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Apple Hunts Playfair in India 782

An anonymous reader writes "A news posting at says that they have to take down the 'PlayFair' program upon receiving a notice from Apple's attorneys. They are awaiting their attorneys' response. This is bad news for all those who appreciated this cool program. Let's hope that 'PlayFair' might appear in some other country now."
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Apple Hunts Playfair in India

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  • ...since it was getting downloaded around 5000 times a day before it got pulled. I'm sure the other project admins at Sarovar aren't sad to see it go; now they have a much more responsive server :-)

    And again, if you put up a public (foo)Forge, make sure you have a Terms of Service [] document to cover this sort of thing.
  • by Anml4ixoye ( 264762 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:12PM (#8881847) Homepage

    As another poster pointed out, they didn't specify *what* laws they were going to do anything. They merely said that if they didn't take it down, they would begin reviewing what legal options they had available to them. Maybe they don't have any, maybe they do - but if I had Apple's lawyers on my back I might want to take it down too until I found out they had no chance of touching me.

  • Fine by me. (Score:4, Informative)

    by the unbeliever ( 201915 ) <{chris+slashdot} {at} {}> on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:13PM (#8881865) Homepage
    I could care less about this program.

    Anyone who's concerned about what little DRM Apple has put in the ITMS files can just burn it to an audio cd (on a rewritable disc) and then rip it to MP3. It's what my girlfriend and I do.

    (besides, I could never get the win32 version of this program to do anything other than spit out the help file)
  • Re:Let's hope indeed (Score:5, Informative)

    by whelck ( 683102 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:18PM (#8881929)
    How many computers do you have? You can authorize the files to be played on up to three computers, and if you have more than that, just set up a iTunes server. I have one box that has iTunes which I buy the music from. Then I just leave iTunes running all the time and I can then access the music from any computer in my house.

    (you can also just burn the song to CD and rip it back as mp3...)
  • Re:A few thoughts (Score:5, Informative)

    by JoshuaDFranklin ( 147726 ) * <> on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:21PM (#8881971) Homepage
    Here is my mirror of the source code. There are no binaries, no DMCA violations: []

    Use responsibly.

  • by Aero Leviathan ( 698882 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:22PM (#8881989) Journal
    You know that RIAA notice on movies? The one that says 'protected by United States copyright law and international treaties'? And then they show the INTERPOL logo? Of which India is a member []?

    Probably relates to this, too...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:23PM (#8882002)
    They are both Indian laws.
  • The laws are Indian (Score:5, Informative)

    by shamir_k ( 222154 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:25PM (#8882022) Homepage
    Both the Copyright Act 1957 [] and the Information Technology Act, 2000 [] are Indian laws. I doubt that the Copyright Act would have any DMCA like provisions that could apply on this case. Not so sure about the Information Technology Act. It was hailed as a great piece of forward looking legislation when it was introduced. Any Indian lawyers care to comment?
  • Re:Let's hope indeed (Score:0, Informative)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:28PM (#8882068) Homepage
    ...blaw, blaw, blaw...I bought for and own to use on my own machines...blaw, blaw, blaw...

    Remember, when you buy something, you accept the sale conditions that the seller (owner or owner's agent) specifies. That's a contract between you and the seller. If that contract involves DRM, well, too bad, but remember, you are not obligated to make the purchase.

    Ethical people abide by the agreements they make. When you buy music you are making agreements.

  • Re:A few thoughts (Score:5, Informative)

    by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:29PM (#8882082)
    4. With refard to Sarovar, Apple did nothing more than make with is essentially an intellectual appeal. Apple didn't "force" anyone to do anything.

    Oh yes they did.

    [T]he PlayFair program is against the express provisions of our Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Copyright Act, 1957 and you are equally liable as accessories, being the means through which the offending program is available for download at the Sarovar site.... Please confirm your compliance of the above requisitions within 24 hours from receipt of this notice, failing which our clients would be forced to consider the legal options available to them
    Is not an "intellectual appeal", it's a threat to make them spend the rest of their lives in court and/or be bankrupted. It's one step removed from a horse's head in the bed.
  • by Warpedcow ( 180300 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:30PM (#8882104) Homepage Journal

    If I want, I can burn my songs to a CD. And play them in my car. Or in my house. Or at work. Or in a portable CD player.

    If I want, I can put these songs on my iPod and listen to them wherever I go.

    If I want, I can listen to these songs on my computer using iTunes.

    I've yet to find a gross infraction upon my rights to do with the music as I wish.

