The Media Knows Not Of What It Speaks Concerning iTMS DRM Issues

When Jon Johansen, previously known for writing the DeCSS code for decrypting DVDs for use on unsupported platforms, released an application called iQTFairUsei meant to remove the DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) from Appleis iTunes Music Store files, the media went nuts over the story. Unfortunately, what they went nuts with were wild stories of everything from a magic DRM bullet to the ability to download free music files from the iTMS. None of this is the case.

In reality, QTFairUse isnit much more than an exploit to what could probably be called a vulnerability in Appleis QuickTime for Windows software, which handles the encoding, decoding, and authorization for iTunes. Johansenis software rips a raw AAC stream from within Quicktime just after it has been authorized, leaving an AAC file on the desktop.

According to some testing done by C|Net, the resulting file is not of much use in its resulting form. All of the header information in the original AAC file is lost, and all that is left is the raw AAC data, which will not play in most media players. From C|Net:

Johansenis program works by patching Appleis QuickTime software with a new software component of his own. Because he called the program a "memory dumper," programmers on message boards around the Web speculated that QTFairUse made a copy of the raw, unprotected song data from the computeris temporary memory after it was unprotected for playback, rather than simply recording the audio stream as it played. But this was not independently verified by Apple or Johansen.

If that is indeed the approach Johansen took, itis possible Apple could release an update to QuickTime that nullifies Johansenis work, much as Microsoft did for the early break of its digital rights management tools.

In several CNET News.com experiments, the unprotected file created by Johansenis program was not playable. Several people on Web message boards reported using a series of other MPEG 4 audio tools to create a usable song from the resulting file, however.

You can read the full article at C|Netis Web site.

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