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Cracking iTunes' DRM with JHymn 449

Posted by michael
from the nuclear-escalation dept.
comforteagle writes "Howard Wen has interviewed 'FutureProof' of the JHymn project, a DRM removal application for iTunes song files laden, or 'crippled' as some say, to prevent filesharing. FutureProof tells us how Apple's DRM works, how to rip it out using JHymn, how they build on the work of 'DVD' Jon Johansen, and how to upgrade to that brand new iShuffle safely."
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Cracking iTunes' DRM with JHymn

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:31PM (#11509519)
    Probably "Send the lawyers. Have him killed immediately."
    • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:43PM (#11509621)
      When Hymn first came out (under a different name) they released iTunes 4.6 almost right away which would not see files that the old Hymn had converted - by recognizing one aspect of the converted files that was particular to Hymn generated files.

      Hymn released a fix in short order - I think back in July? It was a long time ago anyway. And since that time, Apple has done nothing to shut down project-hymn.org. And multiple releases of iTunes since then have done nothing to stop these files from playing - which it cannot do because they are now identical to files that you rip from CD yourself with AAC!!

      If Apple could or would do anything about Hymn, they would have done it by now.

      Since sales on ITMS have kept going up, no-one really cares if you can break the DRM or not.

      I'm not sure if Hymn still does it, but it used to even keep the ID of the owner in the file to make it impractical to share on P2P networks (as it could easily be traced back to the owner). I thougt that was a nice touch to show it really was not meant for piracy.

      I use Hymn myself, no to crack my master files but to break them so I can share them at work. The annoying thing about iTunes sharing is that if another user is not authorized to play a song it halts and brings up a dialogue, making true random play over another users library impractical. Once a co-worker and I even went so far as to authorize each others computer to play our music so that we could listen to the libraries of the other.

      I don't feel like using DRM cracks for this use is at all like P2P, since it's just streaming the song and not transferring it - plus lots of people discover music they might not have otherwise and it helps those artists out (which I feel P2P does as well, but it's a different and much greyer case).
      • Actually itunes 4.7 breaks hymned files.
      • by mrchaotica (681592) on Friday January 28, 2005 @08:28PM (#11509959)

        When Hymn first came out (under a different name) they released iTunes 4.6 almost right away which would not see files that the old Hymn had converted - by recognizing one aspect of the converted files that was particular to Hymn generated files.

        Hymn released a fix in short order

        Yeah, it was really annoying that Apple did that -- the entire reason for that uniqueness was to discourage copyright infringement by putting up a big red flag saying "this song was came from ITMS." Combined with the fact that it (still, hopefully) leaves the Apple user ID the hope was that Apple would sue copyright infringers (like the RIAA, only with an accurate way to tell who's infringing). Instead, Apple forced them to remove the feature, which was stupid because it was in Apple's own best interests to have it there in the first place!

        I wouldn't call it a "fix;" I would call it a "regrettably necessary workaround of Apple's stupidity."

        I don't feel like using DRM cracks for this use is at all like P2P, since it's just streaming the song and not transferring it...

        Just FYI, there are several programs (for example, Leechster) that allow people to download from iTunes shares instead of just stream. It's still not in the same league as Kazaa, since you have to be in close physical (or logical, in the case of VPNs) proximity to use it, though.

      • And multiple releases of iTunes since then have done nothing to stop these files from playing - which it cannot do because they are now identical to files that you rip from CD yourself with AAC!!

        Uh dude 3/4 of the article was about why that is not true at all. Two reasons were given. First, Ipod and Itunes memorizes what songs were bought from the music store. If it sees that song with out the DRM it wont play. Amusingly it will play on any machine that did not purchase that song, it just wont play o

  • You know... (Score:5, Funny)

    by FireballX301 (766274) on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:32PM (#11509523) Journal
    At this point, I've decided to get out of the game. No IRC-crawling, no Kazaa, no DRM-breaking.