    Thats good that you can do all the things you want to do. But there are other examples of legal fair use. Like playing your purchased music on a Linux or OS/2 machine. Or suppose you have 5 macs in your house, iTunes only lets you play them on three machines! So if someone thinks that the DMCA is a bad law and doesn't care about breaking it, they could use PlayFair to simply exercise their Fair Use Rights. Yes, iTunes gives you some Fair Use, but not enough for many people.

  • by cygnusx ( 193092 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:32PM (#8882122) Homepage
    > Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Copyright Act, 1957
    > ... Is that Indian law

    Both are Indian laws. FWIW, Indian law is largely based upon English common law. It's quite common for Indian courts to cite English and US Court judgement in their judgements. (India's tradition of of law interpretation is one reason why India has been considered a "safer" IP outsourcing destination than, say, China).

    One thing that Indian courts don't have (very apparent in criminal trials) is a jury. (It had one to begin with, it was abandoned after it was found prone to abuse) The judge alone hears arguments and interprets the law.

  • Re:A few thoughts (Score:5, Informative)

    by pyros ( 61399 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:34PM (#8882156) Journal
    Here is my mirror of the source code. There are no binaries, no DMCA violations:

    You're fooling yourself if you think that you must distribute binaries of a copy-protection circumvention application. The 2600 guys were successfully prevented from hyperlinking to sites with the source code. That's right. There is precedent for /. to be sued for leaving your comment in this discussion, based on the DMCA.

  • Re:Let's hope indeed (Score:2, Informative)

    by Steamhead ( 714353 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:35PM (#8882158) Homepage
    The thing is, even when shared, you still need the key, sharing it will do nothing.
  • by Laur ( 673497 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:37PM (#8882198)
    So I can take the Linux kernel, ignore the license, and do whatever I want with it then?

    As a matter of fact, YES YOU CAN (within the limits of copyright law). The GPL places no restrictions on use and does not require that you accept it to use the program. If you want to redistribute it, however, you would be breaking copyright law unless you accept the license. In the case of Apple's DRM, removing the DRM on songs you have purchased is certainly covered under fair use. If you then decide to distribute those DRM-free songs, you are in violation of copyright law. It remains to be seen whether Apple's Term of Service are legally enforable and if they trump fair use, especially since portions are contradictory and Apple enables you to strip the DRM anyway (via CD burning).

  • by clmensch ( 92222 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:37PM (#8882199) Homepage Journal
    Keep in mind that you have to have PlayFair installed in "/usr/local/bin/". I'm not sure, but you also may need to add the leading slash to "usr/" to make it "/usr/" on the line:

    do shell script "usr/local/bin/playfair '" & protectedAACPath & "' '" & freeAACPath & "'"

    I could be's been working for me without it. Sorry about that. But the script works!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:38PM (#8882219)
    IT Act, 2000 []
    Copyright Act, 1957 []
  • by hbmartin ( 579860 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:40PM (#8882263)
    Ignore the parent torrent, here's the 0.5 one &name=playfair-0.5.0.tar.gz.torrent []
  • by DreadSpoon ( 653424 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:42PM (#8882304) Journal
    "C'mon Apple, OS X is "based on Unix", so how hard could it be to port iTunes over to Linux and Unix? If you really want to set an online music standard (and possibly reduce OSS-attempts at circumvention), you gotta give Linux some love."

    Because Linux doesn't have Aqua. I doubt iTunes makes much use of any particular underlying UNIX features. It does use a particular toolkit (Aqua) designed to run on a particular graphics engine (which sure as hell isn't X11) using NeXT APIs (Objective-C based equivalent of STL/glib, basically) and utilizing tons of other services which are likewise tied to the platform (WebCore for browsing, Quicktime for multimedia, netconf for configuration, etc. etc.)

    It's like asking to port an app from GNOME to KDE. An app written for either of those is maybe 1% dependent on the underlying OS and 99% dependent on the specific APIs and features of the desktop platform. A port from GNOME to KDE (or vice versa) would require a complete rewrite for most applications, and a good deal of work for any others. Same goes for porting iTunes.
  • by dsanfte ( 443781 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:44PM (#8882340) Journal
    The technology act seems to mainly deal with digital signatures, hacking other people's systems, and erasing "source code" to a computer system. I couldn't find anything to do with copyright in there.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:44PM (#8882359)
    The way people are talking here, it is ok if you bought a box of GPL software, decided it had commercial potential then released it.

    No, the way people are talking here, you got a box of GPL software, made changes and then installed a binary copy on your friend's machine, but intended for your own use only. Then, you refused to release the changes, saying it's fair use, not redistribution.

