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Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Apple Blocks Real Downloads from iPod

RealNetworks is upping the ante in its cat and mouse game with Apple. The company announced intentions to port its controversial Harmony technology to the iPod Photo after a firmware update broke compatibility.

In July, Real "stunned" Apple by unlocking the iPod's digital rights management components, essentially breaking Apple's proprietary hold on the player. Real has promoted iPod compatibility as a feature of its online music store.

Apple has been highly critical of Real's attempts to crack its DRM technologies, having previously said, "RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod." But Real says it remains committed to providing interoperability for customers.

"As with all new consumer electronics products, RealNetworks is studying the new iPod Photo to determine how we can continue to provide consumers with choice," RealNetworks said in a statement. "We remain fully committed to providing consumers with the freedom to use the music libraries they purchase from us on different portable audio devices, both now and in the future - including the iPod Photo."

Apple asserts that it will investigate the implications of Real's actions under the DMCA and other laws. Real claims that Harmony does not remove or disable any digital rights management system, therefore the product would not fall into the domain of the DMCA.

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