PlayFair Born Again As Hymn, Back Online

F or those who have been following the battle between PlayFair, the software that will strip Appleis DRM from iTunes Music Store downloads, and Apple, thereis a new development. The story began a few months ago when PlayFair was first released. Apple quickly sent a Cease & Desist to, the projectis home, demanding that PlayFairis site be taken down. The company did so based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Law, which prohibits software that circumvents Digital Rights Management schemes.

PlayFair then moved to India, where copyright laws are different. Appleis Indian arm sent a Cease & Desist to the Indian host, which once again pulled the site. PlayFair, however, is back once again, still in India, with a new Indian host, a new Indian owner for the project, and legal support from the Free Software Foundation of India. The project also has a new name, Hymn, which replaces the PlayFair moniker. From Hymnis Web site:

We are back online, with a new release and a new name! Itis been a long, hard battle, but we are back online. Anand Babu has taken official ownership of the project. FSF India is providing legal support.

The 0.6.0 release is pretty much a complete rewrite. There are no longer any non-GPL dependencies (the mp4v2 library was MPL and, thus, incompatible with the GPL). In fact, the MPEG-4 parsing is now home-grown and much more specific. Since weire no longer using the mp4v2 library to copy the meta data from the protected AAC file, it is left fully intact, including the apple ID of the user who bought the song. This proves that our purpose is for fair use and not for "piracy" and should help us in our legal battles.

We also noted this rather interesting note in the projectis PDF manual that accompanies the Mac OS X binary:

First of all, I buy all of my music. In fact, most of the music I buy these days comes from the iTunes Music Store. However, I want to be able to play the music I buy wherever I want to play it without quality loss, since I PAID FOR that quality. I want musicians to make money. I want Apple to make money. I donit condone sharing music through P2P networks with the masses, though I believe making a mix CD or playlist for a friend is okay. I also think the RIAA are a bunch of crooks, but thatis another story. Secondly, hymn leaves the apple ID embedded in the output file, so anyone who shares the decoded files on P2P networks is bound to be prosecuted under copyright law. [Emphasis added by TMO]

You can find more information on Hymn at the projectis Web site.