    There are all kinds of rights users get in addition to license - fair use, first sale doctrine, lemon law. It's good we have those and we need some more. Like escrow of a decryption program in case Apple stops supporting iTMS and people need to transfer music to another machine.
  • by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:49PM (#8882446)
    Actually, the author of PlayFair made it clear that he wrote it because he hates DRM, not because he wants to use his Linux box to play iTMS file. Aside from that, VLC on Linux will decrypt iTMS-encrypted files, anyway.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:50PM (#8882458)

    Instead of using AppleScript to run PlayFair, why not just use AppleScript to directly transcode the file?

    (Yes, you can do this. No, I'm not going to tell you how).

  • Re:A few thoughts (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fallen Kell ( 165468 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @12:59PM (#8882635)
    I don't know about that. Once you cross the line as to saying that code is not speach then where is the actuall line? That was the whole point of the DeCSS Gallery, to prove that there is no line between source code and speach.

    In any case, THIS IS EXEMPT! Read the DMCA under 6 exemptions:

    2. Reverse engineering (section 1201(f)). This exception permits circumvention, and the development of technological means for such circumvention, by a person who has lawfully obtained a right to use a copy of a computer program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing elements of the program necessary to achieve interoperability with other programs, to the extent that such acts are permitted under copyright law.

    PlayFair is needed to allow us to use the protected work in hardware that does not support the FairPlay encryption scheme. While I might not bet my life on that, it at least is a good place to start in challenging this (as well as in the case for DVD's).

  • YANAL (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kaseijin ( 766041 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @01:14PM (#8882914)
    ...something that HAS NOT BEEN termed illegal - go buy the CD and then sell the CD back to a used store once you've ripped it.
    That's co--pardon, COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. When reselling a copyrighted work, one must surrender or destroy all copies.
  • Re:linux (Score:4, Informative)

    by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @02:11PM (#8883815)

    Someone else that doesn't understand the difference between a EULA and the GPL.

    The GPL has zero clauses about how you use a product. Once you've downloaded a GPL'd program, you can do anything you like with it - run it how you like, or print it out and stick it to your cat, even use it to run your tinpot dictatorship torture chambers.

    Music downloaded from itunes has an implicit licence (or even an explicit licence - I can't find out, as they won't let us heathen british in yet), enforced by DRM, which restricts how you use the music. You can't put it on anything but an ipod, you can't sell it to anyone else, you can't easily transcode so you can listen to in other than your "Apple Approved" equipment (yes, yes, I know about the cd-burning. My only machine with a burner runs linux.)

    NONE of these are protections entitled by law. EULA's are unenforceable fake contracts. The ONLY thing stopping you is the DMCA, which prevents you circumventing protections, even when it otherwise LEGAL to do so.

    Even that is debatable, as the DMCA does not prevent reverse engineering for interoperability, so it could be argued that, even in the US, you are entitled to media shift your legally purchased music to use on an alternate player.

    So the GPL allows you to do whatever you want with the product, Apple'd DRM does not. One is as open as you can be, one is very restrictive (if you don't own 100% apple equipment)

    When you get a GPL program, you can copy it as much as you like, and distribute as much as you like, even distributing modified versions. Except that's illegal under copyright law, so you need permission to do so. The GPL grants you that permission, as long as you distribute the source.

    When you get an Apple DRM file, you can make a handful of copies for personal use. You can't give it to anyone else at all, even to legally sell your only copy!

    So even with making copies, the one thing copyright law prevents, the GPL is very open, while the Apple DRM is very restrictive.

    Playfair has nothing to do with copyright (the right to publish copies, natch). Playfair allows you to remove the DRM-enforced USE restrictions.

    It's as defendable as a record button on a video player, it's as defendable as a lockpick, it's as defendable as a crowbar - all of which can be used for legal, or illegal things.

    Apple have the right to sell their products with use-restricting DRM; we have the right to remove it.
  • Re:A few thoughts (Score:4, Informative)

    by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @02:14PM (#8883872)
    Not only that, but Apple is threatening them under U.S. law.

    The laws cited are Indian. (If it were US, they'd be talking DMCA.)

  • Re:A few thoughts (Score:2, Informative)

    by cyways ( 225137 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @02:33PM (#8884140)
    I can't listen to it on portable MP3 players other than iPod. I can't put the files on my server and freely play them from any computer. I can't play them from standalone hardware players. I can't burn a hundred of them to a CD in data format and pop that disc in my in-car MP3 player.

