IoT
News
News
11/26/2003
02:40 PM
50%
50%

Norwegian DVD Cracker Teenager Posts iTunes Hack

A new security-cracking program called QTFairUse was posted on a Web site for which the teen, Jon Lech Johansen, is listed as the registrant.

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- A young Norwegian who became a global hacker hero by writing and distributing a program to crack DVD security codes appears to have struck again, this time against Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes online music service.

Jon Lech Johansen, 19, faces a new trial that starts Tuesday after prosecutors appealed his January acquittal on charges that he violated Norway's data break-in laws with his DeCSS program for DVDs.

Last Friday, a new security-cracking program called QTFairUse was posted--along with the message "So sue me"--on a Web site for which Johansen is listed as the registrant, or owner.

The new program circumvents iTunes' anti-copying program, MPEG-4 Advanced Audio Coding, by legally opening and playing a protected music file in QuickTime, but then, essentially, draining the unprotected music data into a new and parallel file.

There are other programs that can circumvent copy-protection schemes by capturing analog audio, though that typically causes a loss in quality.

The program on Johansen's site appears to capture unprotected digital data, which could be used to make perfect copies of an unlocked tune.

The program also is published as open-source software. Others can use it and improve upon it, provided they make their work freely available to others.

QTFairUse then could be used as the foundation of other programs. In its current form, the software leaves the unprotected music data in a form that is unplayable without additional software.

Johansen could not immediately be reached for comment. The Oslo newspaper Aftenposten said he was traveling in France. An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately return a call Wednesday seeking comment.

Johansen, also known as DVD Jon, was 15 when he developed DeCSS to watch movies on a Linux-based computer without DVD-viewing software, posting it on the Internet in 1999.

The program is just one of many that can break the film industry's Content Scrambling System, which prevents illegal copying and blocks the use of legitimate copies on unauthorized equipment.

Prosecutors charged Johansen last year after a complaint from the Motion Picture Association of America and the DVD Copy Control Association, the group that licenses CSS.

He was acquitted Jan. 7 by the Oslo District Court, which said Johansen could not be convicted of breaking into DVD films he legally owned, or of providing a tool others might use to copy films illegally.

Since the case was the first of its kind in Norway, and a key test in determining how far existing laws protect copyright holders, prosecutors used their right to appeal to a higher court.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of July 17, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.