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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In defense of Ipodhash

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The author of the Ipodhash project recently sent me an email explaining why Ipodhash does not violate Apple's DMCA copyright. I thought I'd republish it here. I can't vouch for the accuracy of his defense, but it sounds like an interesting argument.


The iPod hash is added to iTunes database to protect it against
modification by third party utilities (to prevent third party
utilities from synching with iPod or iPhone). Now there are a few
points

1) iTunesDB does not fall under the category of copyrighted material.
The iPod hash protects the database. A database is not copyrighted
information. It is created on the user iPhone/iPod by iTunes, and
iTunes adds this hash to make sure that no other application can
modify the database. But that does not make the "database" a
copyrighted material.

2) The hash protects the database from writing, i.e. Thirdparty
applications can still read the database in presence of this hash.
DRM schemes usually prevent reading by thirdparty applications. Hence
this scheme does not fall under DRM protection.

3) The DMCA does not outlaw dissemination of information, which could
lead to circumvention devices.

4) We are doing this for interoperability with other platforms (such
as linux). DMCA explicitly allows reverse engineering for
compatibility purposes.

Hence I believe that there was nothing illegal, about the project.

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