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Apple Uses DMCA to Halt DVD burning

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  • Great (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Quasar1999 (520073)
    Apple the next microsoft.... Oh, yeah, here's some great technology, but if you don't use it with our hardware, and our software, well then we'll get nasty on your ass... Oh and by the way, you also void your warranty...

    What next? Nvidia sues end users over moving their video cards from their AMD to their Intel systems? WTF???
    • Re:Great (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pi radians (170660) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:08AM (#4162611)
      Actually, its quite the opposite. In order for someone to burn DVDs they need to use Apple's software iDVD.

      That software is only licensed to be used if you purchase a machine with one of Apple's Superdrive.

      This story is actually on of fighting software piracy. Of course you have to have a little more knowledge to know that because reading the "Slashdot spin" is going to have every company look evil for protecting themselves.
      • So much for upgrading your internal dvd-writer with a faster external one next year, eh?

        Oh I forgot, Macintosh users aren't supposed to be interested in modularity and upgrading stuff.

    • Company uses DMCA to prevent competition, film at 11.

      It's the same old story, the DMCA is used to stop the use or development of technology that would compete with that of the original corporation, doesn't require the original corporation to change and improve their tech to stay competitive, yet we're to believe the well-compensated politicians that the DMCA doesn't inhibit innovation?

      Feh.
      • by pi radians (170660) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:21AM (#4162683)
        Company uses DMCA to prevent competition, film at 11.

        On the contrary, now there is room for another company to come in and develop a DVD authoring application. Apple has stated that their free software is only licensed to buyers of Apple's SuperDrive.

        For a user who adds some other company's DVD burner they have to use a competitors product.
        • it's worse than that, because bundled into the price of the third-party DVD burner is the MPEG license fee. bundled into the price of third-party DVD authoring software is the MPEG license fee. So when you buy Apple's solution, you pay once (with iDVD). When you buy a third party solution, you pay twice.

          Then Apple makes sure you can only take advantage of iDVD with a NEW entire system (not making the drives available for separate sale) and highballs their markup, so that they can undercut the price of "paying twice" - where their costs only consider paying once.

          I've read many news articles - reviews, of the new iMacs, and the main thing they all said was that it was so easy to create DVD's and that they all reflected horror stories of friends trying to author DVD's on a PC, with great expense and no success. The reason why is this sweet deal Apple has with the MPEG licensing, and the convoluted way they've exploited it to maximize profit.

          I really wonder why Apple's stock is so low. Because this plot is deviously brilliant.
      • It's the same old story, the DMCA is used to stop the use or development of technology that would compete with that of the original corporation

        It's not even about competing with the corporation, it's about extending the corporation's software to support the hardware being sold. It's like MS saying that hardware developers can't offer a patch to allow their CD (or DVD) writers to function with XP's integrated CD burning. The only real difference is that Apple sells DVD-writers and MS does not.
    • Re:Great (Score:4, Informative)

      by entrox (266621) <slashdot@@@entrox...org> on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:09AM (#4162615) Homepage
      First of all, Apple is in the business of selling _hardware_, not software.

      iDVD is part of the i-suite of provided FREE applications with the sole reason to boost sales of Macintosh systems and Apple hardware in general. They don't make a single penny on iDVD per se, but on the drives it supports - if somebody now makes iDVD work with third-party burners, they take away the only reason why it is provided at all (for free).
      • They don't make a single penny on iDVD per se, but on the drives it supports - if somebody now makes iDVD work with third-party burners, they take away the only reason why it is provided at all (for free).

        I think we can all agree that Apple is within its rights (at least legally) to discourage this sort of thing: it's their software, and they don't want it patched to work on non-Apple hardware, since the whole point of the free software is to sell expensive Apple hardware. Fine, good.

        But it's still an ethical crime -- this is a patch to Apple's well-written program to allow it to work on non-Apple DVD burners. You're still using Apple hardware to run iDVD in the first place, for crying out loud -- it may not be the latest and greatest machine (and if it's a slower processor, it may take ages to do the job), but it's still Apple's motherboard.

        Saying "Apple sells hardware, not software" is just false, because they charge over $100 for the latest OS and $50 for AppleWorks -- those two just off the top of my head. Even if it were true, it's not a good reason.

        Without meaning to paint Slashdotters with a broad brush, I think I can safely say we'd be in a unified uproar if HP or Compaq used the same reason to prevent third-party patches to their included CD or DVD-burning software, or to prevent Linux OSes from accessing the burner altogether.

        And we'd be justified in doing so, because once you buy the machine and/or download the software, it's yours to do with as you please. If I have the moral right to back up my CD-ROMs and DVDs using my home computer, I have the same moral right to patch my DVD-burning software to run on any hardware I happen to own.
      • iDVD is part of the i-suite of provided FREE applications with the sole reason to boost sales of Macintosh systems and Apple hardware in general. They don't make a single penny on iDVD per se, but on the drives it supports - if somebody now makes buggies work with third-party actuators instead of whips, they take away the only reason why it is provided at all.

