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Buying DRM-Free Songs From the ITMS 894

mirko writes "Jon Johansen ("DVD Jon") has published a small program which allows the acquisition of DRM-free file from Apple's iTunes Music Store. He explains that his program works by bypassing iTunes which adds the DRM itself at the end of the transfer. His program, pymusique, is Windows-only compliant but it'd be easy to port it to other platforms."
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Buying DRM-Free Songs From the ITMS

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  • More Details (Score:5, Informative)

    by OctaneZ ( 73357 ) <> on Friday March 18, 2005 @09:59AM (#11974656) Journal
    The site [] is hammered, the Coral Cache [] is working fine though.

    Links for the lazy:
    Source Code: pymusique-0.3.tar.gz []
    Debian Package: pymusique_0.3-1_i386.deb []
    Windows: pymusique-setup.exe []
  • by bLanark ( 123342 ) * on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:00AM (#11974663)
    Wouldn't it be ironic if iTunes downloads increased after this? I'm now tempted to join and buy music through them, because now[1] I can do what I want with it once I've bought it.

    [1] Until iTunes closes this loophole
    • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:01AM (#11974672) Homepage
      I'm now tempted to join and buy music through them, because now[1] I can do what I want with it once I've bought it

      You could do what you wanted before, with Hymn.

      • by SomeoneGotMyNick ( 200685 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:52AM (#11975184) Journal
        A user comment in TFA mentions a potential legal difference.

        PyMusique captures the paid for track before the DRM gets put on.

        Hymn strips off the DRM after the track is downloaded.

        Hymn appears to violate the DMCA to the letter of the law because the DRM is in place at the time Hymn performs it's functions.

        PyMistique most likely only violates the TOS because the user isn't using the iTunes application, the client component that puts the DRM on the downloaded file. The file is simply downloaded as iTunes sends it (without DRM).

        Either way, the user would have paid for the song. They are simply making a choice to maintain their "fair use" rights.

        • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @11:38AM (#11975678)

          Hymn appears to violate the DMCA to the letter of the law because the DRM is in place at the time Hymn performs it's functions.

          I don't think this is actually true. Hymn does not break any encryption, it merely uses your legally obtained encryption keys to remove the DRM. This is a very fine point, but based upon my reading of portions of the DMCA, Hymn seems to be in the clear if you can explain it properly to a jury.

        • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @01:08PM (#11976790) Homepage
          An excellent point, and one I would like to emphasize. Ok, lets assume this *is* in fact a violation of the iTunes terms of Service. Well, so what? What are the consequences for choosing to violate the Terms of Service?

          I've read those Terms of Service, and unless I am mistaken the only consequence is that Apple may, if they choose to do so, decline the sale or cancel your service. Period. If I missed something then I welcome anyone to jump in and cite the text I overlooked or missunderstood.

          If I sign a contract saying that I will have your house painted by the end of the week or I owe you $1000 in damages. well... I'm perfectly free to choose not to paint your house if I have no objection to the alternative of paying you $1000. Maybe I just won the lottery and I want to fly to Hawaii this weekend. Ok, here's your $1000 in damages goodbye and have a nice life. All perfectly legal.

    • by goldcd ( 587052 ) * on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:22AM (#11974878) Homepage
      I'm an iPod owner, who has avoided iTunes since launch due to my hatred of DRM. Tonight, I shall buy my first albums from them.
      I'm hoping that when they dissect the log files from iTunes over the next few days they'll see an awful lot of non-iTunes client downloads. Whilst Apple can't condone this, it would be nice if they could go to the record labels and say without DRM we sold x many hundre thousand more tracks.
      An other interesting point is this. The argument for DRM is that without it we'll all start copying music amongst ourselves. Surely if this was a case, with Apple leaking de-DRM'd music into the world, P2P and other piracy should immediately ramp up now (and I suspect it won't).
      • by tdemark ( 512406 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:43AM (#11975094) Homepage
        Whilst Apple can't condone this, it would be nice if they could go to the record labels and say without DRM we sold x many hundre thousand more tracks.

        If you believe that argument is valid, then you should have no trouble with the much more likely corollary:

        Apple goes to the the labels and says "The site sold X songs without DRM. This represents less than .01% of total sales. Almost all consumers appear to be happy with the current arrangement. "

        - Tony
    • by mecro ( 597901 )
      You could do this before. The simple way to defeat the apple DRM is to burn your songs onto a Virtual Drive (daemon tools) or onto a real CD, then rerip them to a high quality mp3. With iTunes and a decent drive, it takes less than 5 minutes, and is completely DRM free.
  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:01AM (#11974669) Homepage
    This guy never stops, does he? Long may you run, DVDjon. I salute you.
  • by MadBiologist ( 657155 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:02AM (#11974679)
    Enough with the iTunes... can't this guy hack Napster or Windows Media encryption?

