It appears that Apple’s Fairplay Digital Rights Management system for iTunes Music Store downloads may have been cracked.
“When Apple opened the iTunes Music Store, they licensed a technology called ‘FairPlay’ from a company called ‘Veridisc.’ FairPlay is a Digital Rights Management (DRM) system that limits a users rights on a digital media file that they’ve purchased and presumably downloaded. In the case of Apple’s iTunes Music Store, when a user downloads an audio track from iTMS, it is a ‘Protected AAC Audio File.’ When used as intended, these files can only be played through the iTunes program itself. Furthermore, a particular computer must first be ‘authorized’ to play the given file. FairPlay allows up to three computers and unlimited Apple iPods to be authorized to play the file. As DRM schemes go, FairPlay is only moderately offensive,” reads the website http://playfair.sourceforge.net/ “So what will playfair do for you? The playfair program is quite simple. It takes one of the iTMS Protected AAC Audio Files, decodes it using a key obtained from your iPod or Microsoft Windows system and then writes the new, decoded version to disk as a regular AAC Audio File. It then optionally copies the metadata tags that describe the song, including the cover art, to the new file.”
“The cracking operation can only be done on songs the user has already has valid licenses for and requires either an iPod or a windows computer for key recovery. If you choose to redistribute these songs you will be violating the contract you bought them under: better hope they aren’t watermarked or you might end up paying for releasing one in the wild. To me the authors are vandals not revolutionaries, and may have ensured WMA becomes the standard,” reads the initial post on Slashdot.
MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s DRM has always been cracked: simply burn a CD and the Fairplay DRM is gone. No utilities necessary; iTunes does the cracking and strips the DRM all by itself. We don’t see this as ensuring that WMA becomes standard at all. It’ll probably generate a lot of press in the short term, but it’s rather meaningless in the long run. Now, if a utility could take any protected AAC file and strip the DRM on any computer regardless of whether the computer is authorized, that would be more of an issue. It is also worth noting that the 0.1 version of “Playfair” is dated April 1, 2004. Just in case.