        Apple is a good business. It's up to the US Government to ensure they continue to make a profit, no matter what they want to give away for free.
      • by Hallow (2706)
        Yes, and I'm sure they're so into selling hardware, not software, that they'll not charge you for a very buggy OS update... oh wait, they want $129. Remind you of any software giant? If MS has the monopoly on software AND hardware like Apple does the PC industry would be in a very sorry state right now.

        iDVD is only "free" if you a buy a new system with it preinstalled. Apple calls the version they'll ship you on cd "free", but they charge a $19.95 shipping and handling fee. I think they just want to avoid paying out the sales tax on it.
    • Apple the next microsoft.... Oh, yeah, here's some great technology, but if you don't use it with our hardware, and our software, well then we'll get nasty on your ass

      No doubt. What is so twisted about software licensing and copyright as it is currently implimented is that, unlike every other piece of technology we buy (your car, your boat, your plane, your refrigerator), you're not allowed to take it apart and see how it works, or modify it to better suit your purposes.

      I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

      If you switch to Apple to free yourself of Micrsoft, rather than switching to free(dom) software [FreeBSD, GNU/Linux, whatever], you are merely trading one set of masters for another. Apple may seem to be the kinder master, but it is nevertheless a master. Now it looks like they might not be so kind, after all.

      All the apple spinmeisters would have us believe we're somehow 'stealing' from Apple by not paying their inflated hardware prices, to which I respond "you can't have it both ways." Either the software is free (beer) and I'll use it as I damn well please, or it costs money and you'd better charge me a fair market price for it. But to give me something, and then threaten to sue if I don't use it precisely as you intended, is just utter crap.

      That the DMCA allows this sort of nonsense is yet another concrete example of the despicable corruption at the top of the Corporate States of America on both the political and corporate side, and the ever greater price the rest of us are paying for allowing that corruption to continue.

      • If you switch to Apple to free yourself of Micrsoft, rather than switching to free(dom) software [FreeBSD, GNU/Linux, whatever], you are merely trading one set of masters for another. Apple may seem to be the kinder master, but it is nevertheless a master. Now it looks like they might not be so kind, after all.


        Stop spreading FUD. Someone taking action that limits my Freedom (even using your [FSF] definition) does not make them my master.

        Apple & Microsoft are just using their freedoms, which FSF doesn't want them to have, to make money off of people--just like anyone else who's ever had a product, from medical supplies to slaves, has done.

        I am not a coder. I only have one computer. I use nothing but widely-supported software, and I have no expectation from OSS to get better support than I do from MS. (RTFM? Bah.) In what way is MS or Apple my hypothetical master that OSS coders would not be?

        All the apple spinmeisters would have us believe we're somehow 'stealing' from Apple by not paying their inflated hardware prices, to which I respond "you can't have it both ways."

        You are stealing from Apple if you don't use the terms they give you for their software, as surely as you're stealing MS software if you don't pay for it and as surely as you would steal GPL'd software if you violated the GPL.

        Apple chooses to be a hardware company, and use software to support that. They are open and up-front about this, so you don't (really) have room to complain. (You can note that the system is wrong / broken / evil, but I don't think that's complaning, that's working to try and change the system.)

        Either the software is free (beer) and I'll use it as I damn well please, or it costs money and you'd better charge me a fair market price for it. But to give me something, and then threaten to sue if I don't use it precisely as you intended, is just utter crap.

        Free (beer) means no cost, not Freedom (as in FSF/ "speech.") Free (beer) software can and does come with strings attached--it has been this way since the dawn of GNU.

        Apple, apparantly, shows everyone who gets the iSuite hardware an EULA, that says (I won't say "clearly" about an EULA until they force term-by-term aknowledgement in plain English) that you can only use it with Apple hardware. If you don't like people getting sued when they use EULA'd software over terms that are in the EULA, then educate them about the dangers of not reading the licenses.

        That the DMCA allows this sort of nonsense is yet another concrete example of the despicable corruption at the top of the Corporate States of America on both the political and corporate side, and the ever greater price the rest of us are paying for allowing that corruption to continue.

        Get a sense of proportion. Alarmists like you seem to be keep any real change from getting done, because they struggle against any ethical-but-not-moral action as hard as they struggle against not-ethical-and-not-moral act.

        The proper response to Apple's iSuite is to OSS it better. If this is not practical, then Apple gets to enjoy their lead until such time as it is, just like every other OSS competitor (MS, WP, etc.)

        Advocate and build up if you like OSS. Attacking and tearing down only means that you're destroying the existing house to build one on a pile of sand.
    • by jmv (93421)
      Apple the next microsoft

      If (I doubt it) Apple gets anywhere near as powerful as MS is right now, be afraid!
    • Apple is the next HP. Everyone hooting and hollering about how great OS X is can now sit down because this is as ridiculous as it gets. If you aren't allowed to burn with an external drive, then what is the point of having the external ports? Apple just wants their unit to be closed off from any modifications. I call for everyone to stop buying Apple's closed hardware OS and stick to Linux on the PC.
  • by Amarok.Org (514102) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:06AM (#4162602)
    Apple wrote the software, at their expense, and distributes it *free of charge* in order to sell their hardware. Now, a third party application cracks the hardware restrictions, allowing non-Apple DVD drives (for which they've received no revenue) to utilize their software. Without this crack, to use the software you're required to provide Apple revenue through the purchase of an Apple DVD writer (even if that's bundled in a new system).


