Mac/Linux: PlayFair 0.2 released - removes DRM from protected AAC files | iLounge News


Mac/Linux: PlayFair 0.2 released - removes DRM from protected AAC files

Decode Apple iTunes Music Store protected AAC files into unprotected AAC files so that they can be played outside of iTunes.

Note: Several users of this software are reporting crashes when using the converted AAC files in iTunes on Mac or PC. One user notes: “It appears that before running the playfair you need to make sure to play an encrypted song in iTunes and possibly even need to copy an encrypted song to the iPod to make sure the correct key is on the iPod. I tried it again after doing those two things and it worked. So the code appears to still be fairly buggy so I wouldn’t go around decrypting all your files without backing them up, but it does work, you just need to be carefull to test your resulting files.”

Playfair requires a Unix command line interface to be installed.

What’s new in this version:

2004-04-02 playfair Release version 0.2.  Ensure DRMS code will work.  * keyutils.c: Implement function to try to ensure that the DRMS code will be able to get a key. This means that either (a) the DRMS key storage directory exists, (b) the program is running on Windows or (c) an iPod is connected and detected.  * playfair.c: Invoke new function.  2004-03-30 playfair Release version 0.1.

License: Freeware
System Requirements: MacOS X, Linux

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kool, i’ll try it

Posted by ipodman in Irvine, CA on April 6, 2004 at 10:38 AM (CDT)


this will be awesome for people who want to have a quick, hassle-free download for the songs they like, but still want to illegally share their songs with their friends and/or p2p networks. great work!

Posted by eric in Irvine, CA on April 6, 2004 at 10:56 AM (CDT)


Reports on SlashDot (where it was discussed yesterday) seem to think that the binaries have mostly been pulled, though some mirror sites might still have it.  Though whether that’s due to deliberate action, or just servers burning out under /. traffic, no-one seems to know :)

As to the crashes, that’s probably not the major concern it might sound.  From what I gather, the app doesn’t check its results, so if the key file it finds is the wrong one, then it’ll happily produce garbage instead of unprotected AAC.  Not surprisingly, that garbage can confuse player programs.  But I don’t think it does any more damage than that, and as long as you keep your original .m4p files, you won’t lose anything.

Oh, and just in case it’s not clear: you need the key, so YOU CAN ONLY UNPROTECT FILES YOU’VE BOUGHT YOURSELF.

As for me, I’ve got the app safely stashed just in case Apple ever finds itself with nothing to do one rainy afternoon and decides to make the iTMS available far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western part of Europe, where lies an utterly insignificant little country whose ape-descended life-forms are so amazingly primitive that they still can’t access it…

Posted by Gidds in Irvine, CA on April 6, 2004 at 11:38 AM (CDT)


This is just based on several months old VideoLAN code.

Posted by Earl in Irvine, CA on April 6, 2004 at 12:00 PM (CDT)


Works great as long as it can properly determine your iPod’s ID. Playing at least one encrypted song seems to be necessary for this to work (and if you don’t have any encrypted songs, you don’t need this). If it doesn’t get your iPod ID right, the resulting .m4a file will probably crash your media player (sloppy non-defensive coding in the media players is to blame there).

To the folks that claim this only a way to steal music, I beg to differ. I buy iTunes tracks. I want to play them on other non-iPod devices. Current copyright law says I’m allowed to do just that, and playfair makes this possible.

Tech-savvy people already know that the concept of self-contained copy protection used by the iPod is inherently flawed. The RIAA still has its thumbs in its ears, mumbling to itself that this can’t be happening.

Posted by liikweed in Irvine, CA on April 8, 2004 at 9:05 AM (CDT)


Apple sent a cease and desist letter to the SourceForge management. The C&D cited the DMCA. Legally, SourceForge had to abide and pull the project. The project is now being hosted by Sarovar in India.

Posted by anonymous in Irvine, CA on April 10, 2004 at 3:44 AM (CDT)


Earl -

No, that hack was based on a totally different principle, so that it was possible to “hijack” a stream and record it to disk. This is something totally different, where the encryption is removed directly.

Posted by Sraphim in Irvine, CA on April 12, 2004 at 5:03 PM (CDT)

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