Via Freedom to Tinker and Boing Boing comes a startling suggestion about XCP. Remember the allegation that DVD Jon’s iTunes DRM busting code appeared in XCP? Alex Haldeman at Freedom to Tinker says that it was put there on purpose: so that Sony BMG could get its music into iTunes and onto the iPod by transparently adding Apple’s DRM to music files from XCP CDs.
This is a complex allegation, and is made a little more hysterical than it needs to be in the BoingBoing write up. You could always put plain old MP3s on the iPod. What you couldn’t do was to play music files that required competing DRM formats on it. Not sure I see the value of doing so, either.
The bigger question it raises is the question of intent. Did First4Internet put the functionality in, or did Sony BMG? Who turned it off (it’s present but disabled in all shipped XCP CDs)? Was this a negotiation ploy to strong arm Apple into accepting competing DRM schemes on iPods? If so, it appears never to have been used, since the code wasn’t updated to keep up with post iTunes 4.8 changes that rendered it inoperable.
As I’ve said before: every time it seems like everything is clear in this case, things just get more interesting. Stay tuned…