    If you want to use Apple's software is worth using, it's worth compensating Apple for it's development. If you want to use a non-Apple DVD writer, that's fine - the OS will let you. Just grab one of the other award-winning, easy to use, and powerful DVD authoring apps out there that are free. Now, where did I see those...

    • I feel a lot of people already compensates Apple politics on hardware by not buying apple computers :)
    • The first most obvious problem is that apple should be 'giving away' the software with there DVD drive not giving you the software expecting you to buy there DVD drive.

      If I buy a car from ford, ford expect me to get the car fixed and repaired using only ford authorised mechnics and parts (which they make money on?).

      A lot of people will do this, and it keeps the resale value of the car higher.

      But, there's nothing to stop me using anyones parts and getting anyone to fix the car.

      (n.b. I know there's certian things you need to be authorised to do to cars in places like france)

      • Your analogy is flawed:

        Apple developed iDVD at their expenses and provide it FREE of charges! I highly doubt you'll get the car for free. Selling their own drives is their _only_ stream of revenue in this case.

        A better analogy would be razors: Apple provides you with a free Gilette and expects you to buy their razors. If somebody now distributes some kind of adapter (patch) to Apples gilette to fit their own razors, then Apple would lose quite a bit of money, wouldn't they?
        • Having a bad business idea should not give you legal protection.
          This is pretty much like the CueCat fiasco where they gave away a product for free and attempted to put restrictions on how it could be used.

          If you recieve something FREE of charge you are not required to buy something else to pay for what you recieved for free.

          Stupid laws.
          • Having a bad business idea should not give you legal protection.
            No, but having your product cracked by a competitor should.

          • But that's hardware, this is software. Sure, you can do what you like with a physical object. But software has enjoyed different protection for a long time (long before the DMCA) which makes it illegal to modify the object code. This is just saying that cracking software (e.g. warez) is illegal - wow - big news. I can't understand all the fuss.
      • It's nothing like what you described.

        iDVD is the authoring tool, the expensive front end to a cheap piece of hardware. If you do this crack, you've essentially "stolen" (I hate to use the word, because it means so many different things in different contexts) Apple's R&D. You've got a product which you didn't pay for that was developed at great expense for the purpose of selling Apple hardware and modified it to work on non-Apple hardware. You've circumvented Apple's methods for protecting their R&D investment.
      • Heh, got it in one (Score:5, Informative)

        by mblase (200735) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:00AM (#4162991)
        If I buy a car from ford, ford expect me to get the car fixed and repaired using only ford authorised mechnics and parts (which they make money on?).

        Actually, they do. When your engine has a problem, it flicks on the "check engine" light and generates a code in the car's internal computer. These codes are not standard; they're custom to each manufacturer, and only a Ford repairman has the equipment and reference guide to interpret them. Your average non-branded mechanic has neither the technology nor the information to interpret those codes.

        Now, there's some noise being made about this, and independent mechanics are pushing dealers to publish those codes so that they don't have a monopoly on maintenance. But so far, to my knowledge, they've been unsuccessful.

        Just letting you know your example was more accurate than you thought.
        • by xercist (161422)
          My '96 Ford's check engine light came on a while ago. I went down to the nearest car parts store, borrowed their *standard* OBDII (On-Board-Diagnostic II) scanner, plugged it in, read the code, looked it up in the manual, and knew exactly why the check engine light had turned on.

          Given my car is 6 years old, perhaps they've come up with a new "standard" to piss people off since then?
    • to use the software you're required to provide Apple revenue through the purchase of an Apple DVD writer

      If there was any vestige of hope that Apple, originator of the infamous "look-and-feel" copyright law suits, was a "good guy," it has quashed it by abusing the DMCA. Apple developed iDVD to make Macs more attractive, so it released it free of charge. It hoped that people would use it on SuperDrives.

      Other World Computing didn't circumvent a copy-protection scheme, it circumvented a business model. You know, like writing a Perl script for use with the freely distributed Cue Cat, or a Java program to administer an AirPort base station. I bought an AirPort, because it was cheaper than anything comparable at the time. I'm sure Apple expected me to buy a couple of Macs to go with it.

      • by crawling_chaos (23007) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:59AM (#4162984) Homepage
        Actually, OWC violated a license agreement. If OWC had violated the GPL, say by taking a Free DVD writing application, bundling it with the external drive and not distributing the source, I'm sure you'd be singing a different tune.

        Apple's license agreement says that you are not to modify or patch iDVD or distribute any modified binary. Perhaps using the four-letter word in the cease-and-desist was a bit of overkill, but it doesn't change the fact that what they did was a violation of the iDVD license.

    • Without this crack, to use the software you're required to provide Apple revenue through the purchase of an Apple DVD writer (even if that's bundled in a new system).

      Uhm, no you're not. It comes with every Power Macintosh G4, regardless if you picked the DVD-R option or not. A legally licensed copy, imagine that!
      • Uhm, no you're not. It comes with every Power Macintosh G4, regardless if you picked the DVD-R option or not. A legally licensed copy, imagine that!

        Ok, let me rephrase.


        Without this crack, to use the software to burn DVDs you're required to provide Apple revenue through the purchase of an Apple DVD writer.


