“For weeks, the blogosphere has been abuzz with tales of intrigue about Sony’s XCP copy protection system. Among the strangest revelations was that XCP itself infringes on the copyrights to several open source software projects. In one case, Sam Hocevar found conclusive evidence that part of XCP’s code was copied from a program called DRMS, which he co-authored with DVD Jon and released under the terms of the GPL open source license,” J. Alex Halderman reports for Freedom to Tinker. “What made this finding particularly curious is that the purpose of DRMS is to break the copy protection on songs sold in Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Why would XCP rip off code intended to defeat another vendor’s DRM?”
Halderman reports, “The answer is that XCP utilizes the DRMS code not to remove Apple DRM but to add it. I’ve discovered that XCP uses code from DRMS as part of a hidden XCP feature that provides iTunes and iPod compatibility. This functionality has shipped on nearly every XCP CD, but it has never been enabled or made visible in the XCP user interface. Despite being inactive, the code appears to be fully functional and was compatible with the current version of iTunes when the first XCP CDs were released. This strongly suggests that the infringing DRMS code was deliberately copied by XCP’s creator, First4Internet, rather than accidentally included as part of a more general purpose media library used for other functions in the copy protection system.”
“Intriguingly, the FairPlay compatibility code in XCP is not limited to converting files from XCP CDs. The code appears to support conversion into FairPlay of files in a wide variety of input formats — MP3s, WAV files, RAW audio files, and standard unprotected audio CDs — in addition to XCP-protected discs. It’s also strange that the FairPlay compatibility code is shipped but not made available for use by applications, not even XCP’s own player software. (Technically, the code is not exported from the shared library where it is stored.) This might indicate that First4Internet decided to remove the feature at the very last minute, shortly before XCP CDs started to ship,” Halderman reports. “In any case, the code is present and still works. It’s possible to execute it by jumping to the right memory location after performing some basic setup. I’ve used this method to test various aspects of the software.”
Full article, including a screenshot of iTunes playing a protected file that Halderman made from a regular MP3 file using the hidden XCP functionality, here.
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