Reports suggest that Microsoft’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) software has been cracked, allowing free and unrestricted access to the music tracks that it’s supposed to protect.
Software called ‘Fairuse4wm’ has been doing the rounds of the Net since it was first posted on an Internet forum. Though it’s touted as being for use only to allow fair-use of purchased media, no doubt it will be used for more dubious purposes. It effectively strips Windows Media audio (WMA) files of their DRM 10 or 11 protection.
For example, sites like Napster rely on DRM to allow users to effectively ‘rent’ music. When the subscription stops, so does access to the music even though it’s stored on the user’s computer. Removing the DRM could allow unlimited access to these tracks.
DRM is also used to restrict how far music can be distributed, and what
it can be played on. Those in favour of ‘fair use’ suggest that it is
unfair to stipulate what someone can do with something they’ve bought.
However, there are sites which offer DRM-free downloads and are pushing
for unprotected music to be the norm rather than the exception.
Security breaches are nothing new. Microsoft will no doubt be trying to
plug this gap, but people will always find ways to circumvent
copy-protection or find other ways of getting hold of digital media.