Apple blocks iTunes Music Store DRM hack | iLounge News


Apple blocks iTunes Music Store DRM hack

Apple today confirmed that it has closed a security hole that allowed users to connect to the iTunes Music Store and purchase songs without digital rights management (DRM) restrictions. The company said that iTunes users will need to upgrade to version 4.7 or higher in order to buy songs. While not specifically stating so, Apple apparently updated the store to block access with PyMusique, recently released software created by three programmers including “DVD Jon” Johansen that enabled users to tap into iTunes to buy DRM-free tracks.

“The security hole in the iTunes Music Store which was recently exploited has been closed, and as a consequence the iTunes Music Store will now sell music only to customers using iTunes version 4.7,” Apple said in a statement provided to iPodounge. The company went on to note that approximately only 15 percent of iTunes users will be affected by this forced upgrade.

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So looks like DVD Jon has succeeded only in indirectly pissing off 15% of the iTunes users who now have to upgrade to 4.7 in order to continue buying songs.

Posted by cmoney on March 21, 2005 at 1:38 PM (CST)


^^^ LOL! People will find another hole to exploit I’m sure. Nothing is crack-proof. If a human wrote the program another human can bring it down.

And what’s with this DRM? Isn’t it “digital rights media” or something? Why do you want to crack it if you’ve already purchased the song through iTunes? That doesn’t make sense… you’ve already shelled out your money for it, right? So, what? You want to put it on Limewire or something for other people to use what you paid for? I’m lost with all this music stealing/music rights stuff…

Can someone fill me in? Thank in advance.

Posted by FallN on March 21, 2005 at 1:44 PM (CST)


More power to you Jon…is Napster To Go the next hack?

Posted by Talking Madness on March 21, 2005 at 1:44 PM (CST)


DRM is “Digital Rights Management”. The DRM in songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store allows playback only on a limited number of computers (and attached iPods) authrorized by the purchaser. Copy the songs to an unauthorized computer, and they won’t play.

The PyMusique “crack” exploited a hole in iTMS, allowing users to legally purchase songs as with iTunes, but the songs were downloaded before the DRM was applied. That’s the hole Apple closed today.

Posted by Fangorn on March 21, 2005 at 1:51 PM (CST)


So if you have to buy it even without DRM what’s the point? If you own the iPod and own the computers why would you care if it had or didn’t have DRM?

I don’t know… maybe it’s because I’m an honest person but I just don’t see why anyone who literally LEGALLY purchased the music even without DRM would care… it can already play on 5 computers and any iPod connected to those 5 computer’s right? Who in God’s name has 6 or more computers they want the music played on? Or is this someone that wants to bootleg CDs and songs on things like Kazaa, LimeWire, etc.?

I just don’t get the criminal mind… :(

Posted by FallN on March 21, 2005 at 2:00 PM (CST)


As I see it, the reasons to crack it are:

A) as a protest against DRM. Which I can understand, although I blame pirates for it more than anyone else. I hate DRM, but the terms on iTunes are far more generous than anything I would ever want to do… or could do legally even without DRM. Sadly, that DRM is necessary or mainstream music would never have become a downloadable market.

B) to more easily play on non-iPod devices, if they support AAC. (Apple’s DRM is Apple-only, but AAC is not.) I have an iPod so I don’t care personally, but if you just had to get your mitts on a sweet Dell DJ, but still want to shop at iTunes, cracking Apple’s DRM is going to save you some steps.

C) To make it easier to use your music “forever” in the event that Apple goes under AND nobody else takes over iTunes. An unlikely scenario, but a lot can change in 50 years!

Currently, if such a “doomsday scenario” were to happen, you’d have to burn your songs to CD and re-import, giving you DRM-free music with no authorization required. (A nice backup to have anyway—and playable in any CD player.) But when you re-import, you lose EITHER quality (maybe noticeable for you, maybe not) OR, if you prefer no quality-loss, you lose HD space when choosing a lossless format. Your choice which price to pay.

I figure that choice isn’t bad enough to bother me: by the time such a doomsday scenario were to occur, not only would there be plenty of warning, but also HD space will be cheap enough—even on iPods—that I won’t mind using lossless compression to re-import. Voila! I’ll have all my iTunes purchases at the exact quality I first downloaded them, and without DRM! And lossless compression doesn’t mean the files are as big as raw CD digital audio: look at Apple Lossless for example. Not as compact as AAC or MP3, but it still saves a lot of storage space.

So if you’re like me and the “doomsday scenario” doesn’t bother you, and the iPod is your player of choice, this doesn’t mean a whole lot.

If you’re a pirate that was planning on stealing stuff this way… it also doesn’t mean a whole lot since you would have had to pay for the songs anyway :D Better go back to pirate school and learn to rip CDs ;) Or go pirate from Napster which is unlimited.

Posted by Nagromme on March 21, 2005 at 2:06 PM (CST)


But it’s a hole Apple had to close, inevitably. It appears that they ALREADY closed it in the last two versions of iTunes! 4.7 and 4.7.1. I expected we’d have to download a new version of iTunes over this issue, but that’s not the case.

So perhaps Apple was letting older iTunes versions in while they could, but they may have guessed all along that they’d have to shut out older versions someday when someone discovered the hole. That day has come.

I agree that the back-and-forth isn’t over. DVD Jon or somebody will learn to spoof iTunes 4.7 or something, and Apple will respond again. Maybe by pre-encrypting all songs with a universal key built into iTunes and iTunes only. Then iTunes would convert from THAT to your specific DRM.

It’s a sad “arms race.” Most of us aren’t the RIAA, and most of us aren’t music pirates. Most of know that if a song is worth listening to, it’s worth paying the artist—even if you don’t like who the artist has signed contracts with. But we’re still caught in the middle of the battle.

I’m glad that at least Apple has SOME clout to restrain the RIAA’s greed.

Posted by Nagromme on March 21, 2005 at 2:09 PM (CST)


Thanks so much for the explanation and insight, Nagromme. I just don’t understand why people want to pirate something they just PAID to download from iTunes when there’s no monitary value in doing so. It’s not like the song can’t be already found for FREE and illigally on tons of file sharing networks so I don’t seeing anyone actually making money after they actually PAID for an iTunes AAC formated song when so few players can support, DRM or not. :shrug:

Well, I’m no pirate and I’m sure the majority of people aren’t. They’re honest, paying, conrtibuting memebers of society. I just wish pirates would go away. If there were no pirates we wouldn’t have all these [email protected] restrictions on legally bought and paid for music. Kinda steams my broccoli…

Posted by FallN on March 21, 2005 at 2:24 PM (CST)


I usually reimport my music after burning to to a cd anyway. I like the option to do with it as I please.

Posted by Goodlovin on March 21, 2005 at 2:29 PM (CST)


^^^ So if breaking DRM is as easily circumvented as buring the music to CD and re-importing it, what’s the need to hack into iTunes and break the DRM from there?

People are stupid. If all you have to do is burn it to CD why are they hacking?? Ugh… morons and these “morons” are making it bad for the rest of us. :(

Posted by FallN on March 21, 2005 at 2:55 PM (CST)



There are several legal, good reasons why you would

a) Want a file that was not DRM encoded and
b) Do not want to burn music to a CD and the reimport it.

Like others have mentioned—the ability to legally use the music on other DAPs besides the iPod.  To use the music on a home computer that might not have internet access, etc.

MY reason?  I normalize all my music using the wonderful AAC/MP3Gain software, but unfortunately, my fair and legal desire to have MP3s that don’t blow my ears out is prevented by some DRM, because MP3Gain cannot normalize the encoded music.  (iTunes Soundcheck is vastly inferior)

Furthermore, I feel like it is wasted effort and time to burn and reencode a song just to do with whatever I legally choose to do with it, and the ripping anf reencoding of music using a low bitrate, lossy format only serves to give me a lower quality soundfile.

Posted by NeoteriX on March 21, 2005 at 3:02 PM (CST)


Good point re software. Add to my list…

D) Using software other than iTunes for playback, but still using iTunes for purchasing.

(BTW, just to clear up a common misunderstanding: you can play iTunes music without the Internet. You just have to connect ONCE to authorize, and never need to again.)

Posted by Nagromme on March 21, 2005 at 3:11 PM (CST)


FallN: because the DRM shouldn’t be there in the first place.

So long as I have to jump through hoops just to play the file where and when I want the process isn’t transparent, and it sure isn’t worth what they charge. If they want to incorporate a bunch of shackles and chains on low bitrate files then there should be steep discounts for the consumer. Otherwise, if you’re going to charge real CD prices then we should be getting real CD quality without DRM. This has nothing to do with honesty and everything to do with corporate stupidity - don’t accept your fair use rights being destroyed by corporations that already have more rights and protections under the law than you or I.

Posted by Code Monkey on March 21, 2005 at 3:19 PM (CST)


We know that DRM exists to placate ignorant suits at the labels more than anything else, so they’ll let Apple sell their music.

But as we all know, DRM doesn’t stop one from burning the songs to CD and then ripping them into Windows Media Player as DRM-free mp3s with slightly lower quality. And the average person swapping/stealing music over p2p networks isn’t an audiophile who really cares about the slight loss in quality (let’s face it—people who really care about audio quality aren’t legally downloading from iTunes or getting files p2p… they’re iripping in lossless format from CDs or LPs, even).

So DRM does NOTHING to prevent fraud.  DRM is like security at airports—it serves to calm and impress the ignorant while doing little to actually make flying safer. The average consumer, who the system is supposedly built around, is the one most abused by the system.

Posted by leertracy on March 21, 2005 at 3:28 PM (CST)


I would hardly call Apple’s DRM “jumping through hoops”—download the song, and it immediately plays.  Where’s the hoop?

Copy it to another computer, and type in your password… that’s a big hoop, huh?

Mainstream music, as is sold on iTunes, goes for roughly $15 on a CD.  It goes for $10 on the iTMS.  They’re not charging CD prices, and the albums that do cost more than $10 online are few and far between.

Beggars can’t be choosers—if you don’t like the iTMS system, there are plenty of others out there.  If you use the iTMS, it’s sensible to wish for a different rights-management system in the future, but complaining about it to the degree that some do is askin to smashing yourself in the head with a hammer and then complaining to no end about how much your head hurts.

Posted by Jeff Hoppe on March 21, 2005 at 4:06 PM (CST)


Well, it’s not totally that people don’t like iTunes.
But the apple store doesn’t support Linux operating systems and I think the hack was made to be able to purchase iTunes from Linux computers and play on Linux computers. (At least so they say)
Just because people use Open Source OS’s doesn’t mean they have a problem with paying for music or with usingn an iPod.

Posted by Lilandra on March 21, 2005 at 4:17 PM (CST)


“Beggars can’t be choosers…”

As the purchaser of a copy of a copyrighted work, I am entitled to certain rights as defined by Title 17 of US Code Law, otherwise known as Copyright Law.  § 109 defines the rights I have under the first sale doctrine that I essentially have the right to do with the damn audio file I want to (as long as it doesn’t infringe on the copyright holder’s economic entitlement) so I’m well within my limits of whining about wanting to equalize my darned iTunes files—regardless of whether I paid 1 cent for them, 99 cents for them, or a hundred dollars!


Posted by NeoteriX on March 21, 2005 at 4:28 PM (CST)


Amen NeoteriX.. as long as DRM exists on purchased music, AND the quality of rips remains in its relatively substandard form, I’ll get my music through other channels.  There’s no way I’m going to buy crippled music.

As far the issue at hand, certainly Apple had to patch the hole, but there will ALWAYS be a way around DRM, copy-protection, etc.  One has to wonder if the lost profits are worth the cost of development.

Posted by quadraphonic on March 21, 2005 at 6:22 PM (CST)


Copyright Law. § 109 defines the rights I have under the first sale doctrine

Because you don’t actually buy any mechanical sound reproduction from Apple, but instead register a license on a per-use basis from the “iTunes Music Store Service”, your “first sale doctrine” does not apply. Your complete “rights” to alter or dispose of the licensed software are enumerated quite clearly by Apple in the Terms of Service.

You want to exercise “first sale doctrine”, buy a CD.

Posted by Demosthenes on March 21, 2005 at 7:34 PM (CST)


Come on guys…it’s obviously better to download music that has no DRM protection on it…stop trying to say that DRM is a good thing…DRM is a necessary thing…but far from good or ideal.

Ideally we would buy a song for $0.99 and own it forever…free of license agreement changes from Apple or the Labels.

Whether or not people should spend their time trying to crack Apple’s DRM in light of the fact that you have to pay for the song anyhow is debatable…but the benefit of having non-protected media is a no-brainer!

Posted by Talking Madness on March 21, 2005 at 8:04 PM (CST)

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