    It's much easier to use the five-finger discount.
  • I love this shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lisandro (799651) on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:35PM (#11509546)
    I hope stuff like this teaches companies no one wins with DRM. Not themselves, as they're made look incompetent when DRM is cracked ("Protected CDs" rippeable pressing CTRL?), and certainly not their customers.

    If it's digital, and the end user can see / hear it, it can be copied. Perfectly. Deal with it, and make it interesting to buy instead of pirating.
    • Re:I love this shit (Score:2, Informative)

      by Simon (S2) (600188)

      "Protected CDs" rippeable pressing CTRL



      That was shift.
    • Re:I love this shit (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:38PM (#11509578)
      "When we first went to talk to these record companies -- you know, it was a while ago. It took us 18 months. And at first we said: None of this technology that you're talking about's gonna work. We have Ph.D.'s here, that know the stuff cold, and we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content."
      -- STEVE JOBS
    • by jxyama (821091)
      i see your point to a degree, but it's also a fact that no matter how good the product is, no matter how low the price is, no matter how compelling the offerings are, some, non-negligible amount of people will "pirate," and think nothing of gaining personal enjoyment (or worse, profit) at the expense of others, including creators, right holders, distributors and above all, respecting/paying consumers.

      i don't know the proper way to deal with it. but i can see why DRM is being used. i don't think it's as bl

      • by Lisandro (799651) on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:49PM (#11509667)
        Given. So why bother a paying user if your product is going to be pirated anyway? It's a battle you can't win; you might as well accept it as a price of doing buisness. I've been saying this for games aswell, where "no-cd" patches are simply necessary in order to play the game without it becoming an annoyance.
        You just can't keep digital media from being pirated. It's as simple as that. Try a different aproach.

        For example, i like buying CDs. I like having a nice, pressed, shiny CD with a good looking booklet. I like buying books, and i like buying DVDs.
        I also download a lot, even though i usually end up buying what i really like. I would buy a lot more, but the thing is, music/dvds and even books are still way too expensive. Why not lowering the price, knowing that you'll still make a profit? (no, i don't beleive $20 for a CD is reasonable)
        • by shark72 (702619) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @03:08AM (#11511968)

          "So why bother a paying user if your product is going to be pirated anyway? It's a battle you can't win; you might as well accept it as a price of doing buisness."

          Accepting it is not the same as not taking measures to reduce it. Ask any retailer; they'll tell you that there's always going to be a certain amount of shoplifters, but rather than simply give up trying to fight it, retailers put anti-shoplifting measures into place. These, too, can bother paying users, but retailers have evidently done careful analysis to understand that it's worth the tradeoff. Case in point: Costco (or whatever your local club store is) has chosen the route of inspecting your reciept on the way out, rather than just simply giving up and "accepting" shoplifting. Perhaps Slashdot users know better, but I doubt it. It's a complex situation that cannot be resolved with simple bromides such as "piracy will happen, so give up on DRM."

          "I also download a lot, even though i usually end up buying what i really like. I would buy a lot more, but the thing is, music/dvds and even books are still way too expensive. Why not lowering the price, knowing that you'll still make a profit? (no, i don't beleive $20 for a CD is reasonable)."

          Huh? CDs haven't been $20 in years, and prices have been falling rapidly. The average price of a new CD dropped 4% last year [bandradio.com], to $12.95. The record companies are way ahead of you on this one.

          I've lost you on the "knowing you'll still make a profit" part, though. The record industry gets by with pretty shitty margins in general, and many CDs lose money.

    • In support of and in contrast to your point: Half-Life 2. It sold like mad. If people believe in a product it will succeed. However, it also had DRM. I'd say it worked for them, too.
      • Re:I love this shit (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Lisandro (799651) on Friday January 28, 2005 @08:30PM (#11509983)
        Half-Life 2 sold like crazy because it was probably the most overhyped game in recent times. It also was a good game to boot, but i know quite a few people who didn't buy it because of their hatred of Steam. And i'm one of them.

        It was pirated the same; in fact, there was a NO-STEAM a day after release. So you could argue it was less of a hassle for pirates to play it than it was for some users from what i've read :)
    • "If it's digital, and the end user can see / hear it, it can be copied. Perfectly."

