a clue. His "job" has never been breaking DRM for profit. Same as the guy who came up with the work around for HD-DVD and Blu-ray encryption didn't do it for money. They do it because they think they have the right to use their purchase however they feel and if the company won't let them do it, they're skilled enough to figure out how to do it on their own. They just happen to share it with the rest of us.


RE: Blasphemy!
By ToeCutter on 2/8/2007 10:00:09 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Uh...last I checked hardly anything he's done has been for profit.

Dude, YOU need to get a clue.

DVD Jon broke CSS because he wanted to watch DVDs on Linux. This brought him notoriety and put him on the map.

Fast forward a few years. He breaks FairPlay, but doesn't release his code. Why? Because licensing his crack to other content providers is worth cold, hard CASH. In essence, he's taking a handout from the very same folks who tried throwing him in jail for DeCSS.

As far as DVD jon's marketability? The guy will always have a job. But comparing the ability to license the most popular DRM scheme in use today, used to sell billions of dollars in music is hardly a job! It's worth millions. I'm certain that DVD jon will rake far more cash than anyone posting here makes in several years, if not more.

So to summarize:

A) Good 'ol DVD Jon has jumped in the sack with DRM-happy content providers (screwing consumers in the process).

B) He's screwing over Apple's FairPlay, arguably to loosest commercial DRM implementation, FAIR better than Zune's DRM.

C) He's making a tidy sum of cash in doing so.

Verdict: This makes DVD Jon a sellout , not a hero.



RE: Blasphemy!
By gsellis on 2/8/2007 7:38:05 AM , Rating: 2
Nah. Michael Robertson hired him for his brains. He will have a job as long as Michael has capital. MR started MP3.com, Lindows/Linspire, Mp3tunes.com (with Oboe that I think DVD Jon worked on), and now Gizmocall.com.


What the ...?
By vze4z7nx on 2/8/2007 4:53:35 PM , Rating: 2
Johansen points out that the stats are misleading because not all of those 90 million iPods are in use, and that some of them may not even be operational.

- 'Misleading' is not the right word to describe Job's statistics. Jobs said that 90 million iPods were purchased in total, he never said that all of those 90 million were still working. I think Johansen should get his facts straight.






RE: What the ...?
By h0mi on 2/8/2007 6:46:40 PM , Rating: 2
It's not misleading, it's lazy math on Jobs' part... but Jon's remarks demonstrate to me a kneejerk response to Jobs' comments.

The laziness? Apple knows how many of each kind of ipod they sold. If they sold 45 million 4 gig models, 20 million 2 gig, etc. then they know precisely what the average # of songs an ipod sold based on the units sold at the various HD sizes and going with the assumption that the 4 gig model holds 1000 songs. It's also assumed that people will use AAC format music on their ipods encoded at a rate that allows them to store 250 songs per gig.

Lots of assumptions there but they're fairly reasonable to me... more so than assuming that almost all ipods ever sold no longer work or are no longer used. The big question is whether that survey about how full your ipod is, is true or not. My ipod is empty, currently and has been for a while, but I havent used my ipod in some time.

The # of customers on itunes is completely irrelevant. If you own an ipod and do not buy itunes content, you are not tied by itunes DRM to your music which was Jobs' point.


What kind of idiot would be misled?
By iNGEN on 2/8/2007 4:09:57 PM , Rating: 1
There is nothing misleading about the statistics quoted by Steve Jobs! DVD Jon even reinforces Jobs' comments when he states that a very large number of iPods owners use their iPods, but have never subscribed to iTunes. Precisely the point Steve Jobs made when stating the "22 songs per iPod" statistic!

Am I the only one who noticed this?




By isaacmacdonald on 2/8/2007 6:31:24 PM , Rating: 2
I don't understand your point, but I agree that there's nothing particularly misleading or irrelevant about citing the arithmetic mean. Sometimes huge outliers skew the mean so it might have been helpful to also cite the median number of songs purchased (or if apple was feeling particularly generous, they could give us a model of the distribution)--but how much statistical data do we really expect as consumers?