        You can use the software all you want, you just can't use it to burn DVDs. Think of it like the CrippleWare of old that allowed you full use of the software, except for the "Save" or "Print" features.

    • The problem is that it screws after-market people and consumers. Yeah, Apple spent a bundle developing OS X and iDVD. And consumers are spending a bundle for OS X upgrades at full price, too. But on to my point: if consumers let this sort of thing fly, then the problem is only going to grow: (e.g.)

      • You can only burn CDs on Apple branded burners with the built-in burner software.
      • You can only print to Apple branded printers with the bundled print manager.
      • You can only display on Apple branded displays using Quartz. ETC ETC ETC

      Yes, I do realize that you CAN use other products to burn DVDs, but that's not the point. Yeah, iDVD is bundled but so what? You do pay for it, in purchasing the system and OS. Paying top dollar for crippleware - or worse - software that actively prevents you from doing what you bought the system for - is inexcusable.

      /.ers roundly criticize the bozos at Microsoft for this kind of thing ala Media Player. I don't see any difference (on the 'good' and 'squeezing the customer' factor) between that and what Apple's up to.

      • Look: Download iDVD 2.1 [apple.com].

        You can download iDVD free of charge, so no, you're not paying top dollar for crippleware. And yes, I am aware that this won't work on non-Apple hardware, but this doesn't matter. You can buy used machines and thus Apple doesn't see a single penny from you and still provides you with iDVD.
    • This is a very incomplete part of the story. The critical parts you're missing are:

      • Apple DVD "writers" are overpriced and slow. It costs $200 EXTRA to go from a CD-RW/DVD drive to a SuperDrive (CD-RW/DVD-R). The SuperDrive is only 6x DVD, 8x CD-R and 2x DVD-R; the combo drive would have been 16x CD-R and 8x DVD.
      • Apple SuperDrives are only available with the purchase of a new mac. Old Mac? Mac purchases without SuperDrive? No iDVD.

      Requiring a donation to apple to use iDVD is reasonable. Commercial software has been very succesful and I suspect they could sell it in un-crippled form for a respectable price. Requiring you buy a whole new system (min price $1800+) to use one piece of software is bad business. But for now, they seem to have the legal right.

  • Seems like Apple has now joined those with the germ....I was getting close to considering apple cool for its unix factor, oh well I'll wait another 10 years for the next recovery of cool facotedr I guess.
  • by Borealis (84417) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:07AM (#4162607) Homepage
    I'm not familiar with the mac systems, but how the hell is this circumvent copy protection? While Apple obviously has these folks by the balls (since they primarily sell macs), I would think that this threat would be empty if somebody else decided to do it. Anybody have more info?
    • That's the beauty of the DMCA... It doesn't have to really make sense. :)

      If I add the line "This post is copy-protected by my YOU-NO-READ-ME encryption tags", and then you go ahead and read it anyways, you have technically circumvented my copy protection (which asked you not to read it), and are in violation of the DMCA.

      So, basically, if you put any kind of restriction into a software (or hardware!) product, and someone gets around that restriction (even accidentally!), they are in violation of the DMCA. It has nothing to do with actual duplication, it's just the circumvention that matters.

      Any questions citizen? Please place your tongue on the screen for identification...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:11AM (#4162627)
    Or don't think too different, or our lawyers will beat you to a pulp.

    It's funny how apple advertises with free speech heroes, but then use lawyers and an unfair law to stifle speech.
  • Please not Apple provides professional DVD burning software: DVD Studio Pro [apple.com], allowing you to burn on any drive for $1000.

    Are they within their rights? Sure. Is this wrong? Perhaps.
  • IVAGINAL (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stud9920 (236753) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:20AM (#4162672)
    Just a stupid question : could Microsoft use the same trick to disallow linux on the XBox ?
  • by jht (5006)
    The DMCA was the wrong club to use in closing this loophole.

    iDVD is a nifty, free application that you get from Apple as a "reward" for buying an Apple-supplied DVD burner (the Superdrive). It just so happens that you get the Superdrive by buying a Mac that includes one. They don't sell it as an aftermarket accessory.

    That's no surprise - as we've all debated to death here, Apple is not a software company or a peripheral company. They're a hardware vendor, and selling computers is how they make enough money to justify writing cool apps like iDVD and high-octane operating systems like MacOS X. If you patch their software (and not all Apple software is Open Source, just the core OS) to allow it to work with hardware they didn't intend it to, you're looking at Apple losing potential hardware sales.

    There are other DVD authoring programs on the market, I'm sure - just not free ones from Apple. Oh well. If you want to use iDVD, buy a Mac with a Superdrive. Otherwise, buy your authoring program separately - that doesn't bug me at all.

    However, using the DMCA warclub was stupid on their part. While effective, the DMCA is just the tool that pisses off folks like the Slashdot community - and in Apple's quest to boost market share and gain presence in the geek community those are good people to have on your side. OWC is a Apple dealer - a quick "come to Jesus" call from their Apple sales rep over the issue probably would have been sufficient to shut it down.

    Bad PR move, Apple.
  • DMCA Challenge? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by imadork (226897) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:23AM (#4162697) Homepage
    Excuse me while I put on my Apple Apologist hat for a moment...