      The act of stripping the DRM puts the user in a different legal position. I think the industry's threshold is the point where users must go to significant lengths to get around it. For projection that, for example, is based on a CD that autolaunches DRM software, users can reasonably argue that they didn't even realize there was protection (they use Mac or Linux, or have autolaunch turned off or something).

      I don't think you
  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:35PM (#11509551) Homepage Journal
    'If you encrypt it, they will come...'
  • Why crack it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sheetrock (152993) on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:37PM (#11509569) Homepage Journal
    If you didn't want DRM, you'd buy the CD. It seems like a lot of hassle to set up an account, buy the music, download the music, crack the music, then convert the music to get to the same end result.

    Admittedly, without the thrill of "fighting the man", but in this case "the man" is giving you virtually everything you asked for (inexpensive music you can try before you buy with the ability to download exactly what you want and make mix CDs, which you could then rip as well without needing this tool.) Now Apple is going to have to crack down again.

    What does this win us? The music industry can point to this as another example of why the restrictions need to be in the hardware and the hardware manufacturers are already in their pocket as far as the next generation of motherboards are concerned. Thanks to the pirates, those of us who buy the stuff again have to pay with further restrictions.

    • Actually DRM is steadily becoming more common on CD's today as well, so your alternative isn't truly anymore viable than just downloading it and removing the DRM components. At least downloading it you get to choose what songs you want, rather than buying a cd with two good songs and sixteen crap ones.
    • Re:Why crack it? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573) * on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:41PM (#11509605) Homepage
      If you didn't want DRM, you'd buy the CD. It seems like a lot of hassle to set up an account, buy the music, download the music, crack the music, then convert the music to get to the same end result.

      I wasn't aware you were able to get custom made mix CDs at stores with tracks numbering in the 100s of thousands. Cool.

      Obviously iTunes is popular because some people don't like to spend $13+ on an entire album when they only want one song. They want to make their own mixes and still not have DRM on them I guess.
      • once you make your mix CD and burn it as an audio CD all DRM is gone. if you give that mix to your friend Todd and he rips it to his machine (Mac/M$?Linux/bla) there will be no DRM on it anyway.

        iTunes has some limit to the number of burns a playlist can have...... but you can either change the playlist by mixing around one song, or take one burnt CD and just use disc copy on that "master" cd.
    • Exactly. Have the posts on here rip on the RIAA, saying they must change their distribution system or die, that they must give the users access to cheaply downloadable content.

      Then iTunes comes along, and now we have access to cheap, downloadable content. Has that stopped (or even impacted) file sharing in any significant way? Has that stopped people from STILL complaining?

      If this is the standard reaction -- if someone comes up with something, we'll crack it and still figure out a way to get it for fre
      • > Then iTunes comes along, and now we have access to
        > cheap, downloadable content. Has that stopped (or
        > even impacted) file sharing in any significant
        > way? Has that stopped people from STILL
        > complaining?

        I think what happened is that the RIAA made such a fuss about prosecuting "pirates", nailing 12yo kids and grandmothers in the process, that they've built up a huge amount of bad feeling towards them. Worse, while doing that, the RIAA member companies (who exist to *market* product in a f
        • Unfortunately, you are probably right. Which means that if the "pirates" (for lack of a better word) are never going to stop, then the RIAA, MPAA and other organizations aren't going to either.

          Personally, if I were offering tunes for a buck, and a bunch of folks said even if it were a penny they wouldn't pay, just out of spite, I would not only not lower my prices to a penny, but I would double, triple, or even quadruple (or whatever-tuple) my efforts to take legal action against everyone.

          I hope that doe
          • Re:Why crack it? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Dragoon412 (648209) on Friday January 28, 2005 @08:28PM (#11509958)
            But your implication is that the RIAA is actually asking what people would want to pay for music. Apparently they aren't.

            These are people who make a business running artists into the ground. The cartel has effectively monopolized the music industry, shooting themselves in the foot in the process.

