'DVD Jon" [Jon Lech Johansen] (known for his work on decrypting DVD security codes) has created a patch for the Google Video Viewer -- less than 24 hours after the search giant shipped the video playback plug-in, a tool based on the open-source VideoLAN media player. The patch, released on Johansen's 'So Sue Me' blog, effectively disables a modification Google made to the VideoLAN code to prevent users from playing videos that are not hosted on Google's servers.Link
Update: "Modifies" might be a better word here than "cracks." Let us not lose sight of what was "cracked" -- a version of the VLC open source player, released by Googlefolk who believe strongly in the value of free access to information. IMHO the original product was not fundamentally eeevil.
There are any number of reasons why the company might find it wise to restrict their in-browser player offering to videos hosted on their own servers. IANAL, and IANAE (I'm not an engineer), but what was "cracked" here is not a DRM scheme or something that limits enjoyment of the content offered. Nor did DVD Jon imply any of that himself.
Chris Wells says,
Hey Xeni, An interesting spin on this was pointed out in this slashdot comment: Link. Basically noting that all Jon really did was modify open source code put out by Google. Now, Yahoo (arguably Google's biggest competitor) has posted a news bit making it sound like some grand achievement and throwing in references to DeCSS, Apple's DRM and the AE encryption crack.Only... no such "news bit" exists. There are news articles, none of which were written by Yahoo employees. I think some of the slashdot readers mistook news articles such as this one appearing on Yahoo News with press releases. Yahoo didn't do anything icky here.
An anonymous reader says,
The PC Magazine author didn't quite put this into the proper perspective. In fact, this is by far the simplest "crack" yet for DVD Jon. The source code to VLC (the basis for the Google video player) is already available online and Google had published their changes to it on code.google.com (Link). All that has to be done to remove the "feature" in question is to search for "video.google.com" and delete the block of code that surrounds it.