    This seems way too odd for Apple. While I don't recall them ever stating an explicit opinion on the DMCA, we know that they've embraced MP3s without restrictions, don't put Product Activation in their OS (and recently started selling a 5-license Family Pack of OS X for $200), and Steve Jobs has publically stated that Piracy (in relation to Music, but it can be extended to all media) is a social problem, not a technological one, and technical efforts to combat it will fail. In short, they haven't been the biggest proponent of draconian copyright protection measures.

    Now, they seem to be invoking the DMCA to protect what seems to be a small revenue stream: people who already have Macs without an internal DVD burner and want to use iDVD with an external burner. Apple would rather have them buy a new Mac. Truth be told, however, lots of people in this position will buy a new Mac anyway. In truth, the number of people who would use this patch is quite small. Does Apple really think acting belligerent with third-party hardware vendors will lead to increased sales? Furthermore, what right does Apple have to limit their software to working on only internal drives when we all know that there's no technological reason for it? That sounds fishy to me, but totally legal under the DMCA.

    The Conspiracy Theorist (and unabashed Apple fanatic) in me wants to believe that Apple knows that this action wouldn't hold water in court, and is trying to find a third-party who is big enough to challenge it, and get the DMCA overturned, so it can protect its future (and much bigger) revenue stream coming from Digital Hub-type applications and devices!

    Then again, the realist in me believes that Apple is all in favor of a liberal approach to copyright protection only as long as it can make more money that way.

    • That makes no sense. First off, Apple would lose a DMCA-based case in no time, because what Other World Computing was doing was explicitly allowed under the DMCA in the following section of the code:
      (f) Reverse Engineering.-(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), a person who has lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of a computer program may circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a particular portion of that program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing those elements of the program that are necessary to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and that have not previously been readily available to the person engaging in the circumvention, to the extent any such acts of identification and analysis do not constitute infringement under this title.

      (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a)(2) and (b), a person may develop and employ technological means to circumvent a technological measure, or to circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure, in order to enable the identification and analysis under paragraph (1), or for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, if such means are necessary to achieve such interoperability, to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title.

      (3) The information acquired through the acts permitted under paragraph (1), and the means permitted under paragraph (2), may be made available to others if the person referred to in paragraph (1) or (2), as the case may be, provides such information or means solely for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title or violate applicable law other than this section.

      (4) For purposes of this subsection, the term "interoperability" means the ability of computer programs to exchange information, and of such programs mutually to use the information which has been exchanged.

      Roughly translated: You are free to reverse-engineer a copyright product (and use the method you develop) for the purposes of interopability. There is no "challenge" to the DMCA if it's already allowed under that law.

      More likely is what former Apple employee Matt Deatherage (cool name) says:

      Matt Deatherage, a former Apple employee who edits a daily Macintosh newsletter, said Apple's legal threat reflects the company's underlying business strategy: If iDVD is useful only on internal drives, people may buy more computers.

      While this doesn't seem to be a particularly smart business strategy, it seems more likely. Would you *really* buy another $3000 computer, or just try to find 3rd party software for your 3rd party DVD burner? There might even be software already bundled with it!

    • Sorry, wrong Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HiThere (15173)
      Apple Computer has been in favor of copy protection and incompatibility since the days of the Apple ][. Study the file formats used in the apple disk for apple programs (e.g., *.bas) and compare them with the file formats used at the same time on CP/M systems. Apple's formats were non-portable, with no technical advantage gained from that. Their strange floppy disk formats can be defended on the grounds that they allowed more info to be packed onto each disk, but the same defense doesn't work for their proprietary file formats.

      To be fair, this is something that Apple keeps waffeling about. Sometimes it thinks it's a hardware company, and wants file specs to be open. At other times it thinks that it's file formats are the crown jewels. (A silly attitude, if you ask me, but I'm not the one calling the shots.) The result is that Apple tends to offer the worst of both worlds, without reaping the benefits of either.

      This action fits right in with the standard schitzo nature of Apple.
      • No, you're wrong! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by LenE (29922) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @12:25PM (#4164126) Homepage
        I call bullshit!

        The Apple ][ BASIC file format was straight ASCII text. The .BAS file format was incompatible because those files were compiled for the 65C02 processor and called AppleSoft specific "tokens" that resided in AppleSoft BASIC in ROM. Essentially, this code is the same concept as Java bytecode, in that the ASCII coded BASIC programs were pre-compiled into calls for ROM based tokens. This used less disk space for the program, and translated to faster execution as it would remove the ASCII parsing step.

        Microsoft reverse engineered much of Apple's ROM (a task made easier by the fact that they produced an earlier version of Apple BASIC), and sold this IP to other companies which made 100% compatible clones (Franklin, Laser 128). Nothing prevented any Apple II series programs from running on these clones, as they shared the same processors as the Apple IIs.

        If Microsoft wanted to, it could have made code translators for AppleSoft Basic files, but it didn't see a need. Most ASCII basic files would directly translate. The .BAS files would need a 6502 -> 80x86, big ->little endian conversion and a token library to mimic Apple's.

        -- Len
  • is for apple to allow OEM's to bundle a crippled version of iDVD which will only work with the manufacturers drive (like so many OEM cd burner software bundles). Apple could then licence each manufacturer/bundler to make extra money on the software, rather than buying it directly from Apple. After all, the margins on hardware aren't that great, and no-one is going to buy a brand new Mac just for the superdrive, especially if you just got one a few months back.