            Think about it: what's the RIAA's big justification for the high cost of CDs and the reason they financially destroy so many artists? They claim they have to take a big risk on artists, as it's expensive to produce, tour, promote, etc.

            Who said rockstars need to have their every whim catered to? Who drove the cost of music videos through the roof? Who demands artists pay $20,000/hour for some "big name" producer to hit a few buttons in Pro Tools? Who demands artists pay thousands an hour for studio time? Who created this bloated, overinflated, cookie cutter music market where it's ridiculously expensive to get exposure? Who helped create the radio station conglomerates like Clear Channel and Infinity? Who created this situation where it's prohibitively difficult for non-affiliated artists to get more than small, local exposure?

            The whole point, is the industry is solely responsible for this situation they're in. They flat-out lie in press releases. They slander their own customers, and treat them like criminals. They charge too much for a lackluster service, and now we're supposed to feel sorry for them? When's the last time the industry showed any good will towards its customers?

            No, the RIAA isn't listening; they're oblivious and out of touch. No one wants DRM. Yet they insist on it. We want more reasonably priced music, but they won't give that to us, either. Yet they've created an environment where it's exceedingly difficult to be exposed to music that isn't being actively pimped by them! And now we're supposed to bend over and take it in the ass while they use one law to make an end-run around another and screw us out of our rights?

            [b]Fuck them and the horse they rode in on[b/].

            The truly stupid thing about this is that iTunes already provides a mechanism for doing what JHymn does - burn a CD, re-rip it. Problem solved. All JHymn does is streamline the process a bit.
            • Re:Why crack it? (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Don Negro (1069)
              Who demands artists pay $20,000/hour for some "big name" producer to hit a few buttons in Pro Tools?

              Dude, it's the grossly underpaid engineers who hit the buttons on Pro Tools.

              The "big name" producers usually sit on the couch and go "I don't know, what do you think."*

              *Yes, there are exceptions, but not many.
            • Re:Why crack it? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by fingusernames (695699) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @01:08AM (#11511588) Homepage
              Who said rockstars need to have their every whim catered to? Who drove the cost of music videos through the roof? Who demands artists pay $20,000/hour for some "big name" producer to hit a few buttons in Pro Tools? Who demands artists pay thousands an hour for studio time? Who created this bloated, overinflated, cookie cutter music market where it's ridiculously expensive to get exposure? Who helped create the radio station conglomerates like Clear Channel and Infinity? Who created this situation where it's prohibitively difficult for non-affiliated artists to get more than small, local exposure?

              Uh, the people who paid, still pay, and continue to pay for it? Big-evil-corporations exist because people pay them money. Nobody needs music on CDs/records/tapes, or encoded in mp3s. Nobody has a right to it. The only rights involved are those of the creator and of those to whom he delegates his rights.

              Nobody forces an artist to sign a contract with a big label. They do it of their own free will, generally because of greed. They aren't content with having their "real" jobs, playing at local venues when they aren't working to pay rent, perhaps growing popular through word of mouth. They want to "hit it big" and think they need the power of an agent/label/distributor/so-on. Such is their right.

              That a work of art should have protection against copying was an obvious and fundamental enough concept that our ancestors enshrined it in the Constitution of the United States as an explicit obligation of the Congress to enforce, over two hundred years ago, when music was sold via lyric sheet. The mental product of your fellow man has value, and is worthy of legal protection. Regarding DRM, finding some clever way to open a vault and remove the gold within makes it no less theft. Finding clever ways around DRM to extract the protected work within makes the act no less theft.

              Nobody has the right to music, or software, cable TV or for that matter health care. Something that requires the labor of another is not a right. To believe otherwise is to believe that others must labor uncompensated (see: slavery) for oh-so-special you. If you don't like the price being charged, if you don't like the terms of the sale (usage restrictions), don't buy it, and don't steal it. Something that is worth stealing is worth protecting. You know that, they know that.

              It's very simple. If enough people cut restricted/expensive music out of their lives entirely, the market will adapt.

