A 22-year-old Norwegian man says he has cracked the security code on Apple's iTunes music store and iPod player.
Head of Double Twist Ventures (a software company based in San Fran), Jon Lech Johansen says a program he designed can fool computers into thinking any MP3 player is an iPod. His program can also reportedly take any music or video downloaded from other file-sharing applications but make it appear as though it was bought legally from iTunes.
Apple has faced some criticism in other countries (we won't name names, ahem, France, Sweden and Denmark) because music bought from iTunes includes a security code that restricts the song to playback on the iPod. Music purchased from other sites, including Amazon.com is restricted from being played on rival media players.
According to The Australian
, Johansen is "one of the world's most notorious hackers."
A self-trained software engineer, Johansen became famous at 15 when he was accused of cracking DVD codes that prevented them from being copied. Hollywood says the DVD hack has cost it billions of dollars in lost revenue but "DVD Jon," as he was nicknamed, was acquitted of all charges after a long trial in Norway.
Johansen's company says it is getting legal advice because it believes the hack is legit as it does not break any of the software built into the iPod. He is apparently working with an unnamed client to create a business around licensing this new system to online download stores.
"There's a certain amount of trouble that Apple can give us, but not enough to stop this," Monique Farantzos, managing director of Double Twist Ventures told The Guardian
. "We believe we're on good legal ground, and our attorneys have given us the green light."
Apple still hasn't commented.