    Another possible solution is for Apple to release their own external FireWire DVD-RW superdrive product and bundle iDVD with it.

    There is other software that will work with 3rd party external drives, Final Cut Pro does as far as I know (but I could be wrong).

    Also, couldn't Apple allow the sale and installation of Apple branded SuperDrives a Apple stores and authorised dealers as upgrades for G4 Macs? It's not as if there is a shortage of these drives at the moment. That way they could sell them at whatever cost they wanted.

    I know these are not great solutions, the best solution would be for Apple to allow this kind of thing to happen and not cripple their software in this way, but hey, it's probably not going to happen.

  • If you ask me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nochops (522181) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:32AM (#4162755)
    If you ask me, I say this is a good use of the DMCA. That's right, a good use.

    Apple is using the law to prevent people from modifying it's software with a third-party patch that enables the software to do something it wasn't intended to do.

    What's wrong with that? Picture the average Mac user who's gonna use this software. Now picture the same person when he burns a bunch of coasters, or the program keeps crashing, or something worse. Who's he gonna blame? Apple, because they made the iDVD software, right? Even though though it was the third-party patch that allowed him to run the software on unsupported hardware in the first place.

    The fact is, unsupported means unsupported. It's as simple as that. You can bet your sweet ass that [insert company name here] doesn't want to hear about it when their Windows software doesn't work under Wine or Lindows. It's the same thing. Think of Wine as the "patch" that allows you to run the software in an unsupported environment.

    I say cheers to apple for standing up for their rights.
  • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:33AM (#4162770) Homepage
    IANAL, but patching a program to create a derivative work which has the ability to write to other CD-burners is extremely similar to a "crack" like you find in the warez community for crippleware demo versions. How the DMCA applies to this I don't understand, then again I get the impression you can apply it to almost anything.

    Kjella
  • by GutBomb (541585) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:35AM (#4162780) Homepage
    iDVD is an application that comes bundled with apple SuperDrives. It is not freely available (update patches are, but the actual application is not).

    Wether or not you think apple should open it up to work with other DVD burners is irrelevant. Apple worte the software, bundled it with thier DVD burners, and sold it.

    The only people who would have access to iDVD besides the people who bought a superdrive are the people who pirated it or people who used to have a superdrive, but now use another burner.

    Apple put into the license agreement that you can only use the software on apple approved (read superdrive) dvd burners. Any other usage of the software is against the license agreement.

    Everyone here cries foul when someone violates the GPL, and no one chastises the author of the software for it (recent xvid fiasco) but if it's another license, whoooo boy, watch out. the hypocricy comes out to play!
  • Apple pays for an MPEG 2 liscence for iDVD. iDVD is on the restore disk. If apple allowed this hack to be distributed they would have to pay a liscencing fee for every restore disk w/ iDVD rather than just the Macs that come with a superdrive.

    I think this is the first legitmate use of the DMCA in history. Apple should be applauded for the proper use of such laws - not berated for suspected misuse.
  • So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by squaretorus (459130) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:52AM (#4162918) Homepage Journal
    Apple provide software for FREE. Apple Good.
    Apple put limitations on the FREE software. Apple Bad.

    Apple produce the software to make the drives they sell more attractive.

    So it's not unreasonable to protect the software, or to try to protect the software - otherwise it loses its purpose and they will simply drop it.

    I think what grates with most people is the way they use the law (that /.ers dont like) and lawyers (who no one likes) to do it.

    BUT. How the fuck else can they do it? I doubt they leapt straight to the 'cuff 'em' stage. If you use lawyers you use the law.
  • by jimhill (7277) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:55AM (#4162941) Homepage
    Let's say I buy a Mac with SuperDrive and it comes with a copy of iDVD on CD-ROM. Let's say further that I want the high horsepower of DVD Studio Pro rather than the adequate-but-underpowered iDVD.

    I have every right under the doctrine of first sale to sell my CD-ROM of iDVD to anyone who wants it, just as I have the right to sell that goofy one-button mouse that I'll be replacing with a multibutton wireless model.

    "Oh, but that's a violation of the license!" Judge Pregerson put it best in his Softman _v_ Adobe ruling: "The Court understands fully why licensing has many advantages for software publishers. However, this preference does not alter the Court's analysis that the substance of the transaction at issue here is a sale and not a license."

    Those of you who argue that it is impossible to get a copy of iDVD without buying a SuperDrive-loaded Mac are incorrect. Buy my copy. Those of you who argue that Apple has the right to control how their product is used once they have sold it are incorrect. Those of you who argue that the restriction placed on iDVD use is in any way covered by the DMCA are incorrect.

    None of that changes the fact that the company with more money can and will crush the company with less money -- or that the company with less money will fold instantly if its business model requires staying on good terms with the company with more money, which is the case in this particular instance.

    It's all a stinking, festering shitpile.
  • by damieng (230610) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @09:56AM (#4162952) Homepage Journal
    The fact is that any software or hardware utilizing DVD technologies has to pay a licence fee.

    I clearly recall a discussion recently where it was revealed that Apple do not pay any such recording licence fees on iDVD but instead on the SuperDrive in order to keep costs down.

