New RealPlayer Avoids Apple DRM License

A day after Apple Computer Inc.'s introduction of new iPods and updates to the company's leading digital music service here at the Macworld Expo show, RealNetworks Inc. on Wednesday announced a major update to its digital audio and video strategy that looks to go head-to-head with Apple's digital rights management technology.

RealNetworks announced its own online music store as well as a re-vamped RealPlayer for Windows that will let its customers play music purchased through Apple's iTunes Music Store, without a license for Apple's FairPlay digital rights management (DRM) scheme.

Analysts said RealPlayer's support for iTunes songs is likely to prove controversial and could spur Apple to consider legal action, or implement software patches that would prevent playing of its music file format. RealNetworks officials responded that the company did not violate copyrights by allowing users to play any content they rightfully own.

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