Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hacker's Poised To Beat Apple's Latest Version Of DRM

Via InformationWeek -

One of the hotter memes over the weekend had to do with a cease and desist letter that the ever-litigious Apple sent to the operators of the Hymn Project. For those looking to remove Apple's copy protection technology (officially "FairPlay," but I call it "C.R.A.P.") from iTunes Music Store (iTMS)-bought content, the Hymn Project has been the go-to site for utilities that have managed to stay one step ahead of Apple in what has been a cat and mouse game.

That cat n' mouse game has traditionally involved the companies (Apple, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), etc.) whose copy protection or Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies are theoretically designed to protect the rights of rights-holders (eg: the record labels) versus the consumers of that content, many of whom believe their own rights are being trampled in the course of trying to protect the rights of the aforementioned rights holders. Not helping matters are a smaller but prolific group of content pirates who have no rights at all to the content in question (in other words, they've never made a purchase), but who have played a significant role in the illegal proliferation of unauthorized and unlicensed content through file-sharing networks.

Despite trying, neither Apple nor Microsoft (the two main purveyors of DRM technology) have been able to keep outfits like the Hymn Project from defeating their latest technical measures designed to put an end to the cat n' mouse game.

One question that remains largely unanswered is "Why did Apple wait so long to use its legal options against the Hymn Project?" Over the weekend, several DRM and Apple-watchers speculated that the latest hack made available through the Hymn Project (known as "Requiem") pushed Apple over the edge because of the decryption techniques it used -- techniques that may have put Apple at a far more serious disadvantage in that cat n' mouse game that it has ever been.

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