    • No, that would take real talent. :) The iTunes protection is weak and has been since the beginning. It's more like a deterrent than anything, just to keep honest people honest.

      When you consider that the thing DVD Jon is best known for wasn't even his own work, it's not surprising that he keeps pecking at the low man on the DRM totem pole.

  • I love ITS but ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by SamSeaborn ( 724276 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:02AM (#11974682)
    I love ITS and the whole iTunes thing, but it does bug me that I can't easily make a CD of mp3 files that I can play in an mp3-compliant CD player (like in a car).

    I'm using the songs legally, but to do what I want I have to burn the 99-cent songs to an audio-CD, then rip them back into iTunes as mp3s, *then* copy the mp3s to the CD.


    • that's because Apple wants you to buy an iPod for your non-cd digital music, not your mp3cd player
      (granted... i drank the kool-aid and am saving up for an iPod now, but still............)
    • I agree with this post. Mp3 seems to be the only format supported everywhere. I've bought and won over 100 songs from itms.

      My Tivo allows easy playing of all the songs in my itunes collection which is cool .EXCEPT the songs I've bought off of Itunes music store.

      My car plays mp3 Cds. This is cool. Except it can't play the songs I bought from the Itunes music store.

      Yes I know I can burn them too plain music CD. But in the car i tend to like to have one CD filled with songs and just leave it in there.

    • Why burn the files to a disc when you can just write it to a file? A lot of cd burning software comes with an option to 'burn' to an ISO (in Nero if you select 'virtual image recorder' as the burner).
    • Moot. (Score:4, Informative)

      by baudilus ( 665036 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @11:12AM (#11975408)
      FYI - In the iTunes burning options, you have a choice of burning a Music CD, a Data CD, or an mp3 CD.

      Just thought you should know.
      • Re:Moot. (Score:3, Informative)

        by graikor ( 127470 )
        If you'd actually used the CD Burning engine of iTunes, you'd be aware that the mp3 CD option will only burn tracks that are already in mp3 format. Any purchased tunes (m4p) or tunes you've ripped in AAC format (m4a) will not appear on an iTunes mp3 CD, despite the fact they might be in the playlist you are burning - it might make sense to convert them, but iTunes will not do any temporary data conversion for this purpose*.

        The data CD option will allow m4a tracks to be included, but since they are in AAC f
  • by ilithiiri ( 836229 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:02AM (#11974683) Journal
    from The Register: iTunes pyMusique [].
  • Wahoo! (Score:3, Funny)

    by sandstorming ( 850026 ) <johnsee@[ ] ['san' in gap]> on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:02AM (#11974684)
    Now I can use my Backsteet Boys and Hanson tracks as I please!
  • by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:03AM (#11974689)
    I'm afraid that the long history of people breaking DRM controls (especially by this person []) can only lead to one logical conclusion...

    Content owners must sue every single person in the world. The RIAA and Apple will likely start with for writing a story about it then move on to Slashdot for linking to a story about it and then round it out with everyone that read either of the stories or clicked on any of the links.

    I'm going to hire an attorney now.
  • Hymn? (Score:5, Informative)

    by sesshomaru ( 173381 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:06AM (#11974714) Journal
    I used Hymn [] to remove DRM from some songs so I could move them to an older model Creative MP3 player. It seemed to work fine for me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:10AM (#11974752)
    So, violating GPL by copying stuff without complying with the license is bad and wrong.


    Buying songs from iTunes without complying with the ToS is big and clever because music must be free?
    • by Gubbe ( 705219 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @11:02AM (#11975301)
      In a word: Yes.

      In more words: The GPL promotes freedom. It encourages to copy, develop further and distribute those developments, thus advancing culture and public good in the process. It restricts only the ability to take someone else's work and lock it up for private gain.

      DRM does the opposite. It discourages sharing and free enjoyment of culture, restricting our ability to enjoy what we bought in order to control and subjugate us.

      Sure, both can be simplified to mere license issues, but I honestly don't believe that it is hypocritical to show respect for GPL while at the same time disrespecting music industry ToS.

      It's all in the values and what people believe in. For some it's freedom, for others it's money and for you, it seems to be the need to squeeze everything down to black and white issues without thinking what lies behind people's actions and opinions.
    • Others have already pointed out how to resolve the perceived inconsistency.

      I'd like to add, though, that when you dig into the mechanisms you find that there is a legal inconsistency, and a moral inconsistency, at the root of the matter.

      The moral inconsistency is with regard to the copyright holder's (presumed) intent:

      In the case of music and other "content industry" files, the (presumed) intent of the copyright holder is to sell the material for money or other benefits.

      In the case of the GPL the (presu
  • by mytec ( 686565 ) * on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:11AM (#11974766) Journal

    I've been an iTMS user since its inception and I've yet to feel encumbered or feel a lack of freedom. I read the agreement and understand the restrictions. I agreed. Simply put to those who use this sort of software, why do you purchase from iTMS? You know, or should!!, the restrictions imposed.

    • I don't (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:13AM (#11974793)
      "Simply put to those who use this sort of software, why do you purchase from iTMS? "

      I don't purchase from iTMS. However, I would strongly consider it if it would let me listen the music I bought on my own equipment without file format conversion hassles.

  • Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldmanmtn ( 33675 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:13AM (#11974786)
    How could Apple do something this stupid?

    Whether you like it or not, DRM is the cornerstone of iTunes acceptance among the music industry. Without DRM, there is no way iTunes would even exist.

    The first rule of security is that the client is untrustworthy. For Apple to put all of the security of their DRM scheme on the client side is astoundingly dumb. I expected much better of them.

    • by acomj ( 20611 )
      Can you immagine trying to encrypt 1 millions songs a day? Its going to take some serious hardware. Noone knew that itunes was going to fly so I'm betting they tried to make it cheaper by having the client encrypt the songs.

      Apple seems to not care overly much about the DRM as long as most people are using it.
      • So encypt them all once and trans-crypt in the client.

        Securely identify the client as yours before you transmit.

        Not going to be uncrackable but would have been a lot harder to get round than this.
        • What exactly would the point be?

          Steve Jobs has stated as much that copy protection doesn't work, and that piracy is a social problem.

          Given that stance, making music easy and making music affordable seems to have worked. We already have Hymn, for example, showing us that music can be decrypted. What would the point of making the music more secure? You don't sell more music by making it more secure, you sell more music by making it easier to find, making it easier on the ears, or by making it cheaper.
      • From an Athlon XP 2500 running 'openssl speed aes':

        The 'numbers' are in 1000s of bytes per second processed.
        type 16 bytes 64 bytes 256 bytes 1024 bytes 8192 bytes
        aes-128 cbc 40374.59k 41316.13k 42083.38k 41993.47k 42237.07k
        aes-192 cbc 35109.10k 36010.80k 36434.73k 36583.09k 36474.95k
        aes-256 cbc 31374.07k 31896.19k 32164.51k 32317.72k 32333.49k

        At 4mb per song, my desktop machine has a raw encryption rate more than suitable for a million songs a day.
    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:59AM (#11975268) Homepage
      Well, what did you think, they encrypted all their music files once, and every user has a single unique key that will magically encrypt only the songs they've purchased? Or that they kept a separate encrypted copy of every song for every user? Or when the music starts downloading immediately (and quickly) did you think they were encrypting the 5 MB song on the fly for every download?

      Really, it's not that Apple's stupid. It's more likely that they never intended to make an utterly unbreakable system. As you mentioned yourself, the only reason Apple really cares about the DRM is that the music industry happy. In pretty much all of this copy protection for software/entertainment, there are three groups:

      1. the distributor, who wants the copy protection to be as restrictive and unbreakable as possible
      2. the user, who wants the copy protection to be as loose as possible, but will require at least that the copy protection is loose enough that it won't inhibit their fair use
      3. the hacker, who's going to break the copy protection no matter what.

      ...and this situation is no different. The distributor isn't going to get their unbreakable encryption. What the RIAA should really want the DRM to do is:

      • be loose enough that normal users won't feel an immense desire to break it
      • make sure that breaking it is enough of a PITA (or seemingly dangerous) so that the normal user won't bother.
    • by ThreeDayMonk ( 673466 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @11:43AM (#11975740) Homepage
      The simple reason is that, although you can personalise each DRM'ed download on the server, it's expensive to do so.

      I haven't researched Apple's solution; however, I have personal experience of implementing a Windows Media-based DRM solution in my previous job. (I don't agree with DRM, and won't purchase any DRM-protected media, but it was nonetheless an interesting assignment, and I discovered a lot about how it works.) With that in mind, here is my tentative analysis.

      Apple are probably using one of the edge-cache services like Akamai to reduce server load and bandwidth fees. In order for this to work, the data that each client downloads must be the same - otherwise, it can't be cached.

      Although it is possible, and even desirable from a security standpoint, to apply the DRM to each file as it is downloaded, the increased server load and bandwidth probably makes this economically and logistically unviable.

      It may be judged as stupid that Apple has not applied even basic, generic encryption to what they send over the wire. However, since they would have to supply the enemy (a.k.a. the customer) with the encrypted content and the means to decrypt it, it would not deter a determined hacker. Then again, nor can DRM.

      The parent writes, "The first rule of security is that the client is untrustworthy." The first rule of DRM is, by contrast, "We give the client the encrypted content, the keys, and the decoder, and hope that he won't work out how to use them."

      The lesson that you should take away from this is that DRM is snake oil. It can never work. But it is being sold to and bought in gallons by the entertainment oligopoly mastodons who have repeatedly proven that they don't get the internet. It's basically useless for all parties concerned. We get inconvenient restrictions; they think that they are getting copy protection but are actually being sold a river.

      As an aside, even if Palladium/NGSCB becomes prevalent and required for downloading DRM content, it seems unlikely that each resource will be custom-encrypted against the customer's Palladium/NGSCB public key. And even if it were, there would be likely be ways to extract the raw data at some point. I doubt that we will see truly uncrackable DRM for a long time to come. In fact, I doubt that we will ever see it.
  • windows only? (Score:3, Informative)

    by __aahlyu4518 ( 74832 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:16AM (#11974825)
    I thought pyMusique was working on Linux as well....
  • by xxavierg ( 538582 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:19AM (#11974844)
    do not by the music. that's why i buy CDs and not download music because i do not like being limited by the DRM.

    by the way, let say i do not like the GPL license. should i:
    1. not use GPL software
    2. use, and violate it because i do not like it.

    a lot people find the GPL license "viral" and disagree with it. but we still expect people to respect it and follow it.

    • do not by the music. that's why i buy CDs and not download music because i do not like being limited by the DRM.

      Yet more and more CDs are coming copy protected, and won't play on some CD players. You also can't rip them for use on your MP3 plater.

      Not limited by DRM eh? Think again.

      • Yet more and more CDs are coming copy protected, and won't play on some CD players. You also can't rip them for use on your MP3 plater.

        So don't buy those either: and if you do buy one by mistake, take it back to shop for a refund -- since it is not fit for the purpose you bought it for.

        If we quietly work around stuff like this (with stuff like Hymn and ever-cleverer CD copy protection defeaters), then there's no incentive for the industry to get back to giving us the usable product we want to pay them fo

    • by the way, let say i do not like the GPL license. should i:
      1. not use GPL software
      2. use, and violate it because i do not like it.

      Except, as far as I understand it, you can use GPL software anyway you want, without having to worry about the licence. As long as you don't distribute it, that is. You see, the licence doesn't try to take away the fair use rights you have. What the licence does say, is that if you go beyond what is permitted by fair use, (i.e. modifying and redistributing), you have to
  • Unlike Hymn... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThePyro ( 645161 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:19AM (#11974849)
    Eventually, Apple will probably be able to identify the accounts of everyone who uses this software. If you actually use the iTunes music store on a regular basis, is it really worth risking your account - and possible legal action - just to get a few DRM-free songs?
  • by celseven ( 723395 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:38AM (#11975043)

    I'm not entirely convinced that legality is the issue (home-taping/burning and modification by the purchased user, if AFAIK "fair-use"). It is more the fear (and in some respects rightly so) of the RIAA and Apple of the said purchased media being deseminated.

    Pure and simple, distributing copyrighted material (whether you burn CDs using iTMS tunes or you break the DRM) is illegal. However, what you do with your purchased music in private (e.g. for yourself, on your own computer) is your business, so long as you are not deseminating it to those who didn't buy it, or you are not using the said copyrighted material for public performance. Electronic media, in terms of copyright, does not disallow personal backups, remixing for fun (no profit), or any sort of arbitrary modification. You own that file, albeit, not the media therein (the music in this case).

    In the cases of fair-use, home-taping has been defended (likewise photocopying library books for personal/academic/private use). There are certain rights that extend to the public over what they own.

    In the case of DVD Jon and others, what they see that they are doing (and arguably they are) is cleverly extending the capabilities of the end-user in lines of usage. When exploited for desemination, profit, and piracy, it is not the process or tool that is wrong, but the use. The tool does have legitamate, legal uses (playing purchased media on your Linux box, for example).

    I personally think PyMusique [], Hymn [], and the FairPlay mechanisms for VLC [] are legitimate and can (and should) be used for Fair Use. If exploited, like any other tool, for illegal ends, then the people infringing on copyrights should be prosicuted (albeit the RIAA has been in recent years more proactive is fining grandma and various 12-year olds that busting pirating rings).

