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Legal snag may bring halt to 10-year-old Apple vs Real case

12/05, 1:51am

Plaintiffs discovered to have bought iPods after DRM software removed

A 10-year-long lawsuit between Apple and Real in which the latter accuses the iPhone maker of deliberately altering its software solely to block Real's hack of Apple's FairPlay DRM software might be terminated over a previously-undiscovered legal issue found by Apple attorneys. Apple has informed the court that neither of the two women who represent the class of affected plaintiffs were, in fact, affected by the accused software change -- as they bought their iPods either before or after the software in question was in force.

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Apple SVP Eddy Cue testifies in Real trial, defends DRM use

12/04, 7:12pm

Explains why DRM was formerly required by record companies, more

Day three of the Real vs. Apple trial over allegations that Apple deliberately blocked rival stores' DRM music files on the iPod (a potential antitrust violation) continued today with testimony from Eddy Cue, Apple's SVP of Internet software and services and the executive in charge of the iTunes Store. Cue was on the stand for hours, going through an explanation of why the original iTunes Store had to have digital rights management in the first place, how Apple developed its FairPlay wrapper, and why it chose not to license FairPlay to others.

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Steve Jobs testimony appears on first day of Apple versus Real trial

12/02, 4:01pm

Jobs testimony calls Real 'hackers' in 2004, surprised that Real existed in 2011

In the first day of testimony in the anti-trust Apple versus Real Networks trial, the promised pre-recorded testimony from Steve Jobs was trotted out by both the plaintiff's and defendant's attorneys. When queried about the threat from Real, and what Apple's response should be in 2004, Jobs said that the statement should say that "we are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod." At stake in the trial is $350 million, as well as other antitrust actions that could possibly be applied against the Cupertino manufacturer.

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Apple versus Real DRM antitrust trial testimony begins

12/02, 12:55pm

Real seeking $350 million in damages, declaration by Apple about decade-old issue

The Apple versus Real anti-trust trial centering around Apple's use of FairPlay Digital Rights Management (DRM) to prevent piracy (or block other music stores, as Real claims) has begun, as expected. Lawyers for the complainants continue to claim that changes in iTunes blocking other companies' music stores from functioning on the iPod allowed Apple to raise prices. Real's attorneys seek $350 million in damages in the long-postponed suit that dates back nearly a decade. The trial, expected to last three weeks, is being held in the Oakland, California federal courts.

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Appeals court dismisses 2005 lawsuit over iTunes' FairPlay DRM

09/04, 2:30am

Judge rules plaintiff unable to show any anti-competitive harm done

A woman who initially sued Apple in 2005 over the iPod, the iTunes Store and the FairPlay DRM that Apple once used (at the insistence of the record companies) to prevent purchased songs from being pirated has lost an appeal in an attempt to reinstate the case. For a second time, a judge has ruled that Stacey Somers and her attorneys have been unable to show that Apple created or abused its iTunes "monopoly," that prices had escalated overall due to Apple's lock-in, or that consumers were harmed in any way by Apple's behavior.

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iPod 4,2 reference hints 2011 iPod touch mostly speed-up [U]

06/24, 10:20am

iPod touch 2011 likely to keep same shape, go A5

(Update: earlier references discovered) An instance of digging in the iOS 5 code base has confirmed the existence of a new iPod touch this year but that it won't be the overhaul that was the fourth-generation model. A mention in a FairPlay plist file found on iFans' forum shows an unreleased "iPod 4,2" that would be a sister to last year's iPod 4,1. Apple usually reserves these for products that are internally different but cosmetically identical.

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Steve Jobs must answer in antitrust case, says judge

03/22, 9:35am

Dispute over blocking Real files from iPods

A federal magistrate judge, Howard R. Lloyd, has ordered Apple CEO Steve Jobs to answer questions in a long-running antitrust dispute over the iPod and RealNetworks audio files, says Bloomberg. "The court finds that Jobs has unique, non-repetitive, firsthand knowledge about the issues at the center of the dispute over RealNetworks software," Lloyd's judgment reads. Jobs is expected to undergo a deposition, although it is not allowed to last more than two hours or stray from the topic at the heart of the case.

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UltraViolet media locker may allow DVD scanning for access

03/14, 8:30am

UltraViolet may use DVD scans to get movie rights

The UltraViolet digital media standard could use a customer's own DVDs as a way of giving them permanent access to a movie, insiders said Monday. Partners in the group are mulling an option for users to scan in their DVDs and get access to any movie that matches up with the UV library. The approach described to CNET would be a way of encouraging viewers to get into the UV system without forcing them to give up an existing catalog.

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First iPhone app cracked? Super Monkey Ball for all?

07/24, 12:10am

iPhone Monkey Ball hack

A group of hackers say they have cracked Apple's close Fairplay DRM on Sega's Super Monkey Balll for iPhone. A posting on Haklabs points to a download link for the pirated game. A number of users who commented on the site say they were succesfully able to run Super Monkey Ball on a jailbroken version 2.0 iPhone using SSH. Other users, however, said they couldn't get the game to work and questioned whether the hack was legitimate.

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Workaround lets iPhone users share apps

07/23, 5:55pm

Workaround lets iPhone use

Developer Melvin Rivera has posted a workaround for sharing iPhone apps on his All Forces blog. The simple workaround takes advantage of Apple's Fairplay, which allows users to sync up to five computers with each iTunes account, along with unlimited iPhones and iPods. Although the process is initially time consuming -- and maybe a bit confusing -- it's simply a matter of syncing an iPhone with a computer that is registered to use both iTunes accounts.

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Qtrax free music label, iPod support in doubt

01/28, 10:45am

Qtrax in Doubt

Peer-to-peer service Qtrax is raising controversy by failing to make its intended Monday release date and offer what it claims would be some of the first free, legal peer-to-peer downloads from all four major music labels, says a report from Silicon Alley Insider. Although Qtrax has claimed that it would launch today with music from EMI, Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner, a challenge by the Bay Area publication reveals that most of the deals are either incomplete or unknown. Both EMI and Warner have denied authorizing music altogether; Universal is in talks with Qtrax while Sony BMG has not responded at all, according to the report.

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