              Larry
      • If someone wanted to start something, (i.e. cheap, downloadable content), cut out the middle men (maybe ./ could do this too :) - it couldn't happen. Not with the major labels, anyway. The major labels won't allow you to offer cheap, downloadable content that isn't DRM. It just won't happen.

        iTunes doesn't give you everything - although it is a workable format. If you could set the price of the tracks lower, say 50 cents or whatever, and, as an artist, cut a deal with iTunes yourself - this would be much cl
      • Re:Why crack it? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by laughingcoyote (762272) <barghesthowlNO@SPAMexcite.com> on Friday January 28, 2005 @08:44PM (#11510096) Journal

        No per-track at all. A flat-rate or collective license model would work. The collective-license model would work best, since in that case, they could simply allow P2P to operate legally. The users would, in that case, absorb the costs of bandwidth, distribution, and manufacturing of the CD's if desired. All the labels would have to do is sit back and collect the money.

        Of course, given that, they could no longer -control- distribution. Might that be the reason for the resistance to something which in every other way is pure profit for them?

        However, a flat-rate model would also work. And I'm not talking "RealRhapsody"-I'm talking a per-month flatrate for downloadable, burnable, DRM-free content, with EVERYTHING available, not just whatever few labels they can get to sign on, in (within reason) a format of choice-perhaps choices between .mp3, .flac, .ogg, and a raw uncompressed format.

        When they offer that (provided the fee isn't astronomical), I'll have my credit card ready. Until then, I'll keep right on downloading. And by the way, guys-DRM is trivial to break.

    • Admittedly, without the thrill of "fighting the man", but in this case "the man" is giving you virtually everything you asked for... (emphasis mine)

      This is exactly the problem. The customer is the one (potentially) paying the company money-- if they want customer support, they would provide what customers want, not "virtually" what they want. That intentionally-included lack of desired functionality is the whole concern.

    • If you didn't want DRM, you'd buy the CD.

      What CD are you talking about? The one with half a dozen obscure blues songs and a bit of Humphery Littleton? Oh, look! It doesn't exist.

      You dickhead, the point of iTunes is the ability to buy single tracks. If I wanted whole CDs worth I'd buy them, since they're cheaper and higher quality. Only a retard would buy entire albums on iTunes, DRM or not.

      What does this win us?

      It wins us nothing, it just stops us losing. You know: losing the rights that we have to li

    • Re:Why crack it? (Score:2, Informative)

      The biggest draw of Itunes is that is is instant gratifaction. You hear a clip, you want the album, you get it NOW!

      No driving to the store, hunting through overpriced bins, etc... And after you purchase that music, and saved it to your fileserver, you want to be able to listen to it wherever, whenever. So rip the DRM out of it and play it on your MP3 player, your Linux box, your toster, whatever.

      Plus, My g/f just bought an album off of ITunes for $10. Some obscure band that she just had to have a c

    • Why crack it? Why not just buy the CD and rip it?

      1 - Because the CD probably has DRM on it too, these days.

      2 - Because even if you get a non-DRMed CD, eventually, someday, downloaded music may become the normal way to buy music, and CDs will go the way of the vinyl LP.

      Either way, you're going to need a way to get rid of the DRM so that you can listen to your own music as you see fit.
      • > 1 - Because the CD probably has DRM on it too, these days.

        Really? Because you know most CDs don't have DRM, right? I'm not disagreeing with you but exaggeration doesn't build your case.
    • Wasn't that stardate 1173?

      HAND
    • Re:Why crack it? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bogie (31020) on Friday January 28, 2005 @08:10PM (#11509836) Journal
      " If you didn't want DRM, you'd buy the CD. It seems like a lot of hassle to set up an account, buy the music, download the music, crack the music, then convert the music to get to the same end result."

      Why should I buy an entire CD when I can buy the two or three songs I want via a brillant interface that's better than any other online music service? And its not a hassle. One-time setup of account, 99c a song and a quick run of Jhymn is hardly a hassle.

