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iTunes music to play on other devices

A 22-year-old hacker who as a teen cracked the encryption on DVDs and now has developed a system compatible with Apple's "FairPlay" copyright technology that allows iTunes music to play on other devices and gives iPod users access to other music stores.

"He imitated Apple's system; he didn't remove any copyright protections," said Monique Farantzos, whose DoubleTwist Ventures plans to license the code to businesses. "He made a system that behaves in a similar way."

Jon Lech Johansen has essentially created software that in a way tricks iTunes into thinking a competing device with the DoubleTwist code is an iPod, said Farantzos who predicted it could be available to consumers as soon as the beginning of 2007.

This could be music to the ears of consumers and good news for Apple rivals looking to cut into the company's enormous share of the digital music market. iTunes commands an 88 percent share of legal song downloads in the United States and iPods soak up some 75 percent of the U.S. market for digital music players.

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