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Getting Around iTunes DRM
March 19, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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It appears that Jon Lech Johansen is at it again. The skilled programmer that brought the Internet, among other items, DeCSS and FairKeys now brings us PyMusique. PyMusique is an iTunes interface that allows anyone with an iTunes subscription to do many things the proprietary iTunes program cannot.

What can PyMusique do that iTunes cannot? There really is no difference, other than subscribers of iTunes that use PyMusique will not have DRM applied to songs they purchase. That's right. PyMusique is not iTunes piracy tool. In order to use PyMusique, you must be a registered subscriber of iTunes. If you wish, you can register through PyMusique.

However, the big attribute of PyMusique is when it comes to Digital Rights Management - or lack there of. When an individual purchases a song from iTunes using PyMusique, it does not re-encrypt the song using Apple's "FairPlay" DRM scheme. What the end user has is DRM-free AAC file that can be copied, burned or transferred - basically the file can be used any way the owner wishes.

"Just like Mail.app is a client for accessing mail servers, iTunes is a client for accessing the iTunes Music Store servers. PyMusique is a new client that uses the same communication protocol that iTunes uses to access the iTMS," Johansen told MacCentral. "When an iTMS client buys a song, iTMS will provide the song in m4a format (unprotected). Unlike iTunes, PyMusique will not add DRM to the song before saving it to disk."

PyMusique is actually the work of three programmers: Jon Lech Johansen, Travis Watkins and Cody Brocious. Cody Brocious started with the project, and then Travis came in to work on the Graphical User Interface (GUI.) The project was then handed over to Travis. In addition to rewriting a lot of the code, Jon later came along to add registration and Windows support.

While many have misconceived PyMusique as a piracy tool, the developers stress it is not. PyMusique does not steal music from iTunes, nor does it promote such activities. Instead, it is simply a tool for Linux users to participate on an authorized music distribution channel. Considering there is no official Linux iTunes version, it may actually open the door to many new users. However, there are still those who feel there may be some legal problems with this venture.

Apples' terms of agreement states "You will not access the Service by any means other than through software that is provided by Apple for accessing the Service."

While statement may apply more to the end user, News.com spoke with copyright lawyer Annette Hurst who said the software appears to cross legal lines, especially the dreaded DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act.)

"I would be very concerned about this if I were their lawyer."

We'll see. Jon has been there and done that before.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Authorized Music Store :: iTunes
Technology News :: DRM

You can download PyMusique here

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