VLC was a surprise addition to the App Store back in September, but one which iPad and iPhone users quickly came to appreciate. Now the multi-format media player has been yanked from the store, the result of incompatibilities with Apple's App Store DRM policies and the terms of the GNU General Public License on which VLC is based.
A couple of days ago, we reported that, thanks to a proof-of-concept video, it was more than evident the security behind the applications on Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Marketplace's isn' the best in the world. Or even close. Through a simple crack, anyone could easily strip the Digital Rights Management (DRM) tools in place, and download a paid application from the Marketplace, and install it on any Windows Phone 7 device they wanted. And while the conversation towards illegal downloads could have easily exploded, in which case Microsoft would have had an ever-worsening case on their hands, it looks like it's taken a different turn. The developer behind FreeMarketplace, the tool needed to crack the DRM on applications, has actually turned his knowledge over and has begun trying to figure out a solution for the problem.
Security is an important aspect of anything that gets used by anyone, at any given moment around the world. For developers of applications that get purchased through a digital storefront, like Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, making sure that it's not easy, next to impossible in fact, to steal apps and put them on a device free-of-charge is just as important. But, as WPCentral reports, it looks like the Digital Rights Management (DRM) security tools set in place by Microsoft have been cracked.
Apple has tightened its iTunes rental T&Cs, removing a loop-hole that allowed TV shows to be transferred between the iPad and other iOS devices. The new agreement, paidContent spotted, now refers to generic "content" rather than differentiating between movies and TV shows, and basically means that anything rented from your iPhone, iPod touch, Apple TV or iPad is now only available on that device.
Amazon has confirmed that a "lending for Kindle" feature will be launched later in 2010, allowing readers to loan their Kindle ebooks to other Kindle or Kindle app users. As with Barnes & Noble's NOOK lending functionality, titles can be loaned once for a 14-day period, during which time the lender will be unable to read the ebook themselves.
Apple has quietly licensed IP belonging to digital content protection and media information specialists Rovi, according to a document filed by the company, prompting analyst speculation that the Cupertino firm is still working on an HDTV with integrated Apple TV. Rovi is responsible for much of the program guide and copy protection technology used in cable set-top boxes and online media portals, and in recent years has been buying up entertainment metadata firms such as Muze and All Media Guide.
Intel has confirmed that the supposed HDCP master key - which can be used to unlock the anti-copy protection used on Blu-ray and other media - is legitimate, with company spokesman Tom Waldrop saying that he expects a DRM decoding chip to be the next challenge facing the content production industry. "We have tested this published material," Waldrop told PCMag, "[and] it does produce product keys ... the net of that means that it is a circumvention of the code."
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has been seen as a double-edged sword by many, offering small content producers a legitimate way to defend themselves against copyright theft, but also throwing into doubt things like fair-use excerpts, jailbreaking of devices like Apple's iPhone, and unlocking handsets. Now, in a new set of exemptions pushed for by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the legal rights of those looking to do those things have been made clearer and - dare we say - more palatable. That includes the proviso that jailbreaking a device to run an app that has been made incompatible by the handset manufacturer is fair use, as is bypassing copy protection on media (such as DVDs) to excerpt sections for derivative fair use works.
The DECE (Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem) has announced its plans for cross-platform DRM that would allow digital content like movies to be stored in the cloud and then played on whichever hardware supports the system, without providers having to worry about copyright theft. Dubbed UltraViolet, the technology has been backed by Warner Brothers, Sony, Microsoft and Netflix; however there are notable exceptions, including Apple and Disney.
If you were to believe the hype, China is a hotbed of counterfeit software and fake products, and now Nokia are throwing Comes With Music into the mixture. The Finns have announced that their Comes With Music service is launching - as Yue Sui Xiang - in China, with no DRM on downloaded tracks; subscriptions range from twelve months to two years, and once that period is up you can keep any songs you've downloaded from them. Of course, thanks to the absence of DRM this time around, you're also free to load up the tracks on other media playing devices.
Shortly before Christmas, Freescale sent me an Amazon Kindle to take a look at. On the surface, I should be the perfect audience for ebooks. I've never really invested in all that much digital music - I don't own an iPod or another manufacturers' PMP and I've only ever bought a few tracks online (and never with DRM) - instead using Spotify, the streaming music service, initially free and subsequently as a premium subscriber (which kills the ads and gives better quality audio), but I do love reading. I'd much rather read a book when travelling than listen to music, and it's books that distract me from tech before I go to sleep each night. I'm also pretty obsessive about keeping my books in pristine condition: I'm one of those bizarre people who don't like to crack the spine, and as such end up peering into a carefully spread gap.
So, voracious reader and obsessive-compulsive about book damage: ebooks, with instant Kindle download and no pesky spine to worry about, should be the ideal solution, right? As you probably guessed was coming, things haven't quite worked out that way.