    I don't own an iPod, but I'm pretty sure it has a headphone jack. Doesn't your computer have a compatible audio input jack? If not, go buy the appropriate cable.

    In other words, if you want to make copy, just do what people did for decades -- dub it.

  • by droleary ( 47999 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @02:34PM (#8884151) Homepage

    It can still be found on DataFetish []. If you can, uh, find it there in the first place. :-) There is absolutely no way Apple will be able to erase all traces of this code from the Internet. The harder they try, the more people will secret it away.

  • by Laur ( 673497 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @03:09PM (#8884753)
    But that's what I want to do with the kernel! I want to change it and sell it as my own. Why can't I do that? Oh yeah, IT'S A LICENSE VIOLATION. A license is a license is a license.

    No, it's a COPYRIGHT VIOLATION. Repeating your point over and over doesn't make it any more valid. If you have any more questions try reading Title 17 of the US code. []

  • by gozar ( 39392 ) on Friday April 16, 2004 @03:16PM (#8884859) Homepage
    It takes forever, and you lose all the metadata!

    If you're using a Mac, it keeps all the metadata for you when you burn a CD, so you can rip the burned copy and have all the tags in the right place.

  • by gujo-odori ( 473191 ) on Saturday April 17, 2004 @04:43AM (#8890399)
    Yes, this is OT. Go ahead and mod me down. At least it's intelligent OT.

    Umm, Osama bin Laden is a millionaire. You don't see the heads of the PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or any other terrorist organization out there begging on the street, either.

    There's a reason for this: terrorism is not fundmentally fueled by either poverty or hunger. The components of terrorism are hatred, bigotry, and racism. "But the world is filled with those things!" you may say, "But terrorism is not universal. We have some hatred, bigotry, and racism right here in the USA, and way too much poverty for a rich country, too. Yet domestic terrorism is almost completely unknown here. Why?"

    Why, indeed? It's because terrorism needs a catalyst. That catalyst is the wealthy men with radical agendas and no regard for the rule of law who head the terrorist organizations, among whom bin Laden is the richest. Besides being pretty good at terror, Al Qaeda is a heck of a good fund-raising and money-laundering organization, too. One that would probably make most political parties and some drug cartels look on with envy.

    You can educate people all you want. It won't stop terrorism. You can feed them all you want. it won't stop terrorism. Indeed, Hamas feeds lots of people, and the Islamic world is filled with Islamic schools that educate people. The radical ones educate people in terrorist ideology, and they later graduate from ideology to techniques. So what we see is that feeding and "educating" people is an integral part of recruiting new terrorists. After all, somebody has to go out and be the suicide bomber, and it sure isn't going to be the guy in charge, or anyone from his family. They'll advocate suicide bombing but they have no taste for it themselves. It's pretty plain from that just how much they really care about the people they recruit.

    So, what will end terrorism? First of all, there is no quick fix. I'm in my forties and I believe we will be at war against terrorism for the rest of my life. I don't know if even my very young children will see an end to it in their old age.

    To end terrorism, we need to do a lot of things. Kill terrorists, firstly. Especially those on top. Make it clear that any country that harbors or aids terrorists is putting its collective neck on the block. You don't think Qaddafi's playing ball all of a sudden is a coincidence, do you? He was what happened to Saddam Hussein, and decided he wanted no part of that. Any dictator cares first and foremost about himself, and it was clear to him that the way to retain power was to play ball with the international community and dump his WMD programs before someone came along and dumped him. Qaddafi is no fool. Hussein was a fool to continue following the course he did after Sept. 11.

    Secondly, we need to encourage democracy and freedom in the Mid East. Sometimes, that can only be achieved through forcible regime change. Other times, a carrot and a stick will be enough.

    Finally, getting a settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians is key. No one had a right to gripe about Israel holding the west bank and Gaza, and no one would have a right to gripe if they kept them forever. The only reason they are in those places is the 1967 war, a war of aggression waged against Israel by its neighbors. The Israelis won, and took that land to buffer them against future attacks. That's how they got the Golan Heights, too.

    Despite the fact that it would be fair if Israel kept that land, they won't have peace unless they give it back and let the Palestinians make a state on it.

    An end to terrorism and achievement of peace is possible, but it cannot be achieved through appeasement now any more than it could against Hitler in the 1930s. We all know what appeasement of Hitler led to. It led to waiting to fight him after he was too strong to beat easily. It led to countless millions of deaths that wouldn't have happened if they had taken him down years earlier when he had n

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury