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DRM bad, beer good.
November 26, 2003 2:38 PM   Subscribe

Jon Johansen of DeCSS fame has made a program that strips iTunes ACC files of DRM. Here is what he has to say about it. Maybe I will give iTunes a try after all.
posted by epimorph (16 comments total)

 
I think I'd wait until the program actually works instead of dumping an unreadable file.

On the other hand, what this will most likely accomplish is to either force Apple to fix the hole in QuickTime that this exploits, or it will give the RIAA a case of soiled panties and they'll suddenly decide Apple's just being far too lenient and force them to fall into line and restrict iTMS users' abilities as much as they tried to do with that PressPlay nonsense that no one bought into.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:48 PM on November 26, 2003


Yeah, I can't see this being a good thing at all.
posted by fenriq at 2:53 PM on November 26, 2003


regardless of security and hacks, does anything really stand in the way of just running a cable from your line out to your line in and recording to a new file, other than time and effort?
posted by badstone at 2:59 PM on November 26, 2003


does anything really stand in the way of just running a cable from your line out to your line in [...]

Loss of sound quality. The recording industry are OK with tape decks (and probably your scheme as well), because they make imperfect copies. However, they are afraid of digital copying where a 1000th generation copy is just as good as the original.
posted by Triplanetary at 3:05 PM on November 26, 2003


There's always an easier way.
posted by machaus at 3:05 PM on November 26, 2003


Heh, I meant AAC, not ACC. My apologies for all the TLAs.
posted by epimorph at 3:21 PM on November 26, 2003


Yeah, I can't see this being a good thing at all.

Well, it's good for customers. But yeah, there's gonna be a shitstorm over this. You'd think one malicious prosecution from a soul-crushing megalopoly in a lifetime would be enough, but apparently not.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:21 PM on November 26, 2003


There is one bit of this hack that no media seems to report in the rush to say that iTMS has been hacked.

You have to have a legally purchased song on an authorized computer in order to use this program.

So it's ridiculous. I can also burn the song to a CD, and play that CD in any CD player. Did I hack DRM?
posted by AaRdVarK at 3:37 PM on November 26, 2003


You have to have a legally purchased song on an authorized computer in order to use this program.

The difference is, if you sent that legally-purchased song to 10,000 of your closest friends, they couldn't listen to it. Until now...
posted by kindall at 3:46 PM on November 26, 2003


This is great - I wonder if Jon wrote it all himself, or if he is the public figure for a larger group of hackers.

"You'd think one malicious prosecution from a soul-crushing megalopoly in a lifetime would be enough, but apparently not."

He's obviously not one to be easily intimidated - I'm actually starting to like the little geek.

Anyways, I find it funny that his blog is called "so sue me".
posted by spazzm at 5:59 PM on November 26, 2003


The recording industry are OK with tape decks (and probably your scheme as well), because they make imperfect copies. However, they are afraid of digital copying where a 1000th generation copy is just as good as the original.

Which is yet another way in which the recording industry is really unbelievably stupid, because any quality loss will only on the first generation -- the capture from line-in sources. Once the capture is digitally encoded, there is no further loss from subsequent copying.

And with decent sound reproduction equipment and proper, knowledgable encoding, that first-generation loss will be as nothing. You'll still get better results than the average person gets just doing an automated rip-and-encode using something like MusicMatch Jukebox.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:58 PM on November 26, 2003


I've used this program and it works spectacularly. The file it dumps requires very little work to get it to play back in iTunes. The only limitation I've seen so far is that I can't put the album cover image back in the file. It's just a matter of time until this becomes painfully easy to use. The tool to dump the file is open source. The tools to make the file playable in iTunes are open source. By the way, before this came out I'd only bought one song from the iTMS for shits and giggles. Since then I've bought about twenty.
posted by zsazsa at 7:58 PM on November 26, 2003


"You'll still get better results than the average person gets just doing an automated rip-and-encode using something like MusicMatch Jukebox."

Yes, definately! If you still use musicmatch jukebox, try out Exact Audio Copier and use LAME as an Mp3 encoder. Use high Quality, 192k for most music except when encoding a large amount of instruments. (Tchaikovsky comes to mind) In that case, go from 256k to 320k depending on the complexities of the music. It gets easier from here!

EAC is designed for Windows machines, and has the surprising distinction of being one of the most exact copying programs because of the way it handles the data coming from your CD-ROM drive. Very simple to use. Don't believe your friends when they say Mp3 will never sound as good as a CD. It can, as long as you make sure you go high quality!

Physically yes, you lose audio. Mp3 (and many other formats) are known as 'lossy' encoding. The encoder removes audio that the human ear cannot hear. This will not affect Bass. (BTW, 20hz to 20Khz is the 'range' of human hearing. Almost no one can hear that entire range! But either way Mp3 will save from 20hz to 19Khz, because no human can differentiate between 19Khz and 20Khz. Cute doggies can.)


Say, you want to include the album covers to your Mp3 collection? A good start for high quality audio covers is www.audiotarget.com but don't tell the RIAA, as they have shut down most audio cover websites. Want to have the audio cover inside your ID3 tag (The place in the file that stores the artist information)? Then give Tag and Rename a try. It will take you to allmusic.com and gives you the option of even putting in a review of the album, not to mention it puts the artist album in the Mp3 itself.

Well everyone Happy Thanksgiving. Always rip your own albums and if you have to remove DRM to play it in Linux then all the more power to you!
posted by Keyser Soze at 8:15 PM on November 26, 2003


check out his blog, he has some responses up.

They have failed to understand that by buying into DRM they have given the seller complete control over the product after it's been sold. The RIAA can at any time change the DRM rules, and considering their history it's likely that they will when the majority of consumers have embraced DRM and non-DRM products have been phased out. Some DVDs today include commercials which can't be skipped using "sanctioned" players. If the RIAA forces Apple to include commercials, what excuses will the Mac zealots come up with? "It's a good compromise"?

posted by Iax at 8:45 PM on November 26, 2003


By the way, just like a car engine, there are good Mp3 Encoders (Fraunhofer, LAME) and there are bad ones (Musicmatch Jukebox, Blade Enc).
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:15 PM on November 26, 2003


...and there are really good MP3 encoders and things that aren't even MP3 encoders.
posted by Jimbob at 2:38 PM on November 27, 2003


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