    I have been using Hymn for months now, for fair-use purposes. I buy from iTMS (when you ride the Boston T every morning and evening, your iPod is your best friend) and I frequently get gift cards from family. I and my fiance think it is great, however, if she buys something and I buy something and we want to make a mix CD for our car when we go on a trip, something that allows extended fair-use would be great.

    I personally, and I don't think I am alone, think what DVD Jon is doing is great because it is useful to the consumer (although as a side effect, the pirate). The consumer can better enjoy the beniefits of the purchase.

    This will probably be corrected by iTMS with a subsequent version of iTunes and I have no problem with that. Apple is there to make money from their sales (so preventing piracy is a good motive) and they have to protect the fidgety record labels who are still uncomfortable with digital media, although CDs themselves are not secure in any regard. Those (like DVD Jon and myself) who see a need as a consumer to modify their legitamately purchased music to use it on all computers/OS they have, should make an effort to archive their media in forms they can use, with the technology at their disposal, and if the DRM system is changed, keep up or enjoy what they already bought.

    Somebody mentioned subscription services, and I don't think that subscription services are only legally de-DRMed if you currently subscribe to the service, e.g. it is blantantly illegal to rip and crack a storehouse of music and continue to use them once you no longer subscribe. However, with these models, fair-use would apply to burning CDs for your car, ripping tracks and making MP3s for your iPod or whatever. It is when the use is exploited and people are not being pais is when you have a problem.

  • by bpb213 ( 561569 ) <> on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:42AM (#11975085)
    The industry will never suffer acts like this to go on. The industry likes copy protection, and this will only serve to either kill the industry, or force Apple to make encryption server side.

    Personally, I have ZERO qualms about the licenses on my iTunes music. So what you had to buy an iPod to use it? I wanted one anyway. My DRMed music plays just happy dandy on my Powerbook, my iPod, and my windows machine at work. I can burn essentially an unlimited number of CDs for the car. What more do I, joe user, need to do with this music that the DRM does not let me?
  • by djaj ( 704060 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:45AM (#11975112)

    All you're going to get through this process is unencumbered AAC files, which still don't play on as many players. Sure, it's faster than burning/ripping, but I really don't see the point in breaking my contract with Apple just to save me that bit of time.

    This is a much better "security" story than "DRM" story. Apple clearly blew it in the security department here.

  • by niola ( 74324 ) <> on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:50AM (#11975164) Homepage
    I am not a fan of DRM but Apple has gone and put themselves on the line to convince the recording industry that there is a happy medium. You can install iTunes on what like 5 computers now. You can burn virtually unlimited CD's, can have it on your iPod etc.

    iTunes was one of the first times I have seen what I consider a fair and reasonable DRM. The industry and Apple get their cut. I don't have to buy a full CD if it is one good track with 12 shitty ones. And I can play it in my car, at home on stereo, or on my iPod.

    This is only going to make the naysayers in the business world want to clamp down even more.
    • by Woodblock ( 22276 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @04:38PM (#11979204) Homepage
      Except every few months Apple changes what "Fair and Reasonable" means. They've decreased the limits on how many times you can burn a play list and removed the ability for an iPod to play Real's files, among other changes.

      I would be more willing to evaluate an iPod and iTunes if I knew exactly what I was signing up for. Right now it is "DRM plus whatever Apple wants you to have" and that is a situation that is so heavily weighted in their favour that I'd rather not sign up to, essentially, borrow music from Apple without knowing the terms in advance.

      People need to wake up. When people say "DRM is bad because it gives a corporation too much power and take away too much from the user", they can't also say "Yeah, but Apple is good."
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @10:58AM (#11975245) Homepage
    What's interesting is that for some reason, the RIAA forces DRM on Digital downloads because they think people will copy the music. Where, in reality, if people really wanted to copy the music, they would shell out for the CD, where they would get much better quality, and are free to do with it as they please. Having DRM in digital music downloads only stops Joe Listener from being able to listen to the music as they want to, and doesn't stop any pirates from distributing the music to the entire world for free.
  • DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dynayellow ( 106690 ) on Friday March 18, 2005 @11:03AM (#11975311)
    This all started because people were stealing music on Napster. They were downloading songs, not to sample them or get electronic copies of songs they already owned, but because they didn't want to pay for them.

    So, the industry freaked out and now we have DRMs on everything.

    I'd like to remind you that when you sign up to use iTunes, you agree not to do anything to interfere with the DRM, but of course, those agreements don't really mean anything, do they?

    Convoluted process:
    1. Burn music to CD.
    2. Rip music back.

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson