Apple Denies Linux Access To Its Movie Trailers

Apple has decided to block streaming content from http://apple.com/trailers/ for Linux users.  I say this because tonight I went to view a few of the upcoming movie trailers and was told to “Get the Latest Quicktime” in order to watch and I was denied the ability to watch them.

I hit the forums to see if others have the same problems that I have and I’ve found that many people have begun reporting the problem from around May of this year.  Not being one to give up, I decided to test things a bit to see what apple.com was doing.

I installed the useragent switcher on Firefox and switched my agent to Windows Vista and IE7.  I then watched headers as apple once again denied me despite my agent being accepted by it.  It seems that it is looking for an actual install of Quicktime on your system (I can’t tell you for sure, I just know that useragent isn’t what it is sniffing for).

How does one circumvent?  Pretty simple.  When you are given that denied message “Get the Latest Quicktime”, go to View >> Page Source.  Look for a URL that ends in .mov.  Copy that URL and paste it into a new tab.  That’s it,  you’re now watching the trailer.

I want to thank Apple for being exclusionary to Linux users when you benefit so greatly from Open Source software.  It sets a great example and shows what is really important to you as a company…and that is forcing your software onto everyone similar to Microsoft.

UPDATE:  I wanted to let everyone know my platform since everyone seems to think I’m silly enough to blog about this without installing the proper codecs.  I use PCLinuxOS 2007 as my main workhorse distro.  The apple trailers site worked for me previously until I recently checked it.  I’ve updated this
to current and have all codecs installed (w32codecs, mplayer, xine,
gstreamer, etc.).  I have uninstalled, reinstalled, and tweaked
everything I can think of tweaking to get this working.  Nothing thus
far works.  I should note that this is with Firefox 3 and I’m not sure
if that has anything to do with things.

Follow-Up: BBC Caves on iPlayer – Linux Support Added

Looks like the BBC buckled under backlash from bloggers (say that 20 times fast). They’ll be offering their iPlayer in Mac and Linux flavors :)

I talked about what a crock they had begun to simmer with a Windows only version a few weeks ago. Glad to see that they have understood that the benefits outweigh the caveats many times over.

It’s much like standards compliant web pages…you only limit yourself by making your page non-compliant…because it won’t display in all browsers. You lose business if you have an ecommerce site…you lost hits if you have a blog. The BBC now understands that by limiting the ability of those to use its player, it shut the door to those users. It also knows that a network of bloggers is a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Whether Linux and Mac users be a small number or a large number, the BBC has set precedent here that I hope they follow in the future. Keep Open BBC!

Linux, the BBC and Your Rights

Imagine a world where you were told how to think, feel, and act. You were told what to buy…told what not to buy. Having trouble imagining these things? Maybe I can help. Check out a short story I wrote on the subject of Digital Rights Management (DRM).

We’re not as far off as you may imagine.

Websites we visit tell us what browsers we must use to visit. Software tells us what operating system we must use to install it. CD’s tell us that we cannot use music that we’ve bought and own. Televisions will soon tell us that we must have cable as over the air broadcasting of free television ceases in 2012. Your Miranda rights no longer exist according to the Patriot Act; they only have to label you a terrorist and you can be held without charge indefinitely.

It’s a wide scope of things to swallow that ranges from technology to social, political and economic portions of our world. How does one combat these issues? How do we make a difference? While I cannot speak for things of which I don’t know (mainly, political and socio-economic things) I can speak of some technology issues that we can adress.

A recent issue that has cropped up is with the BBC. The BBC is a publically funded broadcast corporation in the United Kingdom. That means the general public in the UK may elect to pay a fee resulting that they have access equally across the board to view content. Content here will mean any content whether online or broadcasted. The BBC takes money equally from all people regardless of race, creed, color, AND regardless of what operating system they run. As such, all people should have an equal opportunity to view said content.

Recently, they announced they would be creating an online video player that supports all operating systems, only to backpedal and state that Linux would not be supported. Now they’re also including DRM in much of their web based content. No problem? Actually, yes, there is a huge problem.

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Who do You Trust with Your Computing?

Some of you may have read my friend and collegue’s blog named “Blog of Helios” and visited his website lobby4linux.com enough to have understood what he has tried and is trying to accomplish with regards to Trusted Computing and Digital Rights Management. Many of you probably respect this approach and support it as I do. Others may not have any idea what I’m speaking of. Allow me to background a bit:

A few months back, despite life threatening illness, Ken aka helios DROVE from Texas to Washington D.C. to talk to congressmen and women about DRM and TC. He did this on a shoestring budget because he knew the Linux community was counting on him to do something about legislation (he had raised money for the trip and felt obligated to go)…and he’d made a promise. That kind of drive and compassion you don’t find much in people…sure they can have a great opinion about something…but many sit on their hands and shout the opinions. Actions speak louder than words and Ken aka Helios is FULL of action.

Helios was speaking out against trusted computing (TC) and Digital Rights Management (DRM) that is humming softly at the hardware and software level inside YOUR computer right now. That’s right! Chances are, it’s already made it on a chip on your and my motherboards…but it’s there. Soon, if what can happen does happen…we’ll all be so very unhappy at being told how we can and can’t operate our PCs.

Some of you may be asking, “what the heck are you talking about? They can’t tell me how I can use my computer inside my own home”. Unfortunately, that statement is false. DRM chips are already on a majority of motherboards and even built into some processors (viiv anyone?). All it takes is a flip of the switch and you’ll do what Microsoft or any other company that wants to manage your rights for you tells you to do whether you like it or not. That is, of course, unless you use Linux :) Linux has always been about choice…we choose to compute in ways WE want to…not ways that are defined for us. If we don’t like something, we code it different ourselves and then release the change…chances are, someone else thinks like you do and will like that change also. With Windows, that’s not possible…you’re locked from the start…so you’ll be locked to the finish as well.

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Once Upon a Time, in DRM Land

When his defense asked,”Which computer has Jon [DVD Jon] trespassed upon?” the answer was: “His own.”

Once upon a time there was a man named Frank. Frank was just like any other Frank, albeit a bit more cynical and curious. Frank was walking through the park one day when he happened upon a curious sight of a glowing doorway. Being curious, he investigated this curious phenomenon with infinite impetuosity. Unbeknownst to him, this doorway led to the future. The sights he beheld on the other side of this time warp doorway continued to pique his innate curiosity. Frank wanted to know what was going on at the other side of this door and he quietly slid through it.

Frank was astounded at what he saw. There were no cars on the road. People were walking everywhere. He grabbed a newspaper that blew slowly past him on the wind and was surprised that the date was 10 years ahead of the date he saw in his morning newspaper. Frank quickly came to terms with what had just happened…he had found a doorway through time which propelled him 10 years into the future.

He sat down on a bench with millions of thoughts whizzing through his brain. Questions began popping in his thoughts. He decided to investigate this future world so that he could find out where society was headed.

Frank quickly located someone walking by, stood up and asked the question, “Excuse me but, I don’t see any vehicles, why is that?”

The person looked at Frank with wide eyes and said, “Well, no one uses vehicles anymore since the RM Movement restricts types that can be used in different regions of the country”

“RM Movement?”

“Yes, Rights Management Movement. A few years ago, the Digital Rights Management act was passed which allowed for the regulation of consumers right to use digital media as they saw fit in the privacy of their own home. This paved the way for the Rights Management Act to go into effect a few years later.”

“But I don’t understand…this is America right? There’s no way we could restrict rights like this.”

The person responded in kind, “It was much easier when the Patriot Act became permanent.”

Frank pondered the point a minute and asked, “But this still doesn’t explain where the vehicles went!”

“Well, yes it does. With Rights Management, vehicle manufacturers required that you register the vehicle with them and buy a license to operate that vehicle on top of the operators license the government has. This license limits you to drive their cars in certain areas of the United States. This is one of those areas. For example, you can’t drive Fords in Kentucky since its region code is a 2, which is for Chevy’s only.”

“Region codes?” Frank interrupted. “You mean like DVD’s?”

“Yes, region codes like DVDs…although Blu-Ray and HD-DVD antiquated the region requirement for media, automotive manufacturers picked up the region idea from DVDs. The US has been divided up into regions where rights are managed according to physical location. Companies purchase rights in these different regions through the government so that their products can be sold and used in these regions.”

“But how can they expect to tell me what to do with something that I BOUGHT?” Frank exclaimed

“Well, they started it with Digital Rights Management. DVD’s and Music were first and since these are just creative works…the Rights Management spread to other creative works. Since an automobile is just a product of manufacture like a computer or DVD player the line was blurred as to how much control companies could put on their products. With the DRM Act, you couldn’t play a DVD on any player other than the ones approved of by that DVD company…they regulated where and how you could play it”

“But that’ s idiotic” Frank said, “I bought the stinkin’ thing, I should be able to do whatever I want with it after I buy it. If I want to use it as a Frisbee or drive it off a cliff, I should be able to do so!”

“With the DRM and RM Acts, you can’t. The company reserves the right to have you use their product the way they intended it to be used.”

“But doesn’t this stifle creativity?” Frank asked. “Doesn’t this limit things considerably? For example, Post Its would never have been invented because they used an adhesive that was already available right? So that would have been illegal because the adhesive wasn’t being used in the right way and if 3M didn’t own the adhesive..”

“Well,” the person responded, “if Post Its had been invented after this act and 3M didn’t own the adhesive, I guess they’d have been outlawed…but since it happened before, they slip past regulation.”

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