“Microsoft Corp. is once again on the defensive against hackers after the launch of a new program that gives average PC users tools to unlock copy-protected digital music and movies,” The Associated Press reports.
“The latest version of the FairUse4M program, which can crack Microsoft’s digital rights management system for Windows Media audio and video files, was published online late Friday. In the past year, Microsoft plugged holes exploited by two earlier versions of the program and filed a federal lawsuit against its anonymous authors. Microsoft dropped the lawsuit after failing to identify them,” AP reports.
“The third version of FairUse4M has a simple drag-and-drop interface. PC users can turn the protected music files they bought online — either a la carte or as part of a subscription service like Napster — and turn them into DRM-free tunes that can be copied and shared at will, or turned into MP3 files that can play on any type of digital music player,” AP reports.
“Jonathan Usher, a director in Microsoft’s consumer media technology group, said Microsoft employs a full-time team to combat such breaches, and that the Windows Media DRM system was designed to be quickly modified to shut down this type of attack,” AP reports.
“While Usher said Microsoft will remain committed to copy protection, attitudes around the industry are starting to shift,” AP reports. “Apple’s iTunes store started selling DRM-free music from EMI Group PLC’s catalog in May… Josh Bernoff, an industry analyst at research group Gartner Inc., said he expects music DRM to fade out in the next couple of years as record companies begin to realize selling unprotected tracks online won’t hurt sales.”
Full article here.