      "but in this case "the man" is giving you virtually everything you asked for (inexpensive music you can try before you buy with the ability to download exactly what you want and make mix CDs, which you could then rip as well without needing this tool.) "

      So circumventing Apple's DRM one way is okay but another way isn't? Wow, great logic. Let me ask, if I record to a tape from my audio out of a DRM file is that illegal as well? If the end result is the same what's the difference? Who is being harmed when the end result in a unencrypted file in EVERY SINGLE CASE. What because your taking the extra step of going DRM-CD-RIP and someone else goes DRM-RIP your method is somehow better for Apple? In what way? Why are you even suggesting Burning and Ripping? Are you one of those people who upload all of your Itunes music to P2P? Oh no wait, that's what you Apple defenders are constantly accusing us paying customers of doing.

      "What does this win us? The music industry can point to this as another example of why the restrictions need to be in the hardware and the hardware manufacturers are already in their pocket as far as the next generation of motherboards are concerned"

      Or they could point to the built in loophole of ripping from CD which rendered Apples DRM useless from day one.

      "Thanks to the pirates,"

      Excuse me? Pirates? Who? The people who PAID APPLE for each and every song and use a program which ONLY works if your the one who purchased the music in the first place? Yea those bastards!

      The Pirates are on P2P sharing songs they never bought. The people using this tool aren't pirates. Get it straight already. And get over your holier than thou, how you dare use a product in a way other then intended attitude. You've benefitted more from reverse engineering and people using products in ways not intended then you could possibly imagine.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    for iTunes song files laden, or 'crippled' as some say, to prevent filesharing.

    or crippled files to prevent me from doing whatever I want with the files I BOUGHT, thankyouverymuch. I don't share, I don't pirate, but I demand total freedom when it comes to changing from one's format to another.
  • I just used JHymn (Score:3, Informative)

    by adamgee (700745) on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:44PM (#11509623)
    To churn through 10 GB of music I had either purchased through iTunes, or ripped myself using AAC (drinking the koolaid made me use AAC over MP3). All legally obtained. Why? TiVo desktop cannot play AAC/m4p files, only MP3. So I either spring $200+ for and airport card and airport express to stream my music to the stereo, or convert it to something more useable. Worked like a charm. I wouldn't have to do it if Apple/TiVo would get it together and let me use my music on the gear I already own.
    • This is EXACTLY why I want to use it too. I have just got a new mobile phone that does AAC and I want to play the tunes I bought off ITMS but I don't want the hassle of having two sets of music, one DRM free and the other not for my iPod.
    • Along with what everyone else has said, you don't need an Airport card to use the Airport Express. It plugs into your netwirk and works out of the box. Well, mine did.
  • What have been the recent legal actions, if any, that Apple has tried to take against the hymn project?

    FP: Things have been quiet. I'm thinking that hymn has figured less into Apple's latest actions than their efforts against Real's Harmony project, with hymn and its derivatives simply being regarded as collateral damage.

    It's not quiet any more. Not once it hits Slashdot!

    • Hymn has been on Slashdot before. My theory is Apple doesn't care all that much. Supposedly, they didn't want DRM in the first place, and they fought the RIAA over it for a while, and finally came to the present compromise (the iTMS DRM is not as restrictive as the RIAA wanted, but more restrictive than Apple wanted).

      Now, that's all rumor, so who knows. But if I had to guess, i'd say Apple doesn't care very much about their customers cracking the DRM. Other companies trying to mimic the DRM for use on

  • by Queer Boy (451309) <`moc.cam' `ta' `67.nogard'> on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:58PM (#11509747)
    FairPlay limits filesharing, it doesn't prevent it. Computers just have to be on a local network and they can listen to all your music whenever you want. I forget how many as Apple has INCREASED the number of people you can share with since they came out with FairPlay.

    You can also burn any iTunes track to CD. Only limit is you can only burn 5 copies of a playlist before you have to change the songs in the playlist. Which means if you or your friend spring for the cost of a CD, you can share any song you like, as many times as you like, with whomever you like, just like other physical media.