    By allowing people to distribute hacks to let their software work on other drives (which will have just the standard drive licences, not those associated with DVD encoding etc) Apple will loose their position with the DVD licencing authority and end up having to pay such licences for every copy of iDVD.

    Yes, perhaps they should have done this but the fact is the software itself is free. Windows doesn't even come with DVD playback let alone authoring and I don't recall anything similar in a Linux distro.

    Apple do offer DVD Studio Pro for $1000 that is fully licenced and will work with any mac-compatible DVD-R drive or alternatively pick up a copy of Roxio Toast 5 Titanium for $100.

    Not everything in life is free.

    Get used to it.
  • Under the current laws, they can pretty much do whatever they want with their software.

    They only permit you to use their software with their drive. This is within their rights, and it is wrong/illegal to not follow this restriction.

    If you don't like their restrictions don't enter into an agreement with them. (And don't use their software).
  • If they only wanted users of thier drives to use it, they should have only distributed it with thier drives. They made it part of the iTools suite, giving it to everyone who buys X. To pull this now is getting close to a bait and switch, but since it was free (as in beer), the injury is minimal.

    Although, since the iTools are a big selling point of X, one could aruge that they are a part of the OS package and are therefore paid for. Then it really looks like a bait and switch, except the terms were there all along, buried in the EULA.

    It's not like these people are trying to pirate anything, they're just trying to use the software they leaglly paid for (not counting the leeches who just bummed the disc from thier buddies).

    All Apple is accomplishing is throwing more of thier karma capitol into the fire. The group of people this effects is small enough to not hurt Apple too much, even if they get pissed off and go elsewhere. My guess is that this is a knee-jerk reaction to what they percieved as a threat to thier control of the platform. A lot of people feel that such control is an necessary part of making the Mac different from other systems.

    Before you call this a troll, consider this: What you you say if MS were to pull the same thing? (they dont make drives or editing software, it's just an illustration)
  • by Melantha_Bacchae (232402) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:31AM (#4163229)
    Before you all get too worked up over this, please read this:

    http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/020812/120170_1.html

    This happened back on August 12th (a tad old to be "news"). Other World Computing's story back then was that Apple *requested* that they drop their software and support (because it violates the iDVD license).

    There was *no* mention of the DMCA, and no need to invoke it as Apple's iDVD license is quite clear.

    Note that the reference to the DMCA in the article is purely the quote of Other World Computing's president. There is no quote from any document they received from Apple.

    Note too that this is the same silly news site that manufactured the "Apple + Sun = true love and Star Office for OS X" story.

    Lacking any actual proof, beyond someone's say-so who has an axe to grind, reported on a flaky news site, I'm going to presume that Apple is innocent here.

    After all, who would you believe, a company that has taken the RIAA to task over their anti-piracy excesses, or one who tried to capitalize on someone else's hard work in order to compete with them?

    I am breaking with tradition, and ending with a quote not from Mothra, but from her friend, Steve Jobs:

    "Apple strives to protect the rights of both intellectual property owners and consumers alike and believes there is a 'middle path' in digital music distribution which actively discourages the theft of music, while at the same time preserving consumers rights to manage and listen to their legally acquired music on whatever devices they own,"
    Steve Jobs, 2002 Grammy Awards, as reported on http://sg.news.yahoo.com/020227/1/2jun2.html.
  • Stallman's Lemmings (Score:5, Interesting)

    by reallocate (142797) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @10:36AM (#4163281)
    I'm surprised, but then, not too surprised, at the number of posts here that castigate Apple as "evil" for doing this. They are in keeping with the widespread notion that "belief" in open souce/free software gives you a right to steal with impunity. I doubt that's what Stallman had in mind.

    Many seem to argue that Apple has a moral obligation to allow anyone to reverse engineer any of their products and do with them as they see fit. Some appear upset because Apple is using open source in a commercial product, rather than simply making their own products open source. Others just seem to be on a sophomoric rant against all businesses, as if they are the first in human history to notice issues with unbridled self-interest.

    What obligation does Apple have to pay attention to any of those opinions?

    I really don't care what Apple does or doesn't do with iDVD -- the ongoing emphasis on copying music and movies plays right into the hands of the media corporations, obscures the true importance of this copyright debate, and diminshes the chances to defeat some really bad legislation -- but a quick check of my OS X license shows it contains the standard prohibitions of disassembly, reverse engineering, etc. Such language has been used in proprietary software licenses for decades. If you violate those terms, you risk Apple's reprisal. Offense should be taken only by those who believe open source/free software represents a moral crusade to eliminate all closed souce. To the contrary, open source and free software are interesting and effective development and distribution models. They are not something to "believe in".

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @11:06AM (#4163508) Homepage Journal
    This is badly written article. It refers to the anti-circumvention part of DMCA, but doesn't actually explain how (or even if) this is actually relevant.

    With the very sketchy information available, it looks like Apple's actual objection may be conventional (pre-DMCA-style) copyright infringement, where copies of their software (or a derivative work of their software) is being redistributed by Apple dealers. If that is the case, then DMCA is probably relevant only because of the notification mechanism that it created.

