updated 06:25 pm EST, Mon December 24, 2007
Apple files DRM patent
After many years of having its software not subject to copy protection or digital rights management, Apple may be looking to correct this with a new patent application entitled "Run-Time Code Injection To Perform Checks". PC World reports that the patent, dated December 13th, would be some sort of digital rights management system that would "restrict execution of that application to specific hardware platforms." Apple notes that some users that are proficient at circumventing protection methods could easily bypass dongles or encrypting software if it is worth enough to them, so Apple's approach relies on hardware-embedded cryptographic key mechanism that would inject bits of code into the application's execution stream, generating data that compares the digitally signed code with the DRM module.
Apple says that the checks could be frequent enough to be useful, but not so frequent as to impact the user's overall experience, using an example of every 5 to 10 minutes. The example provided is much more frequent than Windows Genuine Advantage, which has come under fire recently after customers found out that the layer would contact Microsoft's servers daily with reports on users' system configurations.
The patent applications isn't entirely new, as it refers to other applications, such as one filed in mid-2005, which wasn't posted publicly until January 2007. PC World couldn't obtain any more information from Apple, since the company has a policy of not commenting on patent applications.