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March 29, 2004
Berkman on iTMS
The Berkman Center has released a 100-page case study of the iTunes Music Store, discussing the laws and treaty obligations around the music store, including its DRM system, the triple-pun FairPlay. The study is part of their Digital Music Project and the principal investigator is Terry Fisher, of compulsory licensing fame.
(Unfortunately, the study itself seems to be unreadable in Mac OS X's Preview for some reason. It works fine in Adobe's PDF reader.)
If you're more interested in the technical rather than legal aspects of FairPlay, Jon "DeCSS" Johansen has reverse-engineered it for VLC, so that you can play your songs on GNU/Linux, Windows, OS X, or whatever other system you like as long as you have a Windows system or iPod.
Homework assignment: use Johansen's C code and additional research to write up an English explanation of how the FairPlay system works. Extra credit: include a security analysis.
UPDATE: My crack at the assignment is up. Comments, corrections, and additions are appreciated.
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