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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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March 17, 2005

Johansen Creates DRM-Free Interface to iTunes

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Posted by

I rarely agree with the intentionally sloppy Andrew Orlowski, but he's right about what's happening to Apple's iTunes. Any "upgrade" to the service likely means paying more (and more) for less (and less).

Jon Johansen (yes, that Jon Johansen) is doing something about it. He's been working on what he calls PyMusique, the "fair" interface to the iTunes Music Store. Explains Jon (via email):


PyMusique is an interface to the iTunes Music Store that lets you preview songs, sign up for an account and buy songs. It is somewhat interesting from a DMCA/EUCD perspective. The iTunes Music Store actually sells songs without DRM. While iTunes adds DRM to your purchases, PyMusique does not. Another difference is that signing up for an account using PyMusique does not require you to sign/click away any of your rights.

But here's the question: How "interesting" is it? Does it stay in the free and clear, or does it brush up against the DMCA or EUCD? This is a tough one.

To learn more, a tech-savvy friend of mine is examining how PyMusique works -- you might want to do the same before this tool becomes yet another Endangered Gizmo.

Comments (95) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Tech


COMMENTS

1. Tim on March 17, 2005 1:01 PM writes...

What's wrong with just burning a CD to get rid of the DRM?!

If people like this aren't careful, we are all going to end up paying with very serious DRM!

Permalink to Comment

2. No DUH on March 17, 2005 1:26 PM writes...

I've never understood the thought that I HATE DRM, so I'M GOING TO BUY DRM MUSIC AND REMOVE THE DRM!! It really doesn't matter what you do after you buy it, just by using the iTunes Music Store, you're sending a message to Apple and the record companies that you are willing to BUY DRM'd music!

If you REALLY want to make a dent, do it by NOT participating in the iTMS fraud. Convince your friends and neighbors NOT to sign up for music that you can't control and show them that the ONLY good profitable online music is DRM free.

Permalink to Comment

3. Chris on March 17, 2005 2:56 PM writes...

I agree with Tim…there is no way the recording industry will allow DRM-free distribution, the reasons are obvious, and further attempts to spoil the protection mechanisms will only serve to tighten the knot.

Given this I also believe Apple has done a reasonable job of balancing the rights of users against the concerns of the recording industry. As a service iTMS has a lot of great features with only two negatives, DRM and low bit rates, both of which I bet were imposed by the recording industry as a means of protecting their existing business model.

Would I like non-DRM’d music, you bet. But it’s not gonna happen and blaming Apple and the other music services for the situation is unfounded, fault lies with the recording industry.

And as Tim noted, exercise your rights and burn a CD with the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t have to pay for 12 songs to get the single you liked. That’s satisfaction enough for me.

Permalink to Comment

4. Chris on March 17, 2005 2:58 PM writes...

I agree with Tim…there is no way the recording industry will allow DRM-free distribution, the reasons are obvious, and further attempts to spoil the protection mechanisms will only serve to tighten the knot.

Given this I also believe Apple has done a reasonable job of balancing the rights of users against the concerns of the recording industry. As a service iTMS has a lot of great features with only two negatives, DRM and low bit rates, both of which I bet were imposed by the recording industry as a means of protecting their existing business model.

Would I like non-DRM’d music, you bet. But it’s not gonna happen and blaming Apple and the other music services for the situation is unfounded, fault lies with the recording industry.

And as Tim noted, exercise your rights and burn a CD with the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t have to pay for 12 songs to get the single you liked. That’s satisfaction enough for me.

Permalink to Comment

5. rajesh on March 17, 2005 3:04 PM writes...

Thats right. Battle the Apple DRM "machine" and force Apple to lose the music war.

Then lie down like supplicant lambs when you are forced to download with MS's wonderfully restrictive Janus's DRM. That'll teach the RIAA and their ilk the right lesson.

Like Tim says, I find Apple's DRM completely fair. Burn CDs without extra $, listen to them on all my machines, listen to them on my iPod? Whats the problem again?

Permalink to Comment

6. tf on March 17, 2005 3:36 PM writes...

Doesn't even sound like this would be an issue for the DMCA. Seems like quite simple theft. PyMusique has ZERO rights to be distributing content that only Apple has rights to.

Permalink to Comment

7. Anthony Hunt on March 17, 2005 3:48 PM writes...

All this talk that "recording industry will allow DRM-free distribution" is rubbish. There are plenty in the recording industry who advocate DRM-free distribution and indeed do it. To talk as if DRM-free were impossible is to misrepresent the facts and flies in the face of the many people in the industry who are preparing for a radically reconfigured industry devoid of the big labels.

Permalink to Comment

8. Anthony Hunt on March 17, 2005 3:53 PM writes...

Ah, tf, as you point out it is Apple that distributes the music. Not iTunes nor PyMusique.

Permalink to Comment

9. tf on March 17, 2005 4:49 PM writes...

Anthony, I don't see how that distinction hols any merit. Apple distributes DRMed music. They don't distribute non-DRMed. Suppose someone developed an internet bank interface that allowed me to access any account... so through that web site I empty hundreds of accounts. The bank's web site or the "fake" web site don't hold my money, the bank does. That doesn't mean that the "fake" web site is absolved from allowing me to steal from the bank.

Permalink to Comment

10. Brad on March 17, 2005 5:30 PM writes...

Do you have reading comprehension issues?

From the writeup:
"The iTunes Music Store actually sells songs without DRM. While iTunes adds DRM to your purchases, PyMusique does not."

If the bank specifically designed their system to allow you to empty other people's accounts, then you didn't steal anything.

Permalink to Comment

11. tf on March 17, 2005 5:36 PM writes...

Brad, do you have any tact? You are taking Jon's words at face value. Why should I? The iTMS or iTunes or Apple certainly DO sell DRMed music. What Jon is saying is: if you can bypass the interface the tracks aren't DRM'ed. This is obvious as the DRM applied is specific to each user's account and hardware. He is essentially creating an app to steal Apple's property off of its servers.

Why would anyone think they have a right to do that?

"If the bank specifically designed their system to allow you to empty other people's accounts, then you didn't steal anything."

I don't see how your statement contradicts my statement. iTunes is specifically designed to apply the DRM at purchase. iTunes is not designed to download non-DRMed songs. This song does. Hence, it is stealing.

Permalink to Comment

12. tf on March 17, 2005 5:48 PM writes...

"This song does. Hence, it is stealing."

Of course, I meant:

This app does. Hence, it is stealing.

Permalink to Comment

13. tf on March 17, 2005 5:55 PM writes...

Brad, I also assume you know this... but maybe you don't: there is no distinction between the iTMS and iTunes. The only sensible interpretation of this is: the songs are not DRMed prior to downloading. Once they are downloaded, the songs become DRMed (obviously, as I said above, this is based on the user account and personal hardware downloaded to). So... what about that statement says that it's perfectly legal to build another app that bypasses Apple's designed interface to pull files from their servers?

Permalink to Comment

14. Brad on March 17, 2005 5:55 PM writes...

"You are taking Jon's words at face value."

Actually, no. I've looked at the source code.

Have you?

"What Jon is saying is: if you can bypass the interface the tracks aren't DRM'ed."

There is no bypassing. PyMusique uses the same interface to the iTunes Music Store that iTunes uses.

I'm not going to waste any more of my time discussing with someone as intellectually dishonest as you.

Permalink to Comment

15. Chris Brand on March 17, 2005 5:57 PM writes...

It might be "making an unauthorised copy", it might be illegal, it might be morally reprehensible, but it's not stealing because it isn't taking anything from them - Apple still has the same stuff at the end of the transaction as they had at the beginning (in fact as far as I can tell, it's giving Apple money in exchange for the copy it makes).

Permalink to Comment

16. tf on March 17, 2005 6:00 PM writes...

"There is no bypassing. PyMusique uses the same interface to the iTunes Music Store that iTunes uses."

Of course there is bypassing. There is no distinction between the store and iTunes. It is an integrated process. You can't call downloading the store part, and iTunes the player part, and claim that iTunes applying the DRM post-download as a stage separate from Apple's processes. That's absurd.

The iTMS and iTunes are one and the SAME! They are not seaprate entities.

"I'm not going to waste any more of my time discussing with someone as intellectually dishonest as you."

Get a life. What have I done that's dishonest. You are the one who chose to claim I couldn't read, and when I followed up, you decided to pout and take your ball home. When run home, Brad, if you can't handle a discusssion.

Permalink to Comment

17. Jim on March 17, 2005 6:05 PM writes...

Guys...get off the free business. All those who want no DRM is steal.

So many forget that folks wrote and or performed the music you're buying at the iTMS. iTMS gives you reasonable usage, unless you want to give the tunes to your closest thousand "friends".

But when you give those tunes away, you take royalties from the musicians pocket. And that's how they make their living. The music business is tough enough for them when the Record Companies make the bulk of the money and little trickles down. By doing this you only see to it they make less for their efforts.

So, how can it pay to be a musical artist and try to make a living?

Permalink to Comment

18. tf on March 17, 2005 6:06 PM writes...

"It might be "making an unauthorised copy", it might be illegal, it might be morally reprehensible, but it's not stealing because it isn't taking anything from them - Apple still has the same stuff at the end of the transaction as they had at the beginning (in fact as far as I can tell, it's giving Apple money in exchange for the copy it makes)."

Uhh, please. This is absurd. I know a lot of people don't like DR, but you've got to get slightly less stupid arguments.

If I go up to a kid on the street and steal his bike, but throw $300 bucks at him, do you now think I'm immune to being arrested for theft? Absurd.

It is still stealing.

Apple is selling a product. That product happens to be DRMed music. To purchase that music you also have to have an Apple authorized account which requires you to stipulate to terms and conditions of a contract. Bypassing that system and still "donating" $.99 is still theft. PyMusique isn't authorized to sell Apple's products. THey aren't authorized to authoize Apple accounts but to tell people they do not have to comply with the requirements of the contract. Etc...

Permalink to Comment

19. Amazed on March 17, 2005 6:17 PM writes...

"If the bank specifically designed their system to allow you to empty other people's accounts, then you didn't steal anything."

Are you kidding? Is that the way you really think?

Apple clearly did not intend for the DRM to be circumvented. While I'm a musician and don't find the record companies tactics tasteful (I hate them to be honest) you people who are proponents of zero forms of copy protection are equally dogmatic.

People are greedy... Record companies take advantage. Consumers take advantage. Artist get boned... both ways. and your statement above proves my point. Any advantage, any slight gray area, TAKE IT! They effed up, so now its MINE for FREEEEEEEE! common.... thats just weird and creepy.

Permalink to Comment

20. Anthony2 on March 17, 2005 6:26 PM writes...

I think you guys are missing the point here, the app does not allow you to steal music off the iTMS server, just d/l the tracks (_after paying for them_) without the DRM. Provided you don't share the tracks, how is this stealing or whatever else?

Permalink to Comment

21. AppleZealot on March 17, 2005 6:32 PM writes...

It's stealing because our God, Steve Jobs, says so.

Permalink to Comment

22. tf on March 17, 2005 6:44 PM writes...

"I think you guys are missing the point here, the app does not allow you to steal music off the iTMS server, just d/l the tracks (_after paying for them_) without the DRM. Provided you don't share the tracks, how is this stealing or whatever else?"

It's stealing because they aren't otherwise to provide accounts to the system. It's stealing because they aren't authorized to provide accounts but then say you don't have to comply with Apple's conditions. It's stealing because they aren't authorized to download files.

This is almost comparable to stealing Windows source code and mailing the MS Campus a check for an installation of Windows.

Permalink to Comment

23. Creator Eight on March 17, 2005 6:44 PM writes...

The Terms of Service for iTunes are pretty clear :

8. User Account and Security.
...
b. Security.
...
"You will not access the Service by any means other than through software that is provided by Apple for accessing the Service."

So - if you created an iTunes Music Store account and accepted this notice, you violate TOS by using pymusique.

These "crackers" certainly used iTunes to create their original accounts they used to develop pymusique, so they violated it numerous times. Clearly, they are aware of this because they specifically tout that pyMusique bypasses acceptance of the agreement. Such an account will surely be deemed invalid by Apple, and deleted once they can distinguish between pyMusique and iTunes as clients to iTMS...

In any instance, isn't it wrong to conduct busineess with someone without both parties agreeing to the deal? Apple tells you upfront their conditions for these transactions, and that they do not want to do business with you if you do not agree. Fooling them into doing said business is generally considered fraud, and doing it over the internet is generally charged as wire fraud.

You are free to get your music via CD or tape it at a concert off the board, or from Microsoft in WMA, or many other ways - it's not like the iTMS is the only way. If you find value in Apple's pricing and method, then why try to break it? Because breaking it leads to a breakdown of all commercial music distribution?

It's only those with a disregard for the mores of society who do such things, destruction for the sake of destruction. I believe people with such behavior are clinically termed sociopathic.

Permalink to Comment

24. tf on March 17, 2005 7:00 PM writes...

"I think you guys are missing the point here, the app does not allow you to steal music off the iTMS server, just d/l the tracks (_after paying for them_) without the DRM. Provided you don't share the tracks, how is this stealing or whatever else?"

Further rebuttal:

Claiming these are paid for is absurd. Apple doesn't sell non-DRMed songs. So what are you paying Apple for? Not for any product or service they offer. One would assume a non-DRMed song would cost more than a DRMed one. The content you are pulling down from their servers is not anything that Apple sells. How can you claim that you are "legally" purchasing something that a company doesn't even offer for sale?

Permalink to Comment

25. Seth Schoen on March 17, 2005 7:20 PM writes...

Chris writes that "there is no way the recording industry will allow DRM-free distribution", which surprises me, since I bought over $150 of DRM-free major label recordings so far this year in that l33t hax0r format known as CDDA.

Even better, I was able to use them with StepMania, xmms, scp, and my Squeezebox, without asking anyone, or having any of the developers of the software I use have to get a license from the record labels.

I hope nobody tells the major labels about this "CDDA" thing!

Permalink to Comment

26. wasabifan on March 17, 2005 7:26 PM writes...

I think people are overlooking one big problem. If Apple tracks who uses this software, they have you name, address, and credit card on file to go after YOU!

If you use his Play fair or whatever that strips the DRM, at least Apple can't track you. This is just begging for you to get sued.

Permalink to Comment

27. wasabifan on March 17, 2005 7:28 PM writes...

I think people are overlooking one big problem. If Apple tracks who uses this software, they have your name, address, and credit card on file to go after YOU!

If you use his Play fair or whatever that strips the DRM, at least Apple can't track you. This is just begging for you to get sued.

Permalink to Comment

28. Richard K. on March 17, 2005 8:02 PM writes...

Apple doesn't seem to care as long as they get paid:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/001673.php

Permalink to Comment

29. Chris E on March 17, 2005 8:11 PM writes...

I for one don't see how it is stealing. The song(s) you download are being paid for. You pay .99, use this program to download your music. This is not stealing any more than downloading WITH DRM, and burning a CD to get rid of the DRM. Should you be charged extra if you are going to do something to remove DRM? Like burning it to a CD? No.

What creeps me out is that Apple can update a program (iTunes) and change how I interact with it. Change the program from what I was told I could do with it and I have no control over it. Apple has ALL the control. Yea, I kn ow I don't have to upgrade, at least not until Apple changes the iTMS so I HAVE o have the most recent version to use it or access it. Then what do I do?

How would you all feel if Apple decided 128 bit rate was not "good enough" and started selling them at 160 bps? Then changed iTunes to require that bit rate to function and made it so that the iTMS had to be accessed using the new version if iTunes?

Simply put...we are at the total mercey of Apple when it comes to digital music. I think one day, we are all going to wake up and wonder why we paid for 128bps for a song Apple controls how we play and share.

Permalink to Comment

30. tf on March 17, 2005 8:25 PM writes...

Richard, I hardly see how that little post says anything about Apple not caring. For one, no one from Apple is involved in that story. Second, who knows who that person is, whether or not he really works for a studio. Thirdly, it gives no indication what positions he holds. And, fourthly, did I already say that it does not present any views from Apple?


"I for one don't see how it is stealing. The song(s) you download are being paid for. You pay .99, use this program to download your music. This is not stealing any more than downloading WITH DRM, and burning a CD to get rid of the DRM. Should you be charged extra if you are going to do something to remove DRM? Like burning it to a CD? No."

Apple is NOT selling these files. How can you "legally" buy something not being sold? That's like going to a store, stealing the cash register, and leaving the amount of money that a cash register costs. So what? The store did not engage in any buy-sell relationship. You created one yourself.

Permalink to Comment

31. Walt French on March 17, 2005 8:41 PM writes...

Brad wrote (somewhat snottily-- "Do you have reading comprehension issues?") ...
> If the bank specifically designed their system
> to allow you to empty other people's accounts,
> then you didn't steal anything.

Unfortunately, this is a childish view of your iTMS or virtually any other transaction. If your bank error shows you with an extra $99,999, you may [technically] be able to withdraw it from the account, but you [legally] are required to return it, possibly with interest, when the bank discovers its error.

It ain't yours to take. Just like your neighbor's newspaper that's sitting on the sidewalk, or the bin of watermellons in front of the grocery store. Most children get elementary notions of property, and all courts are happy to enforce them, should somebody think they're above the law.

There's nothing that allows you to unilaterally change the iTMS terms and restrictions just because you have a cute technical hack.

Apple has shown its willingness to twist arms these days. And a broken DRM weakens Apple in negotiating with the RIAA about holding the line on tune prices (or in being allowed comparable terms to Napster, should they go subscription). So I'll be surprised if 4.7.2 doesn't appear within a week, and I'd give even odds on Apple suing Mr. J for "tortious interference" -- inducing third parties to break their iTMS agreements by bypassing the restrictions -- or worse.

Permalink to Comment

32. Steve Ford on March 17, 2005 9:19 PM writes...

What odds did you give on Apple suing him when he reverse engineered Apple's DRM over a year ago?

Several Apple fans assured me that Apple would be suing RealNetworks over Harmony.

Did any Apple fans predict that Apple would subpoena PowerPage? Not that I noticed.

Seems like Apple fans don't know Apple as well as they think.

Permalink to Comment

33. Steve Ford on March 17, 2005 9:34 PM writes...

On the issue of whether Apple cares about violations of the terms of service:

"Lots of Apple execs read Boing Boing."
(http://www.boingboing.net/2005/02/01/apple_restricting_dv.html)

Yet Apple hasn't done anything about this guy:
http://www.boingboing.net/2005/02/17/silent_itunes_song_s.html

Permalink to Comment

34. Neo on March 18, 2005 3:49 AM writes...

"But when you give those tunes away, you take royalties from the musicians pocket."

This insidious, RIAA-promoted form of thinking is the root of all this trouble.

They do not have money in their pocket, which you then removed. They simply don't end up getting the money. The musician is ripped off to the same extent that a store is ripped off if I refuse to shop there -- the store does not end up gaining my money (nor does it lose any items from its shelves), but it can hardly complain that I should be *forced* to shop there or "it's stealing!". We did have something like that once, mind you -- the "company store" in company-owned towns. That's a sad chapter of history.

"If I go up to a kid on the street and steal his bike, but throw $300 bucks at him, do you now think I'm immune to being arrested for theft? Absurd."

But the kid no longer has the bike. There's a big difference.

"There's nothing that allows you to unilaterally change the iTMS terms and restrictions just because you have a cute technical hack."

Funnily enough, Apple doesn't seem to mind if Apple is the one unilaterally changing the terms and restrictions. Turnabout is fair play.

Also, it achieves the same technical result as downloading the song normally, burning to disk, and then ripping it back sans DRM. Viewed as merely a shortcut to doing this (whilst saving on blank disks) it's hard to find fault with it.

Permalink to Comment

35. PS on March 18, 2005 4:56 AM writes...

I know DVD Jon knows what he's talking about, but I find it strange that

1. Adding DRMs to the songs after download is a big weakness in the system, why would Apple choose this solution ?

2. Why did it take so long for DVD Jon to find out ?

3. Why does "pymusique" included the "dedrms" library if the songs are never DRM'ed ?

Maybe DVD Jon was misquoted, and what "pymusique" actually does is download encrypted songs and use "dedrms" afterwards to remove the DRMs...

PS

Permalink to Comment

36. Peter da Silva on March 18, 2005 7:28 AM writes...

Every other company that sells personalised DRMed content encrypts it at the server and sends an encoded stream to the client. That's the only effective way to make sure the process isn't intercepted. This isn't a matter of ethics or morals, it's basic software design.

Applying the DRM after it's downloaded is like a bank teller handing you the cashbox, and asking you to pretty please not take any more money than you said you would.

Of course, the whole DRM model suffers from a similar problem, but at least they don't depend on client-side security to get there.

Permalink to Comment

37. Yo on March 18, 2005 7:29 AM writes...

Because our friend DVD Jon really isn't that smart a guy everybody likes to believe. He is just an innocent faced front man. The scripts and hacks he does is nothing unique - this one as well. But he likes the press he gets from this ;)

I find this whole discussion seriously flawed - for some people it seems like if this is some kind of human rights issue or something... crazy! All the metaphores and examples aside: if you don't like the deal you are getting - you just don't buy. Very simple solution - and it also makes the vendors think if enough people does not buy.

What are you really music narcs?

Permalink to Comment

38. Peter da Silva on March 18, 2005 7:42 AM writes...

"But when you give those tunes away, you take royalties from the musicians pocket."

Hold on a second. Where did you go from "downloading DRM-free music" to "giving music away"? You might as well argue that people shouldn't buy CDs because they can rip them and give the music away.

My concern with DRM is that I have to depend on Apple's good will to continue to listen to my music. I've already had to get Apple to reset all my authorized computers for me once because a series of system failures (bad hardware) kept me from being able to deauthorise the dead systems myself. I've burned audio CDs of most of my iTMS purchases, but if I could download m4a instead of m4p so I didn't have to deal with the double-conversion I'd be a lot happier about it.

Permalink to Comment

39. Sol on March 18, 2005 10:06 AM writes...

I do not mind DRM on music downloads but I hate it on discs. Copy Protected discs are basically albums that are not compatible with iTunes. I would buy a DRM file from iTunes but never on a disc because the download would be compatible with my iPod.

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40. Donna on March 18, 2005 10:32 AM writes...

So here's a hypothetical question. Say you bought a brand-new car and it's sitting in the garage. You have a remote control but it's broken; it keeps making the door slam into your car and chip the paint. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and you have to keep buying replacements that get more and more expensive. Then one day, you go to the store and see a new remote control offered by a competitor. It's far better; it always works as advertised, it's cheap, and now that the market is opening up, it keeps getting cheaper.

Now, to be clear, you bought the car. It's yours, and you always had a right to open up your garage door, get in the car and drive it anywhere you like. No one has stolen a single car.

Are you deeply offended that someone created the second remote control? Is he a "cracker" or an engineer? Is it "fair" that he figured out the rolling code in the garage-door opener? As additional food for thought, how do you feel about this court ruling: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/Chamberlain_v_Skylink/20040831_Skylink_Federal_Circuit_Opinion.pdf? And this post about what it means for court interpretations of the DMCA?: http://www.sethf.com/infothought/blog/archives/000405.html

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41. Anonymous Coward on March 18, 2005 11:05 AM writes...

Well, if I were to buy a load of songs from ITMS. And keep them only on my HD. (Which is what I do, I don't have any backup devices/mp3-players.)

Now imagine that my Hd dies. That happens every now and again. I am now in trouble. My songs are gone and I would have to buy them _again_ because my hard-drive pooched itself.

I'm not for stealing/pirating. But wouldn't it be nice for a poor student to be able to recover the music that he _paid for_ without having to pay twice?

And lets face it, DRM is a pain in the unmentionable's. (At least when it comes to file formats not supported by none apple players.)

-Anonymous Coward

PS: I do understand that this program can open for misuse of ITMS. But then again, if someone wants to crack the DRM on ITMS songs, it ain't that hard. So ITMS will be misused anyway by those who like to misuse. I am

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42. Joe on March 18, 2005 11:07 AM writes...

When you join ITMS, you agree to their terms. That's ALL that matters. Jon Johansen deliberatly violates those terms. That is wrong, no matter what his reasons. If you use his software, you are wrong, no matter what your reasons. If you don't like Apple's ToS, don't join. How hard is that? Too hard for a moron like Jon Johansen.

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43. Tucci on March 18, 2005 11:34 AM writes...

After reading all these posts, it seems like this Tf person is out of touch with reality.

Songs are being paid for- ridiculous DRM "feature" not included.

Our Computers.. OUR Rules..

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44. John on March 18, 2005 11:38 AM writes...

tf...my god. stop suckling at apple's teat while being afraid mother will take away the milk.

none of the things you brought up raises this up to the level of stealing. if this pisses off Apple, then so be it, but guess what? Making apple unhappy? potentially breaching the EULA? != stealing.

You bought the damn song. You should be able to do what you want with it.

What a hard concept to swallow for the DRM apologists asking for more spankings from their dear old apple.

I think Apple's DRM is on of the better ones in the market, but DRM is still DRM. And with the way that the Itunes updates have been rolling out (yes, more and more restrictions - the latest being you can no longer stream music to all your friends - just 5 in a day and then itunes cuts you off...imagine owning a boombox you can only have 5 people listen to on any given DAY...but i digress), then it makes it really easy to pick up an app like this.

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45. Will on March 18, 2005 11:59 AM writes...

There are several arguments going on in this forum, which makes the whole thing a bit flawed. It's my understanding that the software downloads iTunes music that you pay for (not for free... it costs just like iTunes). The points about not interrupting Apple's TOS are good, but it depends on how the software interacts with iTunes. If it downloads the music and strips out DRM after the fact, that's not a violation. It's like sending someone with your money to buy you something that you want. But if it cuts out iTunes in some way (interrupts the iTunes purchase process to stop DRM, or directly accesses the music without going through iTunes) then that's a violation of the TOS, and not legal. I haven't any idea how the software interacts with iTunes, so I don't know what the actual case is here. I do know I'd love to be able to re-download the iTunes songs I lost when my drive crashed last fall, but I suspect that if I can use the software to do this, it probably does it illegally.

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46. madmaxmedia on March 18, 2005 1:17 PM writes...

1. It may not be stealing, but it's still probably illegal. At the very least, it violates Apple's terms of service so it certainly within their right to shut out the program in iTunes 4.8. To debate this any further seems unfruitful. To argue that we have some sort of God-given right to bypass the iTunes DRM seems ridiculous (but I don't think anyone here has done that, yet.)

2. I do think it's weird that Apple can change policies on the fly, after you've purchased iTunes music. Their particular changes may not be too bad this time, but this definitely sets a questionable precedent.

3. I like all the various analogies about cars and bank accounts, reminds me of my college intro to philosophy class- ;-)

4. I think 'amazed' summed it up best, and it bears repeating- "People are greedy... Record companies take advantage. Consumers take advantage. Artist get boned... both ways. and your statement above proves my point. Any advantage, any slight gray area, TAKE IT! "

5. I think all this DRM hoopla by the record companies is based on the fear of a potential scenario that has basically already happened anyways. That's why you have this weird situation where DRM free music ripe for stealing is available in stores, yet there is such a microscope on DRM of online compressed music.

6. I won't ever buy compressed music online anyways, besides all the DRM headaches it's low bitrate. See you at Best Buy!!!

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47. Larry on March 18, 2005 1:54 PM writes...

>>If it downloads the music and strips out DRM after the fact, that's not a violation.

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48. Larry on March 18, 2005 1:56 PM writes...

>>If it downloads the music and strips out DRM after the fact, that's not a violation.

While it may not be a violation of Apple's TOS, it is most certainly illegal (at least in the US) to circumvent encryption or copy protection schemes. It's one of the few provisions of the DMCA that hasn't been thrown out in court.

It's very hard to draw legally accurate analogies with intellectual property, as has been attempted here with car, bike and money metaphors. With intellectual property (such as music), physical custody of media is not necessarily ownership of the content and does not carry the same absolute rights of use. Whether we like it or not, under US law, the owners and authorized distributors of the intellectual property, not the users or consumers, get to set the rules on how their stuff is used. We, the users, accept these terms(even if we don't necessarily agree with them) when we buy CDs, DVDs, or use iTMS.

Doesn't seem to me like there's a lot of grey area. We users may own the CDs or the files, but we DO NOT own the content; we're just allowed to use it. It's a very picky but very important legal distinction. Whether we're happy about it or not really seems to be the debate in this forum.

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49. tf on March 18, 2005 2:01 PM writes...

"What odds did you give on Apple suing him when he reverse engineered Apple's DRM over a year ago?"

ZERO

"Several Apple fans assured me that Apple would be suing RealNetworks over Harmony."

And I was certain there was ZERO chance of this.

"Did any Apple fans predict that Apple would subpoena PowerPage? Not that I noticed."

I didn't predict it because I don't find it remotely interesting, but I wasn't surprised.

"Seems like Apple fans don't know Apple as well as they think."

Seems like you don't know Apple fans as well as you think.

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50. tf on March 18, 2005 2:03 PM writes...

"On the issue of whether Apple cares about violations of the terms of service:

"Lots of Apple execs read Boing Boing."
(http://www.boingboing.net/2005/02/01/apple_restricting_dv.html)

Yet Apple hasn't done anything about this guy:
http://www.boingboing.net/2005/02/17/silent_itunes_song_s.html
"

How are either of these relevent at all?

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51. tf on March 18, 2005 2:10 PM writes...

""If I go up to a kid on the street and steal his bike, but throw $300 bucks at him, do you now think I'm immune to being arrested for theft? Absurd."

But the kid no longer has the bike. There's a big difference."

No, there isn't. You seem to be taking the absurd, mistaken interpretation of Blackmun's comments on copyright infringement. His statement only refers to copyright infringement. Or, even worse, you are making the absurd claim that anything digital cannot be stolen.

In this case, you are taking files which you are not authorized to.

But here's a simple example: if I stole a copy of Windows source code from MS, while leaving a copy on the servers, are you claiming I haven't stolen anything? Absurd.

""There's nothing that allows you to unilaterally change the iTMS terms and restrictions just because you have a cute technical hack."

Funnily enough, Apple doesn't seem to mind if Apple is the one unilaterally changing the terms and restrictions. Turnabout is fair play."

Umm, the Terms say they can be changed at any time, so their in the terms. But there is nothing in the terms saying the user can steal non-DRMed songs.

"Also, it achieves the same technical result as downloading the song normally, burning to disk, and then ripping it back sans DRM. Viewed as merely a shortcut to doing this (whilst saving on blank disks) it's hard to find fault with it."

No, it doesn't. It preserves the digital file at its original bitrate with no loss through transcoding.

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52. tf on March 18, 2005 2:12 PM writes...

"1. Adding DRMs to the songs after download is a big weakness in the system, why would Apple choose this solution ?"

No, it isn't. It's required to lock the file to the particular hardware it is downloaded to.

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53. tf on March 18, 2005 2:19 PM writes...

"Every other company that sells personalised DRMed content encrypts it at the server and sends an encoded stream to the client. That's the only effective way to make sure the process isn't intercepted. This isn't a matter of ethics or morals, it's basic software design."

That's not true at all. I don't know what your basis for such a sweeping statement is.

"Applying the DRM after it's downloaded is like a bank teller handing you the cashbox, and asking you to pretty please not take any more money than you said you would."

I don't agree, but even if that were true, that doesn't give you a "right" to steal it. I don't know where you people get these ideas.

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54. tf on March 18, 2005 2:22 PM writes...

Donna, absurd analogy. Nothing is broken in the iTMS. You are not replacing a part. You aren't violating the terms of a contract. So what's the point?

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55. tf on March 18, 2005 2:25 PM writes...

"So ITMS will be misused anyway by those who like to misuse. I am "

Yes, you are misusing it. Thanks for the honesty.

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56. tf on March 18, 2005 2:29 PM writes...

"After reading all these posts, it seems like this Tf person is out of touch with reality.

Songs are being paid for- ridiculous DRM "feature" not included.

Our Computers.. OUR Rules.."

You aren't paying for what Apple is selling, plain and simple. You can call DRM ridiculous, but I'll call you ridiculous for thinking that you can tell Apple what they do and do not sell.

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57. tf on March 18, 2005 2:36 PM writes...

"tf...my god. stop suckling at apple's teat while being afraid mother will take away the milk."

I have not used the iTMS and probably never will. I have no problem with pirates who at least admit it. I have a problem with morons claiming they have some rights to somethign which is clearly illegal.

"none of the things you brought up raises this up to the level of stealing. if this pisses off Apple, then so be it, but guess what? Making apple unhappy? potentially breaching the EULA? != stealing."

Yes, it does. Apple does not sell non-DRMed songs. How can you buy somethign they do not sell? You are stealing and violating a contract. This isn't a flimsy EULA click-through either.

"You bought the damn song. You should be able to do what you want with it."

This is not true in both respects. Apple never sold you a non-DRMed song. And you do not have the tights to do whatever you want with copyrighted material. You might not like it, but at least sound like a thieving adult who is in touch with reality, don't sound like an ignorant child living in a dream world.

"What a hard concept to swallow for the DRM apologists asking for more spankings from their dear old apple."

I don't like DRM either, and I'm not trying to protect Apple. I'm trying to protect fools from retarded baseless opinions that are only driven by a desire to have free stuff.

"I think Apple's DRM is on of the better ones in the market, but DRM is still DRM. And with the way that the Itunes updates have been rolling out (yes, more and more restrictions - the latest being you can no longer stream music to all your friends - just 5 in a day and then itunes cuts you off...imagine owning a boombox you can only have 5 people listen to on any given DAY...but i digress), then it makes it really easy to pick up an app like this."

And who else allows you to stream the files? And didn't Apple also expand the rights of the files from 3 computers to 5?

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58. Roberto on March 18, 2005 2:37 PM writes...

The current way DRM is controlled is just wrong, the only reason I buy DRM tracks is for the online convenience. If it took me more then the 30 seconds it takes to strip off the DRM without re-encoding, they wouldn't have my money.

Encode my account number into the track, I don't care, but don't limit me to Apple only products and deny third party developers the proper hooks into the DRM interface to allow decoding on non-apple hardware or software.

Apple controls the keys to my music collection (or so they think) and that's using DRM to lock in their users, which is an aggressive tactic to secure market share at the cost of the consumers.

I don't listen to my music on my computer, or on an iPod. I've got a network music player created by a company that supports the open source movement. I listen to it on my stereo system where it's supposed to be listened to, and NO I'm not going to buy into a system that limits my use to what Apple says it should be (anything with an Apple logo on it)

I just talked to the head of a major label a few weeks back, and I told him my opinion point blank. He didn't seem very happy to hear it, but he couldn't really find fault in the logic either.

The writing is on the wall.

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59. piers on March 18, 2005 2:37 PM writes...

It seems that, on one side of the fence, there is no distinction between downloading non-DRM'ed music, and illegally sharing that music. Many people believe that you should not have the capacity to do harm, simply because you might. Following this logic, there should not be a single car on the road capable of going above the maximum speed limit for that country. Guns for civil use should be totally outlawed. The question is, how far should it be taken, and at what point should the public be trusted? I own a hammer, because occasionally I have to bang nails and things. I could use that hammer to kill someone, but I'm trusted that I won't. Sure, hammers, guns, kitchen knives, bricks, they injure or kill people all the time. But they're too useful to prohibit.

Non-DRM'ed music is extremely useful. I can make backups, I can burn a playlist, scratch the cd, burn it again over and over. I can play my music on whatever device I want. I could also distribute that music to 100,000 other people, which would be denying the artist of funds. The question is, should I be trusted?

Another argument against DRM is the value of the product. I can play a CD in any device that plays CDs. I could make my own CD player, if I really wanted to. There are no imposed restrictions. With a DRM'ed mp3/aac/wma/whatever file, I'm restricted in certain ways, fair or not. But it's still a comparable price, even though distribution cost is slashed. I, the customer, am getting less value. And while I might still think that the purchase is worth the money, it could become unworth the money AT ANY TIME. At any point, Apple can take away the rights that I paid for. Sounds like a bad deal.

And really, no DRM has ever stopped a file being illegally traded. Will it ever? How much restriction will have to be placed on a song before DRM is effective?

I think people need to choose their actions by what they think is right, not what they think is legal.

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60. tf on March 18, 2005 2:54 PM writes...

"It seems that, on one side of the fence, there is no distinction between downloading non-DRM'ed music, and illegally sharing that music. "

I'm not suggesting the 2 are equivalent. I'm saying that Apple isn't authorizing any other app to download files. And Apple isn't selling non-DRMed files. I'm saying that this is definitely illegal even if you never listened to the fils yourself, never mind shared them.

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61. mark on March 18, 2005 2:55 PM writes...

tf wrote: "Or, even worse, you are making the absurd claim that anything digital cannot be stolen."

No, you are the one being ubsurd.

If I take a kids bike, or any other physical object, the kid no longer has use of the bike.

This is basic economic theory.

If I make a copy of a copyrighted song, the person who I copied the song from still HAS THE COPY.

That is the difference between theft/stealing and copyright infringement.

You may believe that copyright infringement is equally as evil as theft, which I suspect is what's behind your desire to conflate the two. That's your opinion. I don't happen to agree with you, but I respect it.

But, that doesn't make copyright infringement theft.

To come at this another way, if I take a picture of a certain statue in a public park in Chicago, I would be commiting copyright infringement. Would you claim that I am stealing?


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62. tf on March 18, 2005 2:59 PM writes...

Mark, I understand the copyright infringement issue. But in this case, you are taking files from Apple that they NEVER have any intention of selling. This is theft. It is not an issue of infringing the copyrights of the rights' holders (even though they are being violated as well).

Your analogy is useless. Imagine it this way. Someone has music files on their computer. They don't want to sell them or share them. You download them off their computer without them being aware of it. You are both stealing from the computer owner and infringing the rights of the copyrights.

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63. Anonymous Coward on March 18, 2005 3:07 PM writes...

>Yes, you are misusing it. Thanks for the honesty.


Actually, that was me screwing the pooch verbally by forgeting to end the PS;

"I am personally not going to use this program to misuse ITMS. If I use it, it will only be to recover from a hardware failure."

I don't pirate. period.

I'd rather miss out than steal. And lets face it, ITMS screws the artist. out of 99 cents, how much do you think they get?

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64. mark on March 18, 2005 3:14 PM writes...

tf wrote:
"Mark, I understand the copyright infringement issue. But in this case, you are taking files from Apple that they NEVER have any intention of selling."

Yes, but that doesn't make it THEFT. I understand what you're saying and I agree it probably violates the TOS for accessing the music store.

But, and this is a big but, I have a real problem with the idea that, just because Apple didn't *intend* to sell the tracks this way, that buying them this way is *theft*.

I just think theft is very specificly an act where the person who is the victim of theft ends up minus something they possessed before the theft occured.

Imagine if my friend came to stay at my house and brought his laptop. While here, he decides to copy some of my CDs. Is that theft?

Have you ever been robbed at gunpoint? I have. Do you want to argue that its the same thing as my friend with the laptop?

In short, I don't necessarilly disagree with you that this program violates a contract with Apple or that it breaks the agreement you signed up to when creating an account.

But, I think you should stop using the word theft to describe that. Say copyright infringement, contract violation, buying in bad faith, etc. But, don't sling a word like theft around with such carelessness.

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65. tf on March 18, 2005 3:24 PM writes...

"I just think theft is very specificly an act where the person who is the victim of theft ends up minus something they possessed before the theft occured."

Then according to you, it's impossible to steal anything digital unless you erase the original files. This is absurd. You can photocopy documents, you can create copies, and it is still theft.

"Imagine if my friend came to stay at my house and brought his laptop. While here, he decides to copy some of my CDs. Is that theft?"

If you approved of it, no. If you didn't, yes.

"Have you ever been robbed at gunpoint? I have. Do you want to argue that its the same thing as my friend with the laptop?"

No, but I don't see the relevance. Having someone steal my bike if I leave it unlocked is also different from having a gun in my face. But it's still theft.

Do you want to claim that copying files you have no rights to (imagine stealing source code to OS X or Windows) as not theft? You aren't going to get very far with that argument.

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66. mark on March 18, 2005 3:31 PM writes...

Just to followup, the problem with using the word "theft" is that it completely polarizes the issue and doesn't allow any room for a discussion. Theft is *always* wrong.

But, copyright is not a moral right. It is intended to serve the interests of society (hence the phrase in the constitution about "promoting the progress of science and the arts").

If we talk about *theft* then there is no room to discuss the value of competing desires around copyright.

For example, most women I know are mortally afraid/angry that some other woman might show up at a party wearing the same dress.

Do you imagine that women would like "exclusive rights" to wear a particular dress at a particular party. So, leaving the mechanism to achieve this aside, I woman could buy a dress and register the function it is intended for. Anyone else buying that dress would be told they cannot wear it if they are going to the same function.


Do you think it's morally right that they should have that right?

Now, imagine if women did have that right and another woman showed up wearing the same dress.

If that's *theft*, then is there any room for us to discuss the answer to the question?

After all, *theft* is almost always morally wrong.

You see? That's why *theft* is the wrong word.

You may think it's a silly example because its not a right that anyone has, but its a right that someone *might* have and, philosophically, it's no different from any other copyright restrictions.

I don't think Apple should be allowed to completely control the DRM on their music files. I think it prevents fair use. And what happens when the copyright on that file expires (as it must)?

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67. mark on March 18, 2005 3:31 PM writes...

Just to followup, the problem with using the word "theft" is that it completely polarizes the issue and doesn't allow any room for a discussion. Theft is *always* wrong.

But, copyright is not a moral right. It is intended to serve the interests of society (hence the phrase in the constitution about "promoting the progress of science and the arts").

If we talk about *theft* then there is no room to discuss the value of competing desires around copyright.

For example, most women I know are mortally afraid/angry that some other woman might show up at a party wearing the same dress.

Do you imagine that women would like "exclusive rights" to wear a particular dress at a particular party. So, leaving the mechanism to achieve this aside, I woman could buy a dress and register the function it is intended for. Anyone else buying that dress would be told they cannot wear it if they are going to the same function.


Do you think it's morally right that they should have that right?

Now, imagine if women did have that right and another woman showed up wearing the same dress.

If that's *theft*, then is there any room for us to discuss the answer to the question?

After all, *theft* is almost always morally wrong.

You see? That's why *theft* is the wrong word.

You may think it's a silly example because its not a right that anyone has, but it iss a right that someone *might* have and, philosophically, it's no different from any other copyright restrictions.

I don't think Apple should be allowed to completely control the DRM on their music files. I think it prevents fair use. And what happens when the copyright on that file expires (as it must)?

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68. mark on March 18, 2005 3:31 PM writes...

Just to followup, the problem with using the word "theft" is that it completely polarizes the issue and doesn't allow any room for a discussion. Theft is *always* wrong.

But, copyright is not a moral right. It is intended to serve the interests of society (hence the phrase in the constitution about "promoting the progress of science and the arts").

If we talk about *theft* then there is no room to discuss the value of competing desires around copyright.

For example, most women I know are mortally afraid/angry that some other woman might show up at a party wearing the same dress.

Do you imagine that women would like "exclusive rights" to wear a particular dress at a particular party. So, leaving the mechanism to achieve this aside, I woman could buy a dress and register the function it is intended for. Anyone else buying that dress would be told they cannot wear it if they are going to the same function.


Do you think it's morally right that they should have that right?

Now, imagine if women did have that right and another woman showed up wearing the same dress.

If that's *theft*, then is there any room for us to discuss the answer to the question?

After all, *theft* is almost always morally wrong.

You see? That's why *theft* is the wrong word.

You may think it's a silly example because its not a right that anyone has, but it is a right that someone *might* have and, philosophically, it's no different from any other copyright restrictions.

I don't think Apple should be allowed to completely control the DRM on their music files. I think it prevents fair use. And what happens when the copyright on that file expires (as it must)?

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69. mark on March 18, 2005 3:35 PM writes...

Oops. Sorry about the multiple posts..

Anyway, tf, now you're being inconsistent:
""Imagine if my friend came to stay at my house and brought his laptop. While here, he decides to copy some of my CDs. Is that theft?"

If you approved of it, no. If you didn't, yes."

It's still copyright infringement for him to copy the CDs. Why do you say it's not theft in that case?

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70. yasth on March 18, 2005 4:07 PM writes...

A)This is not theft (though really even plain old file sharing isn't so much theft as it is copyright infringement, theft is unlawful taking, copyright infringement is unlawful copying)

B) It probably isn't copyright infringement per se. (Up until someone actually makes a copy that is) Apple is authorised to grant a copy, it does so. You would probably be bound by in theory to the terms of Apple's DRM (not reading the EULA is not a defense, unless you didn't know there was one)

C) It almost certainly violates the DMCA. Though it does sound kind of weak to be called effective measures it would probably be considered so. (This may not be a big deal to the authors if they are international, but US users of the program would be just as guilty, you are the circumventor not the program after all) This is the big one. Violating the DMCA

D) Apple could judge each user of this program to be in breach of the EULA, (even if they never saw the text, as they could reasonably be expected to know there was an agreement

Other systems like MS's, actually force the client to obtain a license for each work, basically each DRMed file (which has UID in it of course) has a little section of meta data saying this file is protected with a license from blah. The authorised player then checks and sees if it has a valid license already, if it doesn't it goes to the license provider given in the metadata and says Gimmee!, the license provider can then either just give the license, or it can request from the client more information (including having the client pop up say a survey to the user). There are steps in there to verify the requesting client is valid, and unrevoked.

Say what you will of MS security in practice, but the theory is very solid, at no point except when it is sent to the soundcard is it ever unencrypted, and it is certainly sent to the user encrypted. (Also the system has advantages in that it means you can just copy a a file, and it will try to get a license for you semi automagically.)

More info:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/howto/articles/ProtectContent.aspx

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71. DaffyDuck on March 18, 2005 4:18 PM writes...

So, let's see -- all this 'fighting the evils of DRM' will eventually result in one of several possible outcomes, with one thing to consider:

- Apple's DRM is one of the most lax, and most permissive in the industry, but, clearly, still too 'evil' for the stupid purists.

Thus:

- Apple needs to tighten their DRM every time someone like Jon figures out a way around - hence, what has Jon really achieved, except a very short-lived work-around? Once Apple tightens their DRM, the purists (read: morons), scream louder how Apple steals their 'rights' (neglecting, conveniently, that they are the cause of this, to start with).

- If Apple doesn't tighten their DRM, the music labels will stop extending Apple's contracts, and the result of that is simple - NO MORE MUSIC. Actually, make that, No More Music from the iTMS, as the Windows DRM is clearly more secure, and thus the Windows music stores will certainly remain -- clearly, this must be a great victory for the anti-DRM idiots.

- The indystry will come to the conclusion that Windows DRM is far better than Apple's DRM, and we end up with the same outcome as above.

I have to ask the question - what do kids like Jon hope to achieve with their continued attacks on Apple's DRM, while at the same time completely ignoring the Windows DRM (most likely because they don't have the talent to take on Windows' DRM) - in the end, they are only hurting the cause they *claim* to support, which is that DRM is bad, as they are only strengthening the perception for the REALLY bad DRM, which is Microsoft's (the most restrictive out there).

In conclusion:

- If you hate DRM, the solution is simple -- do NOT buy from the iTMS. Buy your CDs from used dealers, where you get a far better deal than the iTunes store will give you, per album, and you can rip your music legally, and without DRM. Easy - though apparently out of intellectual reach of these purist activists.

- If you really hate DRM, how about figuring out how to break the WIndows DRM solution, just to even the playing field -- that is, unless you're happy with the regular paycheck you receive from 'the other guys', to continually discredit the iTMS. Right now, it seems to me that what is presented as 'anti-DRM' activism is a very one-sided 'activism', that has nothing to do with the cause they espouse.

So, thoughts?

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72. tf on March 18, 2005 4:18 PM writes...

"A)This is not theft (though really even plain old file sharing isn't so much theft as it is copyright infringement, theft is unlawful taking, copyright infringement is unlawful copying)"

And who authorized anyone to TAKE non-DRMed files from Apple's servers? It is theft. This is not file sharing.

"B) It probably isn't copyright infringement per se. (Up until someone actually makes a copy that is) Apple is authorised to grant a copy, it does so. You would probably be bound by in theory to the terms of Apple's DRM (not reading the EULA is not a defense, unless you didn't know there was one)"

It certainly is copyright infringement: who has provided anyone with the rights to acquire non-DRMed files? No one.

"C) It almost certainly violates the DMCA. Though it does sound kind of weak to be called effective measures it would probably be considered so. (This may not be a big deal to the authors if they are international, but US users of the program would be just as guilty, you are the circumventor not the program after all) This is the big one. Violating the DMCA "

I'm not sure it does, but I think it's blatantly illegal. But thus far, I see no illegal circumvention.


"D) Apple could judge each user of this program to be in breach of the EULA, (even if they never saw the text, as they could reasonably be expected to know there was an agreement"

Definitely could and probably will.

"Other systems like MS's, actually force the client to obtain a license for each work, basically each DRMed file (which has UID in it of course) has a little section of meta data saying this file is protected with a license from blah. The authorised player then checks and sees if it has a valid license already, if it doesn't it goes to the license provider given in the metadata and says Gimmee!, the license provider can then either just give the license, or it can request from the client more information (including having the client pop up say a survey to the user). There are steps in there to verify the requesting client is valid, and unrevoked."

Similar situation here, but that step is being circumvented.


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73. yasth on March 18, 2005 4:36 PM writes...

tf
"And who authorized anyone to TAKE non-DRMed files from Apple's servers? It is theft. This is not file sharing."
Taking implies something different legally. Copyright is a different kettle of fish. (I can't take bits and pieces of your car, but I can under fair use take bits and pieces of copyrighted works, etc.)

"It certainly is copyright infringement: who has provided anyone with the rights to acquire non-DRMed files? No one."
This is where it gets odd. The law doesn't recognise directly most conditions of granted licenses, it is breach of contract not copyright infringement (there are some things directly recognised, private performance vs. public performance, scoring, etc)) Everything else is a breach of contract (In this case a EULA) and/or DMCA. Now by prooving that there was a violation of the EULA they could pull your rights to the music and do whatever the penalties portion says. Then it could be copyright infringement, but in all honesty DMCA is an easier big stick to use.

"I'm not sure it does, but I think it's blatantly illegal. But thus far, I see no illegal circumvention."
DMCA refers to systems, this is a circumvention of the system. There is a reason DMCA exists, this is pretty much it (that and protecting ship hulls ;) ). (Penalties are like $500,000 for DMCA violations)

"Similar situation here, but that step is being circumvented."
Nope it is shipped unencrypted apparently, while MS DRM is shipped encrypted and locked. It really is a nice theoretical system.

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74. yasth on March 18, 2005 4:44 PM writes...

"And who authorized anyone to TAKE non-DRMed files from Apple's servers? It is theft. This is not file sharing."
It isn't taking it is copying. There is a differnece legally (I can't take portions of your car, but I can under fair use copy selections of your works.)
"It certainly is copyright infringement: who has provided anyone with the rights to acquire non-DRMed files? No one." It might be copy right infringment eventually but it would depend on the penalties of the EULA. The law doesn't directly deal with smaller issues of the whole limitations to copyright use lisences. That is what contracts, and the DMCA are for.

"I'm not sure it does[violate the DMCA], but I think it's blatantly illegal. But thus far, I see no illegal circumvention."

It is circumvention because:

"No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected" DMCA 1201(a)(1)

and what are you doing? Going around a measure degned to control access.

"Similar situation here [in regards to MS DRM], but that step is being circumvented."
Not quite MS never has the unencrypted file seen by the client. (at least until it sends it out the analog hole). It is simply not sent.

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75. tf on March 18, 2005 4:52 PM writes...

"Taking implies something different legally. Copyright is a different kettle of fish. (I can't take bits and pieces of your car, but I can under fair use take bits and pieces of copyrighted works, etc.)"

But you aren't taking bits and pieces. And you aren't in a "legal" relationship with Apple. They didn't authorize you to take these files in this way.

Clearly, this goes beyond file sharing. Apple isn't file sharing. This is copyright infringement and more.

"This is where it gets odd. The law doesn't recognise directly most conditions of granted licenses, it is breach of contract not copyright infringement (there are some things directly recognised, private performance vs. public performance, scoring, etc)) Everything else is a breach of contract (In this case a EULA) and/or DMCA. Now by prooving that there was a violation of the EULA they could pull your rights to the music and do whatever the penalties portion says. Then it could be copyright infringement, but in all honesty DMCA is an easier big stick to use."

People are claiming they aren't engaged in a contract. If there is no contract with Apple, it is copyright infringement. Apple has the right to issue copyright licenses to users. PyMusique users are not being issued copyright licenses by Apple. They end up with a non-licensed copy of copyrighted material. That's illegal. That's copyright infringement.

"DMCA refers to systems, this is a circumvention of the system. There is a reason DMCA exists, this is pretty much it (that and protecting ship hulls ;) ). (Penalties are like $500,000 for DMCA violations)"

The encryption is never applied though. They are not circumventing it or stripping it with electronic means. I don't think this is a clear DMCA violation at all.

"Nope it is shipped unencrypted apparently, while MS DRM is shipped encrypted and locked. It really is a nice theoretical system."

But the example does not matter when the encryption is applied.

[Apple] actually force the client to obtain a license for each work, basically each DRMed file (which has UID in it of course) has a little section of meta data saying this file is protected with a license from blah [after downlaoding]. The authorised player then checks and sees if it has a valid license already, if it doesn't it goes to the license provider given in the metadata and says Gimmee!, the license provider can then either just give the license, or it can request from the client more information (including having the client pop up say a survey to the user). There are steps in there to verify the requesting client is valid, and unrevoked."

See? No different.

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76. wt on March 18, 2005 8:49 PM writes...

These arguments against Apple's FairPlay are really ridiculous. What realistic limitation does this DRM enlist? I certainly haven't run into any. I burn CD's, listen to the music on my stereo, on my computer (actually multiple computers on my home network) and on multiple iPods-- the DRM has never gotten in the way of anything I want to do. Now it is true, if I wanted to make thousands of CD's from a playlist it would be really, really, REALLY inconvenient--but since I don't have a bootleg CD business I'm fine with FairPlay. Let's be honest gang, if you have a problem with this DRM it's really because you want free music.

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77. tigerspy on March 18, 2005 9:38 PM writes...

know what I do?

uh... i like... go buy this thing called a CD... then.. whoa... rip it? oh... and then I can do whatever the hell i want with it. Lossless vs. Apple AAC at 128kb? um.... So... what's this DRM shit all about anyways? I guess what's kinda trippy to me is why bother? right? LOL
Actually I can tell a different playing AAC 128 vs. Lossless through my B&W speakers.

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78. piers on March 18, 2005 9:53 PM writes...

Quote: "- Apple's DRM is one of the most lax, and most permissive in the industry, but, clearly, still too 'evil' for the stupid purists.


Thus:


- Apple needs to tighten their DRM every time someone like Jon figures out a way around - hence, what has Jon really achieved, except a very short-lived work-around? Once Apple tightens their DRM, the purists (read: morons), scream louder how Apple steals their 'rights' (neglecting, conveniently, that they are the cause of this, to start with)."

Don't you dare tell me who I am, "daffy". You cannot say that because I want the freedom to use what I buy how I like, that I have CAUSED this situation. You group people together COMPLETELY unfairly. Personal attacks MUST stop in order to have a proper debate. Clearly neither side is just going to give in, a compromise will have to be reached at some point. Intelligent people should be able to have a discussion without resorting to verbal (or written) abuse. To make a personal attack is a sign of weakness, that you either have no faith in your ideas, or lack the cognitive capacity to express them.

And what the hell is with this "let's not piss Apple off because things will just get worse" talk? YOU hold the money, people, don't forget that. Apple, the record companies, the artists, they're all in the same business. The business of making money. You, we, collectively, are the CEO, the president of the company. As a group, we control everything. It's in our hands. Don't forget that.

Quote: "If Apple doesn't tighten their DRM, the music labels will stop extending Apple's contracts, and the result of that is simple - NO MORE MUSIC. Actually, make that, No More Music from the iTMS, as the Windows DRM is clearly more secure, and thus the Windows music stores will certainly remain -- clearly, this must be a great victory for the anti-DRM idiots."

Ha ha, of course, because Microsoft has always been a PILLAR of security in the past. Believe me, whatever DRM someone can attach, someone else can break.

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79. Neo on March 19, 2005 3:07 AM writes...

"Adding DRMs to the songs after download is a big weakness in the system, why would Apple choose this solution ?"

Because the DMCA makes a weak system as good as a strong system, making up for engineering idiocy with legal might. It is equivalent to passing a law that makes walking past a "no trespassing sign" not merely trespass, but break and enter, exactly as if you'd actually broken a window or loided a lock and entered someone's house uninvited. And of course, it means in practise that you can make it into a burglary felony rather than a minor squabble to disrespect a "Please keep
off the grass" sign as well.

Apple's DRM strategy is insidious though; you have to give them credit for that. At first the restrictions are really mild and seem reasonable to most people. The anti-DRM crowd thus seems *un*reasonable to most people, as iTunes fans
roam the streets telling all and sundry "Hey, DRM isn't always so bad!" Then Apple starts ratcheting up the restrictions, once it has a captive market and anti-DRM movements have lost momentum. Insidious.

It's as if people were first conditioned to let masters walk them around with a rope around the neck, loosely, which they weren't supposed to remove, but which was only tugged gently now and again and only to keep people from walking into an
obviously bad part of town. "See," they say, "wearing these ropes isn't so bad. And having a 'guide' (sic) is so wonderful!" Then the ropes are tightened, and you get yanked around, and eventually, they choke you.

DRM is the Boston Strangler of consumer rights, and incidentally the consumer electronics industry. In its extreme form of "trusted computing", it is the beginning of the end of freedom and democracy, the first amendment and its international equivalents, and anything free or flat-rate. Trusted computing is scarily reminiscent of the "number of the beast" in the
book of revelations in fact. The trusted computing initiative must be destroyed, and the DMCA repealed at once.

Obligatory car analogy: imagine it's not only illegal to steal cars, but it's illegal to use a coathanger to get into one. Even if it's your own and you locked the keys in the car, and you can prove its your own with the documentation around, the cop still arrests you, and you are convicted and go to prison for car theft. Moreover, the manufacturers of coathangers are prosecuted for creating a car theft tool and the New York garment district, lacking a legal cheap way to put a large
selection in its stores that customers can browse conveniently, goes completely out of business.

This is the DMCA and its unintended economic and social ripple effects, if it had been applied to car theft instead of the much less serious "problem" of copyright infringement.

And now some point-by-point responses.

"""If I go up to a kid on the street and steal his bike, but throw $300 bucks at him, do you now think I'm immune to being arrested for theft? Absurd."

But the kid no longer has the bike. There's a big difference."

No, there isn't."

Yes, there is. It's as if that kid has somehow been wronged if, without ever having even met him or his bike, I buy parts and assemble a bike of my own that happens to be identical in every way to his. How is he any the poorer for it? (The fact that the bits you "buy" and assemble into a file happen to cost nearly zilch is not relevant here.)

"In this case, you are taking files which you are not authorized to."

No, I am not. I am not, in fact, taking anything. Any preexisting copies of the files are still sitting right wherever they were before, and whoevers files they are still has access to them. They haven't even been modified, let alone removed. Also, if this is referring specifically to peer to peer sharing, I didn't even sneak into an office after hours and photocopy confidential documents or something; someone said "here, these documents are interesting and there's a copier in the other room" and I copied their files under their damn nose, while taking care to return his copies to him afterward.

Of course, the guy with the originals wants everyone to get copies using his photocopier, which happens to be coin-operated and expensive to use, and doesn't like competition. But I feel no obligation to respect this guy's desire for zero competition, especially when the "guy" is actually a big, rich corporation that didn't even write the originals, but merely purchased them from someone, probably for a song.

Literally.

"""There's nothing that allows you to unilaterally change the iTMS terms and restrictions just because you have a cute technical hack."

Funnily enough, Apple doesn't seem to mind if Apple is the one unilaterally changing the terms and restrictions. Turnabout is fair play."

Umm, the Terms say they can be changed at any time, so their in the terms. But there is nothing in the terms saying the user can steal non-DRMed songs."

That Apple's terms are one-sided and unfair to the consumer is an excellent reason to violate them. Many of their provisions are unenforceable in any sane jurisdiction anyway, especially any that let them retroactively change the terms. EULAs like
those, especially ones that let a vendor retroactively change the terms at any time and without notice, are a mockery of contract law and it is a justifiable act of civil disobedience to ignore such "terms" and spread the message that they should be treated as laughable, while still honoring a contract that adheres to proper contract law, involved negotiation rather than being handed down from on high, and was signed and dated in writing by both sides. And requires any change to the terms to be likewise in writing and signed by both sides.

""Also, it achieves the same technical result as downloading the song normally, burning to disk, and then ripping it back sans DRM. Viewed as merely a shortcut to doing this (whilst saving on blank disks) it's hard to find fault with it."

No, it doesn't. It preserves the digital file at its original bitrate with no loss through transcoding."

So? Is it, or is it not, a non-DRM'd copy of the same song? That's what counts. Unless you think forcing people to pay extra for a decent bitrate is a morally valid thing for Apple to do.

""Applying the DRM after it's downloaded is like a bank teller handing you the cashbox, and asking you to pretty please not take any more money than you said you would."

I don't agree, but even if that were true, that doesn't give you a "right" to steal it. I don't know where you people get these ideas."

In other words, it doesn't give you a "right" to swap it on Grokster. The last time I checked, using PyMusique does not automatically swap the resulting files on Grokster. Nor does it even enable swapping the files where this would not otherwise be possible -- burn to DVD, rip back, and share and you can achieve the same effect without PyMusique. Therefore, using PyMusique is not analogous to taking more money from the box. It's analogous to stuffing it in your wallet instead of putting it in a generously-provided smaller lockbox, while the bank keeps the key and you have to go through some bureaucratic rigmarole to get them to come and unlock it every time you want to spend a few dollars from your withdrawal.

"And you do not have the tights to do whatever you want with copyrighted material."

Thank God. There are some people that should simply never, ever wear tights, on pain of death, at least not in public. And I'm fairly sure I'm one of them.

"I'm trying to protect fools from retarded baseless opinions that are only driven by a desire to have free stuff."

If it's "stuff" whose marginal cost of reproduction approaches zero, there's nothing foolish or baseless about realizing that either it's free, or it should be.

"Apple's DRM is one of the most lax, and most permissive in the industry, but, clearly, still too 'evil' for the stupid purists."

So anyone who doesn't want a noose around their neck, even if the person holding the rope promises not to tighten it or open a trap door under their feet, is "stupid"?

"Apple needs to tighten their DRM every time someone like Jon figures out a way around - hence, what has Jon really achieved, except a very short-lived work-around? Once Apple tightens their DRM, the purists (read: morons), scream louder how Apple steals their 'rights' (neglecting, conveniently, that they are the cause of this, to start with)."

Oh, really? So, as one of the "purists" it is MY fault if Apple tightens the DRM because of DVD JON's actions? Since when did I become responsible for DVD Jon's actions? I don't remember conceiving or giving birth to him less than 18 years ago. And I seem to recall slavery was abolished in this country a century or more ago. I certainly don't own any that I'm aware of. So how, exactly, am I responsible for DVD Jon's actions according to your moral theory?

"And who authorized anyone to TAKE non-DRMed files from Apple's servers? It is theft. This is not file sharing."

It certainly isn't -- PyMusique users are actually paying for the music, unlike Grokster users! Surely then PyMusique is the very devil, and must be destroyed, while Grokster is merely a minor demon. I think "tf" should seek the advice of professionals. Neuroligists, and that's just for starters. There's probably a treatable, organic cause of his irrationality and fanaticism; obsessive-compulsive disorder in the "forty-eight posts to one blog in forty-eight hours" form rather than the more common "forty-eight hand washings after taking a leak" variety is a likely candidate. Temporal lobe epilepsy cannot be ruled out either.

"It is circumvention because:

"No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected" DMCA 1201(a)(1)

and what are you doing? Going around a measure degned to control access."

Under that theory, yasth, buying a CD that contains a track available from iTMS is a DMCA violation, since you can thus circumvent Apple's DRM while still getting the song, and still paying for it in fact. More evidence that the DMCA is overbroad, read: must be destroyed. (That it allows copyright to be effectively extended past its expiration date unilaterally by the copyright
owner, and allows the copyright owner to prevent otherwise-fair use on penalty of fines and/or prison, effectively allowing an end run around every last limitation and consumer and journalistic protection built into copyright law, is the main reason.)

"Actually I can tell a different playing AAC 128 vs. Lossless through my B&W speakers."

It's the monitor that is the component in your system that can be color or B&W, not the speakers. :)

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80. Joe Estock on March 19, 2005 3:36 AM writes...

Yes, however is it fair that only users of Windows or MacOS can purchase music online? Of course not. Long time linux/unix fans enjoy music just as much as the next bloke. Get with the times - we don't discriminate agaist different races so why should we discriminate agaist what operating system one chooses.

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81. Soviut on March 19, 2005 1:39 PM writes...

Something TF really needs clarification on is the fact that these files are being stored on the server in NON-DRM'd form, they are being purchased in NON-DRM'd form, they are being transmitted in NON-DRM'd form...the only time a DRM is ever involed is during the last phase of the operation ON THE CLIENT! PyMusique simply ignores this stage.

The user has paid for the file, they're not leeching from the server. They're being transmitted an unprotected file, this is what the itunes store sends them. They're simply ignoring the last stage in the transmission. This isn't even retroactivly stripping a DRM, this is simply not applying it in the first place.

It would be apple's fault for not making the transaction more secure. They should be transmitting the user's hardware lock hash string to the server, having it DRM the file there, and THEN send it.

What i don't like about copy protection and DRMs are that they basically punish the honest people while the pirates don't have to deal with it. I mean, you download an mp3 you don't have to worry about what will play it, where you can burn it, how many computers you decide to put it on, etc. Same goes for a lot of copy protection in software, forcing you to insert CDs all the time, use dongles, enter challenge response questions, having to get new soft keys from the company whenever you switch computers, etc.

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82. Yo on March 19, 2005 2:53 PM writes...

It is kind of funny this discussion...

Firstly a score of people is ripping mp3 files en masse from the net... making the record companies and artist worrying if they loose out on som money - hence inventing a lot of "clever" methods to limit the practice (amongst them DRM). So, after this the same people (mostly) that didn't pay in the first place is now complaining their "rights" have been limited...

Seems kind of funny to me :)

Why does people have such a problem with the DRM business anyways? Plenty of ways to get DRM free music - and why don't you guys just make some yourself if it is that important to have full control with it?
Oh.. so there IS some value to others musical works after all... ;)

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83. TomCS on March 19, 2005 5:56 PM writes...

Sorry if I am late on this thread. But what we have here is surely a problem of managing the effects of different technologies which use different processes to do the same thing. The thing is to merchandise recorded music, respecting the various rights (the librettist, the composer, the arranger, the musicians, the producer, the record company, the sleeve designer, the sleeve note author, etc. etc). Some of these rights are under different levels of protection from the law (and under different laws in different countries). But whether as wax 78, 12inch LP, four track, cassette, mini-disc or DRMed download, what was bought was a restricted license to enjoy the music. If we don't like that we can go to live concerts (without a right to record or photograph) or buy a piano or a guitar and make our own music.

As technology advanced, some of these restrictions have become very difficult in practice to enforce. Again, different compromises evolved in different legal jurisdictions, such as a tax on blank media. Interpreting "fair use" under copyright law is not static, even for printed material in the scanner/photocopier world, and in Europe new procedures have come into effect in the last year or so. Just because we have all in our time copied tracks from an LP to a cassette and given it to a friend or son or daughter does not mean we were doing so legally. Nor does the availabilty of recordable CDs or DVDs.

The record companies (and rights licensing organisations) have been here before, over cassettes, and still are subject to massive global piracy: objectively they have tried to produce a series compromises which allow personal use they cannot stop without too much cost or negative PR. Remember last year they were also trying to insert DRM into shop-sold discs, outside the CD standard (but they seem to have stopped for the moment). Want to play the CD over the PA at a ball game, you need to acquire another license. Or as a musical background to your magic act, or stage performance.

The Apple iTMS system is one such example, with the DRM designed to allow a reasonable non-commercialisable degree of personal use. That does not mean that it has to be foolproof, or uncrackable, merely hard enough to deter substantially damaging abuse of the rights which were being sold.

So? I doubt if this latest hack, particulary without an easy OSX port, is enough to provoke panic at the RIAA. But prima facie it sets out to defeat DRM, so I hope they throw the full force of the DMCA now at any of the group inside the US jurisdiction, and at some of the users if they can be identified. And if the hackers and their misguided fans do succeed in distributing an easy version, then they will either force Apple to change their system, or have it withdrawn (in favour of ???). So in addition to facilitating abuse of the iTMS contract and the licensors' rights, it is stupid. Not clever in any sense, or in anybody's interests. The on-line community should treat them not as heroes but as pariahs (and so should the EFF, who are seriously misguided in trying to defend this sort of activity).


TomCS

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84. Larry on March 19, 2005 6:25 PM writes...

Make all the car and bike analogies you like; they are completely immaterial. Those items are tangible property, and there are rules about them. Recordings of sound and picture are intellectual property, and the rules about them are different. That's just the way it is.

When you buy a CD, you have some legal rights to use its *contents* in certain ways. Yes, you own the piece of plastic free and clear, but you don't own the songs. Why does a blank CD cost about a quarter, and the latest Alicia Keys CD cost about 18 bucks? The materials are very similar, right? We're paying a premium for the content. Just because I rightfully own the disc does not give me unlimited permission to use the contents in whatever way I see fit. By purchasing the CD, I implicitly agree to comply with the law.

Similarly, buying music online from any service gives me legal custody of the files, but there are the same restrictions on my use of the content, PLUS whatever restrictions and conditions I've agreed to by using iTMS, MS, Napster, or whomever. That's the deal we agree to when we use those services. Moreover, DMCA says quite clearly that I'm not allowed to circumvent/bypass/disable/remove whatever security or encryption methods are sent along in a file with its musical contents, regardless of at what stage in the transaction they're applied, or however lame those protections may or may not be. That's the deal I agree to as a citizen -- to obey laws, even those I might not agree with. I have methods at my disposal -- lawsuits, petitions, elections -- if I think I can get the law changed.

Another way to consider it: commercial DVDs are encrypted, but they'll still play OK in my DVD player. That's the legitimate, intended use. The DVD has not been sold to me with the unlimited freedom to alter the content as much as I might like. How hard is it to get around the encryption to duplicate the movies' files? Not very hard. But is it legal? No, and the courts have said so (in the US, anyway) in their rulings against legitimate, mainstream software companies that marketed products to remove DVD encryption methods even for "personal, backup purposes."

How is pyMusique any different? Can a reasonable person argue a legitimate and legal purpose for it simply because it exploits a technical loophole? Remember, the legal system considers not only the literal letter of the law, but just as importantly, the intent of the law.

Lastly: anyone, without the use of pyMusique, may purchase a song from iTMS, burn it to an audio CD, and reimport import it to iTunes from the CD as an AIFF file. It will be sonically identical (although a much larger file) and free of any DRM. If you are concerned that Apple may change the rules of its DRM, at least this method will protect your investment while keeping you out of trouble.

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85. brian on March 19, 2005 9:01 PM writes...

Sorry ...but I am new to all this crap...what does DRM stand for...

THANK YOU

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86. Scote on March 20, 2005 12:23 AM writes...

Tom CS wrote:
"So? I doubt if this latest hack, particulary without an easy OSX port, is enough to provoke panic at the RIAA."

Sorry, TomCS, the OSX port is largely irrelevant. The vast majority of iTMS purchases are on Windows, so the windows hack really is the significant one. Studies show that Windows is the main platform used for piracy.

TomCS on the Hack "Not clever in any sense"

Oh, contrary, it was extremely clever. The programers discovered that iTMS tunes are delivered from Apple as non-DRM'd song in an encrypted stream to iTunes along with a key to decrypt the song. Once the song is decrypted, the song was re-packaged by iTunes on the local computer with the Fair Play DRM. The idea of skipping this last step is so simple it is brilliant. Many insights seem obvious when looked at in hindsight, but thinking of the idea that nobody thought of is what separates clever from not so clever people. That you don't recognize this, TomCS, suggests you may be in the later category. (It seems obvious, now that I've said it...) Though I'd say your writing is a notch above many, even if I disagree with you.

As for Digital Rights Management, there is no consumer who ever asked a record company to please, please limit my ability to play my music. DRM from a consumer perspective is more accurately described as Digital Rights Restriction or Digital Rights Prevention. Part of the reason I characterize DRM as DRP is because it makes it technically impossible for consumers to exercise their rights under copyright, including the right to re-sell their music purchases. Wait--not so fast--I can hear the "you don't own the music" crowd ready to chime in with you only "license" the music. Well, technically that is true with a book or cd, too. But the doctrine of first sale allows you to resell your purchased copyrighted work without the permission of the rights holder. This is the only reason that used book stores, libraries and video rental stores are legal. Apple has even had to admit that re-selling an iTMS song without the permission of Apple may be legal, but Apple doesn't make it technically possible to do. So, this is a case of Digital Rights Prevention technology keeping consumers from exercising their legal rights.

DRP also means that all of our future audiobook, e-book, video and music purchases become transient and exist only as long as the companies that sell them exist and allow you to have them. No longer will you be able to pass down your favorite stories and music to your children. DRP steals this ability from you. Want to change to a mac or a pc? DRP can prevent you from taking your purchases with you. Go ahead, just toss them. Remember, the technology won't let you re-sell them, either. DRP means all culture is just rented, even if you paid full price.

DRP has a great potential for harm. Those who say that you can just buy a CD are ignoring the fact that more and more CDs are copy protected and that eventually there will be no CDs made just as there are no LPs made. DRP must be fought now, while while it is still possible to own anything.

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87. Neo on March 20, 2005 12:50 AM writes...

"Why does people have such a problem with the DRM business anyways? Plenty of ways to get DRM free music - and why don't you guys just make some yourself if it is that important to have full control with it?"

Maybe because some people want to have DRM free music and still be honest and *pay* for it? Did that ever occur to you?

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88. NV on March 20, 2005 1:02 AM writes...

Everyone sounds like the government. " You are guilty until proven innocent..." Breaking DRM does not mean you are stealing music. Not if you actually paid for the song or got it free under legal circumstances(ie. promotions,pepsi,...) .What's the difference between breaking DRM in the digital domain(DeDRM) and the analog domain(rerecording, Audio HiJack...) I say if you paid for it, do what the hell you want with it, except upload it to file sharing servers with intent on breaking sales and monetary gain for the right's holders. I understand about agreeing to a TOS, but what does Apple do when they give you the ability to do a bunch of things with a product or piece of music and change their mind later when they are pressured by the RIAA or full of greed. I think manufactures and digital resellers should put in the TOS that they won't regress a products capabilities from what they introduced it at in V. 1.0 through the life of the product. Nothing worse than paying for iTunes music or iLife and then getting tricked on functionality later on. What happens when you invest in a product and a collection and one day they do something where it makes it unusable for you or you have to get a whole new collection for it to be used on multiple machines. I say stay ahead of the game and control your investment. And by the way, Apple is a reseller not a distributor. They buy the content and resell it at a profit. That's reselling, just like Best Buy. Apple does not own any rights on the music. And in alot of cases neither does the artist. If your on a major label, you pretty much sign over all rights to the music when you get a contract. Indies are different. Depends on the contract and recoup.

I say stick with used CDs and records. I spend less and do what I want with them. And don't have to wait for a digital product to be ITMS compatible before I use it. It's all DIY. Let all the lazy people use DRM'd, LoFi crap at 128k on your new 24bit / 192k converter stream-a-majig. Stupidity has finally caught up with the masses.

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89. moof on March 20, 2005 3:21 AM writes...

Looks like apple broke that little toad's software. It doesn't work anymore.

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90. Scote on March 20, 2005 4:05 AM writes...

moof wrote:
"Looks like apple broke that little toad's software. It doesn't work anymore."

How would you know it doesn't work anymore? Unless ****you**** tried it. For test purposes only, I'm sure....

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91. J. Love on March 20, 2005 11:07 AM writes...

I find it sad that the human race wants the best for nothing. I remember Napster, and the immediate rush that I had thinking how unreal it was that I could "find" free music with little effort. I remember how quickly I became comfortable with stealing music. I remember it strongly, because I was right there in 1998-99 working in San Mateo for a web audio company.

Now, I'm a little older, and I'm thinking back on my years as a kid, when I would copy a record or a cassette (and you're bitching about paying for 128 bps downloads??? cassettes sounded like crap, jammed, and fell apart - quit your whinning) from a friend, but it didn't happen all that often. Today, it is so easy to steal music, and yes, I hate the big industry in our country as much as anyone, but I also see a real merit to doing things the "right" way.

My point is that I see this DRM struggle is really all about teething pains. The industry is madly scrambling to get some control back over its intellectual property, and perhaps the current solution with iTunes, the new Napster or any other music service with DRM isn't perfect, but it is a start. Bypassing it isn't going to improve it. Has any criminal who's tried to break out of his cell been given more freedom? Um, no. Try behaving better, making friends with the guards and the warden and perhaps you'll have some influence. In other words, participate in coming up with better ways to improve upon this mess, not adding to its chaos.

I do believe that we ought to make our best efforts to not circumvent the systems that are being established to make this process work for all parties. 99 cents for a song is really no sweat off of anyone's back, particularly when it is still so damn easy to bypass the DRM associated with that 99 cent song.

If DRM upsets you so much, here's a novel concept - shut off your computer, get in your car and drive down to the local record shop where you can buy a CD with no DRM and support your local business. Vote with your dollars kids, don't look for easy ways to steal your music and justify those ways because you don't like DRM.

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92. The E. M. on March 20, 2005 1:23 PM writes...

To Larry: *screw* the DMCA. It is a bad law, meant to favor only corporations and not people, and should be disobeyed as often as possible.

In a perfect world, that would mean it would eventually be tested and thus dismantled in the courts, but given the power of the almighty $ there I don't have any faith that individual rights would prevail. So I'll have to settle for recommending extremely widespread disobedience and being happy that the United States != the world.

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93. Larry on March 20, 2005 3:20 PM writes...

The E.M.: "*screw* the DMCA. It is a bad law, meant to favor only corporations and not people, and should be disobeyed as often as possible.

Yes, it's meant to protect the owners of creative materials, and many times those owners are insanely big corporations (whose owners are individual people, by the way). But in this application, DMCA is just another layer of laws, technical means to protect existing rights under copyright law, and copyright law in and of itself hardly provides the consumer with any rights at all. So even if the DMCA went away, the underlying reasons to have it in the first place remain. Sorry, it doesn't let you off the hook; you'd just be harder to sue.

"In a perfect world, that would mean it would eventually be tested and thus dismantled in the courts..."

In that same perfect world, we wouldn't need additional laws to protect the rights of others since we'd all be playing by the rules.

We brought this on ourselves. And, as others here have pointed out so eloquently, the more we step around the rules, the tighter the rules will become; I would prefer that didn't happen, but those same big, mean, ugly corporations aren't going away.

I genuinely hope that those who feel that unlimited duplication and distribution is OK don't rely on royalties for income, or don't own stock in a media company, or have a bank, insurance policy or retirement plan that does. If so, they may manage to be screwed twice: tighter digital rules, AND real money coming out of their own pockets.

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94. Rob Wyatt on March 21, 2005 12:40 PM writes...

Apple's DRM system is not fair - unless you own and use Apple products exclusively. I would have no issue with Apple's DRM system if Apple licensed FairPlay to other vendors. Why should I be forced to buy an Apple Airport Express w/ AirTunes to stream iTunes Music Store purchases to my stereo? I prefer my Roku SoundBridge.

Companies like Apple, Microsoft, the record labels, etc. need to understand that no DRM will EVER be unbreakable. If they stopped being so greedy and paranoid and created a truly FAIR system, there'd be no need to crack the DRM for 99% of the people out there. I should be able to play music (or video, or whatever) that I purchase on ANY device. I don't care if I have to register the device first (much like one must now register his/her computer with Apple in order to play DRM-wrapped iTunes downloads), but I should not be forced to buy products from one vendor, nor should the number of devices that play the media files be limited.

Until the industry starts acting reasonably, I will not support the iTunes store. I've bought a handful of songs from iTunes and stripped away the DRM using JHymn so that my SoundBridge can play the files. The only songs I've purchased have been exclusives. Until iTunes offers a truly fair DRM system (and higher bitrates), I'll stick to CDs.

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95. used2wrkther on March 21, 2005 10:27 PM writes...

I buy, download, backup, burn an mp3 convert to CD for my dvd player attached to my stereo, and yet sync the protected music to my iPod. The convenience is stunning and I dont have to fork out a full 15 bux to get one good song out of 12 on a CD from a store I had to drive miles to. Thats a great deal for only 99 cents.

The procedure works for any platform that free iTunes can work on...even if the media erroneously and intentionally goes out of its way to paint it as "for iPod users only".

I own the music. I love the price and get to chose only what I want to buy. The protection scheme doesnt effect the music quality. The AIFF and then mp3 conversion route is easily automated and removes the protection, although it still doesnt bother me personally if it didnt. I am no codehead, but Im also not so damned lazy that I sob when I cant have something pre-chewed for me like some other computer babies.

Apple fought and wrangled a few years to finally bring this convenience to Canada, working country by country with unruly greedy music execs and companies until everyone found an agreement they could sign on to. The music companies are making a killing on the song sales, not Apple. (Try doing a cost analysis of online distribution through iTunes versus cutting a disc through a record label and see what I mean)

Now 'music and law oriented powers that be' are trying to convince me that backing up my own purchased music is illegal in spite of being covered by Fair Use rights. Music companies lust after a golden egg when they see it and are trying to screw us all AND Apple by upping the song prices (by double or more if they get their way).

Yet all this bickering here is over some simple, easy to live with protection scheme?

Ever wonder if Apple isnt obligued by the contracts they wrangled to include and police SOME form of protection for the convenience factor already provided? Ever wonder if lame, unecessary hacks, cracks and ethically questionable practices like interface skirting would ever void it for ALL of us, or change things to some horrible subscription service that takes your music away the moment the membership expires?

Geezuz, are you all too busy whining about the small stuff to stand up against the big crap you dont see occurring in the meantime?

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