Apple, Fox team up for iTunes Digital Copy

Apple and Twentieth Century Fox on Tuesday introduced iTunes Digital Copy, new technology that enables users who buy specially configured DVD movies with the ability to copy the movie to iTunes, for later playback on the Mac (or PC), iPod and other compatible products.

The first disc to feature this technology is "Family Guy Presents: Blue Harvest," a parody of Star Wars featuring the popular cartoon family seen in the "Family Guy" TV show on Fox Television.

When the movie DVD is inserted into the computer, the user is prompted to enter a unique code into iTunes that they can find in the movie's packaging. iTunes then copies the movie into the user's iTunes library. Each DVD will only transfer its iTunes Digital Copy to one iTunes library, however.

iTunes Digital Copy content can be viewed on Macs, Windows PCs, fifth-generation (video) iPods, third-generation iPod nanos, the iPhone and Apple TV. It's dependent on iTunes 7.6 and QuickTime 7.4, both of which were also released on Tuesday and are available for download through the Software Update system preference.

The new product is an alternative to using software that enables users to "rip" movies from DVDs to the Mac. Such software circumvents copy protection capabilities, while iTunes Digital Copy provides safeguards to make sure the copied movie is where it belongs.

Apple and Twentieth Century Fox did not announce what other titles will employ this protection scheme, but Apple said it's planning to deliver many more DVDs with the technology in 2008.

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