Whos kiddin Who?
By JayDeeJohn on 2/8/2007 1:54:05 AM , Rating: 2
Who wants drm? And spyware? OK, maybe those numbers are a lil fudged but only 3%? Someones downloading sumpin




dvd jon has a lot to lose
By irev210 on 2/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: dvd jon has a lot to lose
By Hare on 2/8/2007 4:06:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh wait, DVD JON, this is the guy that figured out how to crack apples DRM and wants to re-sell it to 3rd party companies, like napster and IRIVER, etc.

Jeez, i wonder why he is against DRM? If apple stopped using DRM, all of dvd john's efforts would be for nada.

This is the part I agree with. The last paragraph however...

90% of the music sold (CD) are without any sort of DRM. What's the benefit of having DRM on that last 10%? If someone can just rip a CD and distribute the whole thing over the Internet what exactly does DRM help?

Nothing... Get rid of it


RE: dvd jon has a lot to lose
By irev210 on 2/8/2007 11:16:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
90% of the music sold (CD) are without any sort of DRM. What's the benefit of having DRM on that last 10%? If someone can just rip a CD and distribute the whole thing over the Internet what exactly does DRM help?


Oh, but they tried to put DRM on CD's, remember? Sony spent a large chunk of change to put data the end of a CD. All hackers did was take a sharpie and block it out.

My point is, whatever they put DRM on, people will beat it and hack it.

The problem with music is people like to play the item on more than one device, making DRM much harder.

So, the whole point is saying "hey people what digital music, but they dont want DRM." Look at your example 90% of music sold is CD. Do you think that # would be so high if you couldnt rip it and play it on other formats? If you could ONLY play it on a CD player it would be a different story.


RE: dvd jon has a lot to lose
By Hare on 2/8/2007 2:21:06 PM , Rating: 2
Sure they tried. My point was that if 90% of the sold music has no protection why refuse to strip DRM out of the last 10%? DRM doesn't stop piratism, it just pisses of real customers instead of pirates who simply download DRMless material for free.


RE: dvd jon has a lot to lose
By Sureshot324 on 2/8/2007 5:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think a big part of the reason for all this DRM is just to show the world that piracy is evil and they're doing everything they can to fight it. If the RIAA sells you an mp3 that can easily be copied to any other computer, that kind of sends a message that files sharing isn't THAT bad. Putting DRM in these files reminds you that it's illegal to share them and re-enforces a negative view of piracy.

The RIAA knows that all DRM will eventually be cracked, but the constant media exposure of the RIAA suing people and inventing new forms of DRM imposes the view on the public that piracy is wrong and criminal.


RE: dvd jon has a lot to lose
By hubajube on 2/9/2007 12:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Putting DRM in these files reminds you that it's illegal to share them and re-enforces a negative view of piracy.
That's kind of a retarded statement although I can see where you are coming from. You don't need to pull someone out of a crowd of people, stab them in the head, then arrest them to show everyone else that murder is still illegal. DRM's purpose is to show the stockholders that "something" is being done about piracy. Just goes to show you that stockholders are generally idiots. You know since DRM doesn't actually work, could a stockholder sue a company over lack of protection of the companies product or something like that?


DVD Jon headed for prison
By cornfedone on 2/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: DVD Jon headed for prison
By Whedonic on 2/8/2007 3:06:27 AM , Rating: 2
He's managed to stay clear of prison for this long, despite being sued a billion times...I think he's good.


RE: DVD Jon headed for prison
By hubajube on 2/9/2007 1:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
He just doesn't know it yet.
He's not going to prison because he would already be there. The RIAA/MPAA would LOVE to put him there and they have tried. Remember the lawsuits against him?


"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

Related Articles
Steve Jobs Makes Case for Abolishing DRM
February 7, 2007, 10:19 AM
iPod Copy Protection Cracked
October 24, 2006, 11:12 AM













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki