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Hacker reopens iTunes Music Store back door

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2005
News Categories: iTunes

Only a day after Apple blocked the original version of PyMusique,  Jon Lech Johansen says that he has posted an updated version of his software that allows users to once again tap into the iTunes Music Store and buy songs without digital rights management (DRM) protection.

In a post on his blog entitled “So sue me,” Johansen writes: “The iTunes Music Store recently stopped supporting iTunes versions below 4.7 in an attempt to shut out 3rd party clients. I have reverse engineered the iTMS 4.7 crypto which will once again enable 3rd party clients to communicate with the iTMS.”

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Comments

41

*rolls eyes*

all you mac fanatics tryin to defend somethin you know dang well could be so much better, the itunes music store. Now look, Ive used PCs for many years, written programs, used it for design, projects, homework. and it wasnt until just a couple weeks ago i went out and baught a powerbook g4, when I was using itunes on windows, i noticed there was no easy way to simply convert the file to an mp3, without it leaving my pc (the cd-r trick). this program, all its doing is leveling the playing ground, no one is losing money, if you read his post hes doing this for fair play. if every hacker/program writer did what big companys told them to do (i.e. dont make programs that threaten our programs) some of the programs we use today will never have survived. oh and by the way, you mac freaks who keep saying put him in jail, and crying foul—- little bit of info for ya,—in his country, he’s not breakin the law. *sigh*
should support his cause, itll only help us in the long run, either (1) his program will continue and itunes will keep up with the cat and mouse game which will ultimately lead to (a) a better piece of software that does what itunes does but gives customers what they were wanting from itunes + dvdjon software, or (b) itunes actually gives in and allows certain restrictions of their music to be lifted, (ya right, well not completly at least but in some way, they will essentially have to give what users want. ) EITHER way, its better for the user. so sit back, stop bashin, and let it all go smile

Posted by Xander on March 23, 2005 at 6:31 AM (PDT)

42

since you don’t actually buy the music, you only get a license, this should be compared to renting a car and not BUYING the car. Rental car companies cannot modify the terms of the contract once you sign it and when you’re in possession of the car.

And Apple can’t just change the terms of the contract, in the same manner, when you’re using the songs downloaded from itms

Posted by Doggymon on March 23, 2005 at 6:36 AM (PDT)

43

“The “taking a 4 door luxury sedan” makes no sense. You paid for a track, you lost that track, you got another copy - cost to apple? Virtually nothing I’d say.”

Why does a theft of “Virtually nothing” not count as theft. You took bandwidth you didn’t pay for redownloading something. You didn’t pay for it theft. You didn’t pay for DRM free music, you paid for DRM’d music. Its theft, open your eyes!

Posted by graphicgeek in Utica, NY on March 23, 2005 at 6:39 AM (PDT)

44

Doggymon - wrong - Apple have ALREADY changed the T&Cs;. Everything that you’ve already bought from iTMS will now be restricted. Not just what you buy from now on.

graphicgeek - why is getting another copy of something I already bought constitute theft? Or more to the point - why should I have to pay again? If I d/l some software and buy a licence and then my PC/Mac frags itself, I can simply d/l a new copy. If s/ware retailers worked like iTMS (ie: if you lose your copy of their s/ware, you have to buy another copy) there would be outrage. And tracks purchased from iTMS are just that - they’re software, just data.

I really fail to see how people don’t see the danger in companies doing things like this….

Posted by PugRallye on March 23, 2005 at 6:49 AM (PDT)

45

Its theft because it is not an offered service, if iTunes already offered this then it wouldn’t be theft. Yes good software companies offer to let you redownload. But do you think they would let you if it cost them alot? No, its cheaper for them because their consumer base is smaller. Unlike iTMS which has a lot of customers. I am not saying this shouldn’t be a service that iTMS, just that it currently isn’t, hence its theft.

PS I never have nor will I ever buy from the iTMS I just don’t get how people can’t see this is theft.

Posted by graphicgeek in Utica, NY on March 23, 2005 at 7:27 AM (PDT)

46

While I understand what Jon is trying to do, it is a double-edged sword.  Actively punching holes through their security only provides them with ammo for the argument that they will need MORE security including hardware-assisted DRM (which is already on its way if it hasn’t started shipping already).

Sechannell: Try taking a step back from your narrow view and see the big picture.  This has very little to do with Apple or iTunes or your iPod.  It has to do with how the industry is pushing towards measures to control how, when, and where we consume media.  Apple is just at the center of this because iTunes is currently the the most popular proponent of DRM.

Sure, you may feel that the terms are ok right now.  But do you honestly trust giving that power to a corporation?  Do you honestly think that these corporations can resist the urge to tweak those rights to squeeze out a few extra pennies from its customers?

What is to prevent them from eventually charging more to listen to your music during the rush hour drive to and from work?  What’s to stop them from charging more to watch a movie on weekends?  Maybe they’ll charge you based on how many devices you want it to play on.  After all, you are just “licensing” the media and they have every right to set the terms that you must agree to.

Oh, and all of these extra charges will come as the price we must pay to recoup the “revenue” lost to the pirates that continue to pirate their media.  Afterall, there will always be pirates and their will always be lost revenue to recoup.

These examples may or may not be extreme… but I think you would have to be a fool not to believe that some suit somewhere is thinking about this.  The “unexpected” fringe benefits as a result of protecting themselves from piracy are surprisingly tasty and most definitely tempting.

Sometimes I think people that defend DRM are like Hansel and Gretel.  They’re eating the candy that has been given to them and they don’t want to leave… they just don’t realise that long-term price may be that they’re the ones who are eaten.

They’re only playing nice now because it is so easy for someone to just turn around and get what they want illegally… and heck, they’re not even playing that nice NOW!

Posted by Wolffe on March 23, 2005 at 7:46 AM (PDT)

47

I have never bought any music online and here are a couple of reasons why…

Firstly, it’s lesser quality than if I’d have bought a CD.

-True,but not enough of a difference to matter for most of todays throw-a-way music-

It has DRM which is restrictive - I can play my CD on as many CD players as I like.

-I use my iTunes and Napster songs whereever I like as well-


Once I’ve bought a CD - I own it. I can sell it or do what I like with it. When I buy a track online, all I have is a licence to use it - and the terms and conditions are already changing (like Apple restrricting the number of other people who can listen to it) - and this will continue to become more restrictive.

-A used cd is worth maybe $3,big deal. I can burn my itunes songs to a cd and use it wherever,give them to friends,whatever I want.-

Basically - the track is not mine, how I use it is not my decision, even though I paid for it.

-Once the songs are burned to a cd-r,they are mine to.-

Also, the tracks are in AAC format which works fine for an iPod, but what about my g/f’s iRiver?

-Again,burn your tracks to a cd,then rerip as mp3. The sound quality degrade is minimal (so long as you only do a given song file once) and then download to whatever player you want.-

No, I’m sorry, but convenience aside (if you really can’t wait until tomorrow until you can go to the shops), there seems no reason why I would want to pay for this inferior service….

-Well,70% of my music are single songs from various albums. I can’t afford to pay $12,13,16 for a cd with less then 3 songs on it that I want. So,you buy a $13 cd,rip the 3 songs you want,then sell it for $4? Yeah thats smart. I’d rather spend $15 in itunes and get 15 songs I love,then $15 on a 12 song cd and only like 2 songs. Again,with a little effort you can do whatever you want with online purchased music and not suffer enough of loss in sound quality to matter.-

-Not saying your way is wrong,just showing you the other side of the coin.- :o)

Posted by CanofAir on March 23, 2005 at 8:13 AM (PDT)

48

Ultimately, the only real solution is to wrap DRM server side. When that happens it going to suck as download time will be much longer. And since more work will be done on their side, Apple will need more machines to just do the DRM, which will translate to more cost, that will probably end up passing on to consumers in higher price. So even if you don’t use Jon’s softwares, you’ll be paying for it.

And reminder, CDs are not DRM free. Many of them will not play on computers and/or can’t be burned to mp3s. You can try and get around this with a magic market without damagin the last track of the CD too.

Posted by Nipith in Los Angeles, CA on March 23, 2005 at 8:38 AM (PDT)

49

Bingo! ConofAir

You can ##### and moan about the restrictions, but for many of us, the upside is more than worth while. Burning to CD and reimport may be a bit of a hassle, and you can complain about sound degradation. Most people are fine with even just FM quality music. I’ll deal with those hassle for 33.3% discount on the price and the ability to buy only the songs I want from a CD. And as I mentioned, even CDs are not DRM free now a day.

Posted by Nipith in Los Angeles, CA on March 23, 2005 at 8:46 AM (PDT)

50

Nipith, DRM’d CD’s do exist, but are by no means common (yet). My personal CD collection is nearing 2500, and not one of them is DRM’d.

When DRM’d CDs become the standard (and unfortunately, I expect that to happen), that’s when I stop buying CDs. If the music industry wants to chase off their best customers (and I think I certainly qualify as one), this is a good way to do it.

Posted by Fangorn in Texas on March 23, 2005 at 9:05 AM (PDT)

51

If you can’t rip the CDs you buy, then you have no choice but to buy a second digital copy that you can place on your portable.  Is that acceptable?

Even though you’ve always had the right to do that through fair use, I guess we should give up that right.  We may be paying twice, but gosh-darn-it, that’s just our part in the war against piracy.  I’m sure it pains the industry to know that we had to shell out twice…

We were originally given the right to fair use against the wishes of this same industry… and now you’re willing to sell that right for a 33.3% discount?  I’d rather save at least 50% by not having to shell out more than once for same media because of a restriction they have intentionally imposed.

The CD reimport is a loophole that they choose to overlook right now.  Do you honestly think that in the long term they’ll go through all of this effort to lock the doors and then leave the windows wide open?  Enjoy it while it lasts.

Posted by Wolffe on March 23, 2005 at 9:08 AM (PDT)

52

Nice one! I love this guy.

Posted by iPodNod in London, UK on March 23, 2005 at 9:59 AM (PDT)

53

I’ve got to disagree with you Wolffe.  I chose to purchase an iPod and use iTunes with full knowledge of DRM and the restrictions that come with it.  I’m cool with it, if I wasn’t I would have gone another route.

You say this “has to do with how the industry is pushing towards measures to control how, when, and where we consume media.”  I think you’re being paranoid and ridiculous.  No one has controlled “when” I consume media and short of piracy the “industry” has always controlled how and where we consume media.  You can’t watch a DVD on your VCR can you?  The fact of the matter is we are entering a digital age and the people who create the media have got to institute limitations to prevent piracy. 

You ask if I “trust giving that power to a corporation?”  Pretty ridiculous question really.  You state, “What is to prevent them from eventually charging more to listen to your music during the rush hour drive to and from work? What’s to stop them from charging more to watch a movie on weekends?”  The simple answer, the market.  That’s what.  If Apple makes those changes and another “corporation” doesn’t, they lose the edge AND customers. 

What people like you and Jon Johansen fail to recognize or respect is the fact these are copyrighted materials which are controlled by someone other than yourself.  Just because you purchase a CD does not give you the right to do whatever you like with its contents anymore than purchasing music from iTunes does. 


Oh, and all of these extra charges will come as the price we must pay to recoup the “revenue” lost to the pirates that continue to pirate their media. Afterall, there will always be pirates and their will always be lost revenue to recoup.

These examples may or may not be extreme… but I think you would have to be a fool not to believe that some suit somewhere is thinking about this. The “unexpected” fringe benefits as a result of protecting themselves from piracy are surprisingly tasty and most definitely tempting.

Sometimes I think people that defend DRM are like Hansel and Gretel. They’re eating the candy that has been given to them and they don’t want to leave… they just don’t realise that long-term price may be that they’re the ones who are eaten.

They’re only playing nice now because it is so easy for someone to just turn around and get what they want illegally… and heck, they’re not even playing that nice NOW!

Posted by sechannell in United States on March 23, 2005 at 10:04 AM (PDT)

54

Just a note, the second half of my previous post, staring with “Oh and all of these extra charges” was previously posted by Wolffe.  Don’t know how it got tagged on my post, but I can’t edit it now.  Sorry.

Posted by sechannell in United States on March 23, 2005 at 10:10 AM (PDT)

55

Imagine our current situation in comparison to the entire history of the music industry.  It has been a constant evolving industry in terms of marketting.  Digital media is introducted with the mp3-  the market had come full circle to bite the industry in the ###- the digital compact disc, created to make money off of consumers, created one of the most sought after pirated industry known to economics.  pirating music is unbelievably easy.  And this change in the availability of pirated music gave us consumers a chance to realize that the music industry has been screwing us for years.  We have reacted to that, and have embraced mp3s/digital music and helped redefine how music is consumed.. we are demanding an entirely new schema where we are more in control of what we want and when we want it.  now, restrictions are being placed on that situation.We should expect it, but it doesn’t mean we should accept it.
Wolfe said it best when he explained that “Sometimes I think people that defend DRM are like Hansel and Gretel. They’re eating the candy that has been given to them and they don’t want to leave… they just don’t realise that long-term price may be that they’re the ones who are eaten.”
To further that arguement, I suppose I’d like anyone who is opposed to Johansen’s hilarious foiling of Apple’s plans should take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  Eventually the digital market will find its niche and will work in a less chaotic way.. but as consumers, I think it is our responsibility to challange the restrictions that are being constructed.  Johansen’s only opening the box up a little more… and making us all ask a few questions, as the roads for the future of the music industry are being paved…

Posted by brian jay kay on March 23, 2005 at 10:21 AM (PDT)

56

I’ve been buying CDs for almost 20 years now and have never “realized the music industry has been screwing me for years,” as brian kay jay stated.  I’ve gotten a lot of satisfaction out of the music I’ve purchased.

While I concede we are in the midst of a paradigm shift in the music industry, we are also witnessing the collective b****ing and moaning of a generation weaned on Napster’s “something for nothing principle.”

The bottom line is while I may physically own a CD, I do not “own” the copyrighted material on it and, contrary to several posts on this forum, it is not mine to do with as I wish.

Posted by sechannell in United States on March 23, 2005 at 10:54 AM (PDT)

57

I personally won’t concede “satisfaction” in paying 18$  for a cheaply manufactured plastic disc that offers little more functionality then a frisbee.  The price of purchasing the same copyrighted material for $9.99 digitally is more than reasonable to me, and the ability to purchase music at this price was not an option when the music industry was, as I stated, screwing us. 

I am admittidly a young part of the “Napter” generation, but my rebuttal is not “bullshiting” nor is it “moaning”, it is questioning what is handed to us as acceptible terms of ownership of copyrighted material.  Most of my collection was bought on CD and ripped as mp3s as an easier means of maintaining my hundreds of easily damagable compact discs.  My support of Johansen’s acts is justified by my decision to preserve what I purchase. 

When I bought a cd, I physically own it and can decide its fate, wether that includes making mp3s, burning mixed cds for my own enjoyment, or playing a pick-up game of Frolf.  In this case, preservation is being challanged as the control of DRM-wrapped mp3’s could continue to increase untill I lose what I consider is applicable ownership of what I payed for.

Posted by brian jay kay on March 23, 2005 at 11:19 AM (PDT)

58

Pug: “I would imagine that 99% of files illegally tradrd on the net are ripped from CDs.”

Well, duh.  They had to come from somewhere, and yes, most likely CDs, *because* of the copy protections in place with songs purchased onlines.  But you don’t think that would change if these backdoors to iTunes, Napster, etd. were left open?

Code Monkey: ““The terms are still more than fair for a 99 cent product.”

Really? Then why does my generally far less than $0.99 CD track have *no* restrictions?

The terms are no more fair than the notion that your car dealer should be able to tell you what days of the week you can drive and what route you must take even though you paid for the car.”

That’s for the consumer to decide.

How fair is it to shell out $14 for a CD that has one or two tracks of interest, and 60 minutes of utter crap?  Sure, there are CD singles, but most of them are still $3 or $4 apiece, and the record companies get to choose what’s a “single” and what’s not.  That doesn’t sound very fair, either.

Digital music w/ DRM is simply another option with its own set of pros and cons.

If I know I’m going to like the majority of the songs on an album (usually only the case with Greatest Hits releases) I’ll go ahead and buy the CD.  If I just want one or two tracks, it’s iTunes for me.

Posted by SPThom on March 23, 2005 at 11:53 AM (PDT)

59

Blimey - some of you people are just so naive.

“lost revenue” - have you SEEN the profits music and movie companies make?!?!

And even though profits may have slipped over recent years, how can that be attributed only to internet piracy?

People have always copied music and they always will - remember the cassette and cross bones “home taping is killing music” from the 70s and 80s? Didn’t kill music did it?

Maybe profits are down because the majors are putting out so much dross and hence people simply don’t want to buy it?

Some one made a comment about buying and iPod to use iTMS and that they were aware of the restrictions when they did so. Fair enough. But what about the restrictions TO COME. The ones you don’t yet know about because the record industry hasn’t dreamt them up yet - or they haven’t got the nerve to unleash them just yet.

They’ll roll out more doom about profits and sales and then do it on the back of that.

It worries me that people here (who should really be tech savvy and switched on to issues around media, tech and piiracy) are so happy to capitulate and take the sides of the big corps.

I can understand Joe Public not knowing about or caring about DRM and what it means now and will surely mean in the future, but we almost have a duty to fight against it. One day my Mum will buy a CD and be puzzled when it won’t play in her PC because no one made a song and dance about it now….

There are several small sites and record labels that offer DRM free music because they know that’s what people want and they’re more interested in the music than tying people down.

And that’s not an immature view - I know that every record label has to make money to survive.

But would you not having DRM on your music REALLY contribute all that much to piracy?

Is there anything you bought from iTMS that you couldn’t have got for free elsewhere?

Would you OFFER your files to others or misuse them in any major way if they DIDN’T have DRM?

No.

As much as internet piracy has doubtless hit the record companies, it’s a familiar ploy to try and squeeze more money and control.

A bit like the Patriot Act - tell people how BAD everything is and they need this for their PROTECTION and it would seem people are happy to sign away their civil liberties.

Posted by PugRallye on March 23, 2005 at 11:54 AM (PDT)

60

Pug…  OMG, comparing iTMS to the USA Patriot Act?  Perhaps you’re taking the DRM debate a bit too seriously.  As long as audio CDs or some future evolution of them are available—and I suspect they will be for a long time yet—this isn’t exactly a matter of people’s freedom being stifled.  They still have a choice.  Even *if* tomorrow, everyone who bought iTunes was forbidden from playing them except on the next-gen iPod…  Sure, they’d be out some money and some worthless hard disk space, but they could still go out and buy the music again.  Freedom of choice still exists and iTMS, at worst, is proof of freedom to make bad choices.  (I personally disagree.)

And sechannell is spot on.  “The simple answer, the market” will keep Apple and others in line.  Restricting rights is essentially the same as restricting supply, and any first year biz or econ major can tell you that restricting too much supply is as detrimental to the company as to the consumer.  They’d never allow that to happen.

Posted by SPThom on March 23, 2005 at 12:11 PM (PDT)

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