    I think that's a super middle-ground. Steve Jobs has discussed MANY times that DRM will be cracked, but FairPlay is pretty good. Apple puts a sticker on all their iPods that says, "Please don't steal music." Please point me to a better approach to DRM or filesharing scheme. Yes, DRM sucks, but it's not going anywhere if you want to use downloaded RIAA music.

    • For that matter, FairPlay does not prevent file sharing at all. You're free to do whatever you want with the DRMed file, including posting it on Kazaa and mailing it to all your friends. What it limits is *playing back* the file, which is the right you are paying to obtain.

      "Computers just have to be on a local network and they can listen to all your music whenever you want" is not quite accurate. A computer must be authorized under the owning account to stream a protected AAC, and it can only be authoriz
  • by augustz (18082) on Friday January 28, 2005 @07:59PM (#11509757) Homepage
    I love folks complaining about "crippled" iTunes songs.

    They forget that Apple has SET THE STANDARD for sensible DRM that is reasonable for the consumer.

    I've been around a long time, and have seen plenty of stupid stuff. Divx (in the DVD space) moved things back, lawsuits and claims about the mp3 format itself, a joke.

    But I've also got a sense of history. Before apple came along legal online music was GHASTLY.

    You think iTunes is "laden" and "crippled" with DRM? People have forgotten that before apple came along there was a fragmented music space with DRM that meant you couldn't move songs between computers, burn them to CD's, and stores run by companies that were no fun to do business with. Subs, if you canceled, your music vanished.

    For most folks, fairplay is actually fair. Most people don't end up playing on more then five computers. Unlimited burns of a song, and seven burns of a specific CD are reasonably fair. The authorization process isn't terribly painful.

    Remember, the RIAA used to claim on their dumb soundbyting site that making a tape copy of a CD was copyright infringment. And they were probably right, it was.

    The one big issues with iTunes are lack of open source support (tricky, but they should do better here) and the lock-in to iPods as the portable music player for the service. The issue is that software needs to provide the DRM. Luckily for apple they've got a reasonable ipod product. This lockin will have to evolve though of course, open source and linux are not supported so far.

    But from a DRM perspective, they really moved the industry forward. If the media companies had their way we'd be stuck with Sony's ATRAC format.

    So, complaints and props to apple.
    • by sulli (195030) * on Friday January 28, 2005 @08:14PM (#11509859) Journal
      With Apple DRM, Apple can take away your use privileges whenever it feels like it. Sure they're being "reasonable" now, but soon enough they will tighten the noose, just like TiVo is doing with ads over fast forward and blocking you from saving the Sopranos.

      If you give up control, you get what you deserve.

      • With Apple DRM, Apple can take away your use privileges whenever it feels like it. Sure they're being "reasonable" now, but soon enough they will tighten the noose, just like TiVo is doing with ads over fast forward and blocking you from saving the Sopranos.

        If you give up control, you get what you deserve.

        Which I also believe in. I believing in keeping control... perhaps the JHymn creators do as well. However, ranting about how Fairplay is just like all the other DRM is counterproductive. I believe, cur

      • With Apple DRM, Apple can take away your use privileges whenever it feels like it.

        Really? So why was it to make the iTunes sharing programs that worked in version 4.0 stop working, I had to download and install 4.0.1? Why is it to lower the number of burns of a single playlist from 10 to 7, and increase the number of shared computers from 3 to 5, I had to install a newer version of iTunes (4.5).

        If Apple is truely in control of everything as you say they are they should be able to make DRM changes remote

    • Yeah, itunes DRM isn't so bad. Especially if you have an ipod. However with the advent of mp3 cd/ tivo remote players, I want my play my purchased itunes on my mp3 cds with my ripped mp3s.

      I don't complain about it, I just convert them to 256+kbps mp3. Its a pain in the patukas. Its not that bad sounding (although I keep the purchased songs around).

      I understand apple couldn't sell without the DRM, so I stopped complaining about it.

    • Before apple came along legal online music was GHASTLY.

