After speculation that Apple was using the new iPod shuffle 4GB to launch an "authentication chip" which only licensed headphones would offer, Apple themselves and a number of third-party accessory manufacturers have spoken up about the smallest iPod's hardware. V-moda, Monster Cable and Scosche have all described it as a "control chip", which uses the microphone channel in the four-channel headphones to send multiple commands: play, pause, volume control and more.
For something so small, the new iPod shuffle 3G is causing a whole lot of commotion. Argument around Apple's tiniest PMP is centering on the control system, which has been shifted from the body of the shuffle itself to an in-line pod in the headphones. Now there's talk of an "authentication chip" buried inside the shuffle that will act as "headphone DRM", with Apple insisting on licensing fees from any third-party manufacturer wanting to make compatible accessories.
Apples decision to go with Mini DisplayPort on their new MacBook and MacBook Pro machines, and not include the adapters free, initially frustrated many whose existing monitors simply lacked the connection. Now there's a whole new level of annoyance, as it becomes clear that Apple have made use of HDCP (High-Definition Content Protection) which renders any display not supporting the encryption technology unable to show a growing amount of content bought through iTunes.
Thanks to Microsoft, Netflix subscribers can now access Watch Instantly service via MS’s Silverlight technology on their Intel –based Macs. The company has a growing library of 12,000 movies and episodes of TV shows available for its unlimited plans customers to stream online, but were limited to PC users due to lack of supports from Apple in DRM licensing.
Not anymore, the online version of Red Envelop has adopted Microsoft latest generation of Silverlight to enable protected content playback on Windows and Apple machines.
Walmart has backtracked on its decision to shut down the DRM servers authenticating music tracks purchased from its MP3 Downloads store. In a message sent to service users, Walmart cites "feedback from our customers" as the motivation for the turnaround, having announced last month that it would take the systems offline as it transitioned to DRM-free MP3s.
RealNetworks launched their RealDVD software today and just one hour after it was made available, the company filed a lawsuit against Hollywood movie studios and the DVD Copy Control Association in a preemptive move to ensure the software does not violate any DVD copy agreements.
Yahoo! Music have announced their compensation plans for downloaders whose DRM-encrypted tracks will be left stranded on current devices once the company's licencing servers go offline. Coupons will be issued allowing users to re-download music in MP3 format from Yahoo!'s new partner, Rhapsody. Describing the amount of users affected by the issue as a "small number", spokesperson Carrie Davis declined to go into detail about exact figures.
After surprising subscribers with the suggestion that they should bypass their own DRM, Yahoo! Music are now claiming that they will "compensate" those who have bought tracks from the service and for whom the DRM servers going offline would prevent future re-licencing. Company spokesperson Carrie Davis told Information Week that Yahoo! would be examining situations on a case-by-case basis, although she couldn't disclose exactly what they would be offering:
"You'll be compensated for whatever you paid for the music. We haven't said exactly what we will do, but we will take care of our customers" Carrie Davis, spokesperson, Yahoo! Music
Yahoo! Music have announced that their online store will close as of September 30th 2008. In an email to subscribers, the company also confirmed that on that date their DRM-authentication server would go offline, meaning that anybody who had bought tracks from the store would be unable to transfer them to another computer:
"After the Store closes, Yahoo! will no longer be able to support the retrieval of license keys for music purchased from Yahoo! Music Unlimited, and Yahoo! will no longer be able to authorize song playback on additional computers.
After September 30, 2008, you will not be able to transfer songs to unauthorized computers or re-license these songs after changing operating systems. Please note that your purchased tracks will generally continue to play on your existing authorized computers unless there is a change to the computer's operating system" Yahoo! Music email
I love the age we live in. It's a time when not only does everyone have a voice on the internet, but we can also be heard. In the old days if you were upset about something, you'd write a letter to someone important, or perhaps if you felt strongly enough you might start a protest. However, if a company decides to load down a new game with really crappy DRM, thousands of people start complaining about it online, and then something gets done about it.