    DMCA was a pretty big law that covers a lot of topics, and some parts of it are worse than others. The anti-circumvention part is the really goofy part, and shouldn't be confused with the other more reasonable parts.

    The notification part of DMCA may be a little iffy because of the guilty-until-proven-innocent abuse that it allows, but the basic idea and motivation behind it was sound and justifiable. (Unlike the anti-circumvention part, which is pure evil created with evil intent.) And then there's other parts that I've never even read, like the stuff about boat hull designs (?!), so I can't say if they're sensible or not. Journalists that are going to report about DMCA-related incidents, need to read up on it, so they don't misreport on it.

  • by DavidBrown (177261) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @11:18AM (#4163594) Journal
    I'm a PC user. I once owned an Apple ][c back in the day (loved it and even upgraded it to 1 Meg of RAM), but when I first tried the Mac (the original Mac) I hated the keyboard so much that I walked away and never went back.

    But I do know why Apple is doing what they are doing. It's really simple, when you consider their hardware provider philosophy. Apples are marketed as being very easy to use, and being very reliable. They don't crash (or so they say). One of the principal reasons why the Microsoft OS's are much more crash-happy then Apple's OS's is because Apple doesn't attempt to make their OS compatable with every piece of hardware under the sun. They don't want third-party DVD burners because some of them won't work, and people with Apples will start complaining about how their systems are crashing.

    I think that Apple is much more concerned with potential hardware compatibility issues than anything else, in order to protect the "sanctity" of their OS reliability.

    What does this do? It drives out the upgraders. But Apple isn't marketing to the upgraders. They are selling new machines, not an OS like Microsoft does. They see little profit in attempting to reconcile old hardware with a new OS. And yes, while I know the hardware in this case (external DVD burners) is new, the system hardware is likely to be not new, and the DVD burners have not been waved over by Apple engineers.

    This, by the way, is not evil. When I bought my Dell Dimension 8100 two years ago, Dell promised me an upgrade to XP for $20. I had to wait an additional six months or so after XP came out to get the upgrade, because Dell put a considerable amount of effort into patching the bios, etc. and updating their software package to ensure that upgrading XP wouldn't fsck my computer. As a result, I have a very reliable computer running XP, which is much more reliable than my HP notebook that came with XP preinstalled. I normally keep the machine on ALL of the time. Most of the time I reboot only because Microsoft Update tells me to (^_^).

    Dell's acts here had a similar motiviation as Apple's (protect system reliability). As a user, I certainly preferred Dell's open-system approach, but Apple's closed-system approach is a viable model. If you don't like it, don't buy Apple. It's that simple.

  • MPEG Licensing (Score:5, Informative)

    by hoggy (10971) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @11:21AM (#4163610) Journal
    I understood the reason that Apple stop people distributing these cracks is that Apple have to pay a licensing fee for the MPEG2 encoding algorithms used in iDVD. Since they effectively give away the software there is no way to track sales and pay the fee. So Apple struck a deal to pay based on sales of the SuperDrive instead - since iDVD can only be used with the SuperDrive.

    If people start cracking iDVD to work with someone else's drives then Apple end up effectively breaking their agreement with MPLA. Even though it's not their fault, their software is being used without the fee having been paid. Apple have to enforce the license or stop giving it away and sell it instead.
  • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @12:30PM (#4164177) Homepage

    I guess a lot of the folks here saying this okay, this is Apple's right, etc., these people must be big Apple fans.

    Well, I'm an Apple fan, and I think this is ridiculous. If you sell or give away a product that's perfectly capable of doing something that's useful to the recipient, and you purposely turn off, or don't enable, that feature for whatever reason, you must be nuts not to expect that someone will figure out how to turn it.

    If someone suggested this with regular, non-software items, they'd be laughed out of the boardroom. "You mean if someone discovers that free Apple hammers can hammer ANY nail, not just $3 Apple nails, we sue them for telling how?"

    The guy was supplying something that was useful for iDVD owners. Apple was witholding this useful feature because they thought it would make them more money. What obligation do we have to Apple to keep the secret? None. They don't have the obligation to make their products as useful as possible, but that doesn't mean we should be prevented from finding new uses for them.

    I don't feel sorry for Apple in this case. Anyone who sells any item should know, someone out there will take it apart and figure out how it works. And then they'll tell everybody else.

    Copyright law, including the overbroad DMCA, basically allows companies to profit from keeping these kinds of secrets. Many of these secrets are inside the very products themselves. This means people will find those secrets. Does this seem like a stable, self-organizing free market to you?

  • by crovira (10242) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @01:31PM (#4164655) Homepage
    The articlementionned that the patch was screwing around with Apple's own iDVD.

    That's the wrong place to apply a patch.

    Find the right place to patch. (Wrapper the driver that comes with the hardware and stick the patch in the wrapper.)
  • by Enrique1218 (603187) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @03:02PM (#4165365) Journal
    iDVD purpose is to increase the value of Apple systems whose revenue Apple depends on. It is not to provide anyone with quality dvd editing software. If someone wants to upgrade their system with a third party burner they should look for third party software. According to the article, OWC bundled this add-on to sell their DVD drives instead of licensing a third party alternative. In essence, they stole iDVD just to add value to their drives. Obviously, Apple has every right to put a stop to it.

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