      Well yeah. The RIAA cartel abused it's monopoly power to suppress any legal download market at all for what, half a decade? They imposed a market vacuum. Hell, they created the P2P explosion. Huge market demand, and a conspiracy to create a market vacuum. And markets abhorr a vacuum just as much as nature. Of course a gray/black market exploded to fill that artificial vacuum.

      And after years of countless companies dying to serve the online market, the
  • by nvrrobx (71970) on Friday January 28, 2005 @08:00PM (#11509770) Homepage
    I use this to remove the DRM from my legally purchased iTMS files so I can play them on my Phatbox in my car and on my Media Center PC. I'm not distributing them to friends, I'm just doing what I would have otherwise done by burning to CD then ripping back to HD.

    Probably still illegal nonetheless, but I really don't feel very 37331 when I do it.
  • If the media companies are planning their entire future bizmodels on DRM, just a lamebrained extension of their old "value through scarcity" model, their entire industry will go up like a burning house of cards. Often. Whenever a single person publishes a crack tool like this, hundreds of man-years of DRM engineering, negotiation and marketing go up in smoke. 10 years into the game, and these media companies don't have an inkling of the network effect, and how it has already changed their world completely.
  • by asv108 (141455) <alexNO@SPAMphataudio.org> on Friday January 28, 2005 @08:42PM (#11510081) Homepage Journal
    I love reading posts from Apple fanboys who fail to see the problem with a DRM standard that locks playback to portable devices that our produced by the same company that distributes the music. Apple's "sensible" DRM locks playback to software and hardware made by Apple computer. Sure, you can permit playback on multiple iTunes installations, but that does not free your music playback from the products of ONE company.

    Now if Apple licensed Fairplay playback to device manufactures and software developers, that might change people's opinion but as it stands now, Apple computer has a monopoly of fairplay enabled music playback. I would suggest that Apple open Fairplay, but as we all know, the concept of DRM is simply PKI turned upside down. Its a game of digital hide and seek or "security by obscurity," so it is simply not possible to open source any software based DRM scheme.

    Lets look at this situation from another angle, if Microsoft was the leading online music retailer and used a format that could only be played back on Microsoft hardware and software products, would people be defending them? The hypocrisy and denial of Apple fanboys on /. is so blatant, its not even amusing anymore.

    • This is just silly. It's like getting mad at Blockbuster because they don't license every other video rental place in town to use the Blockbuster retail outlets to sell their own movies.

      Your argument would almost even make sense if iPod only played music purchased through Apple's iTunes music store. But, the fact is, you can play whatever you want on the hardware (Sorry, Ogg has its place and purposes, but really isn't all that relevant for consumer music playback).

      Apple doesn't own the music, they own th
  • ...a DRM removal application for iTunes song files laden, or 'crippled' as some say,...

    "Crippled" is when something isn't working the way it was intended. Songs from the iTunes Music store work the way they are supposed to. If you don't want DRM laden music, don't buy it.
    • intended by whom? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) *
      The thing is, the word "intended" means very different things to the user downloading the songs than it does to the people selling them.

      You can't say "works as intended" to a user of the songs, because their intent is different than the DRM designers. DRM is never built to help the customer in any way, only to restrict end-user rights.

  • Book on Watermarking (Score:5, Informative)

    by Midnight Warrior (32619) on Friday January 28, 2005 @10:10PM (#11510657) Homepage

    FutureProof said that Apple is putting watermarking in their music and they are looking for the lack of that watermark in future versions of iTunes (both to stop competitors and most likely identify those who would rip from iTunes and resell it illegally). Nothing has stated that the watermark is an Apple-wide watermark (i.e. distributed to all users) or if it is a per user watermark added on top of the Apple watermark (double water-marked).

    Unless this makes your head swim, there is an excellent book that most folks with a bachelor's degree in some field which involved math should be able to read and understand: Information Hiding Techniques - Techniques for Steganography and Digital Watermarking (ISBN 1-580-53035-4), by Katzenbeisse. This and some other related books can been seen at forensics.nl [forensics.nl].

    Note: I am not affiliated with any of these publishers or authors, but merely read through the above mentioned book and found it appropriate for the topic.

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