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A Norwegian who drew the ire of the Hollywood movie industry by breaking the encryption code for DVDs at age 15 has now cracked the codes for Apple Computer's online music site iTunes, a report said
What he has done is modify the Quicktime component that reads AAC files. His modifications make it so that when the AAC file is decrypted and played (on a legally authorized computer), it writes an unencrypted version of the AAC stream out. This requires that the music be purchased and downloaded from Apple, and then played on an authorized computer. The only advantage that this method offers over burning the AAC file to a CD and ripping it is that it does not transcode the file at all, leaving it at the exact same level of quality that it originally had.
Basically it allows people to save a high quality copy of what they paid for in the first place.
leaving it at the exact same level of quality that it originally had
Is there a discernable difference between the usual download quality and what this guy is doing?
I know in theory the more compression and the smaller the file size, the more you'll lose ... but can you tell by listening?
As far as I know, what his program does is allow you to save a song you purchase, versus being able to only play it on the particular machine you downloaded in to, or in short, to remove the rights management.
It depends on the frequency response, (range of tones), of the device you are listening to it on as well as the frequency response of the speakers or headphones and how ‘hard of hearing’ you are.
MP4, uses a script language like PostScript, so there will be no loss in compression.[/edit]
[edited by: jim_w at 4:12 pm (utc) on Nov. 26, 2003]
I can tell the difference between an MP3 @ 128 Kbps over original CD audio. Most MP3 available for "free" download is poorly encoded. Only one person needs to buy the song convert the file to a distributable form. Encoding rate (and file size) has been a barrier, but making song file quality is no longer an issue.
As for the technology hack described above.
There are financial ramifications, as now one has to purchase an entire CD, rip it, and then illegally distribute it..
With the iTunes case, someone could purchase just the more "popular" cuts, at a much cheaper cost than purchasing entire CD's, save them without the copy protection code, and distribute them freely to whomever.
The ramifications are HUGE!
I've long been against the record(cd) labels that have hoarded the majority of revenues from sales, etc., while the artist rarely get's more than small percentage of the take....
When broadband became mainstream, I was hoping that more artists would just dump the labels, and distribute to consumers, using the web as the interface. They could sell at a much lower cost to consumers, keep the majority of the revenues, and both artist and consumer win!
But, with the theft of music that has become rampant on the web, there is little or no incentive for an artist to break away from a label, and take distribution/marketing responsbilities, when their cut won't be much more than what they already receive, with the current logistics in the music industry.
Theft of music via file sharing systems such as Napster, Kazaa, or whatever, has built a bigger wall, than previously existed in the music industry.
The only way that artists will get their true, much deserved share of the pie, and consumers will get music at a reasonable cost, is for the consumer to support artists directly.. Obviously this won't happen with "well established" artists that have been locked in, to the labels for some time.
But, if we as a "mass" directly support bands that are still "Indie", waiting to get signed (hung) by the record labels, we can begin a trend, that takes the huge record companies out of the loop. Until the web, they were nothing but an necessary evil, to distribute music.
Now, with the recent advances in recording technology, bands can record most of the tracks on their own, and then rent time in an independent studio for final mixing and editing. The cost to put a CD out, had dropped dramatically.
Also, for marketing and distribution, the web is a natural path, that also takes the record companies out of the loop.
But we as consumers will never see this come to realization, if we steal from the hand that feeds us the music we so much need in our lives....
The whole issue of what can and cannot be done, has been suggestively implanted in our minds by the media. We are trained to "presume" the individual is guilty (in this case the Norwegian programmer).
If we continue on this path of presumption and prejudgement - liberty and freedom, as we know it, will be gone to give way to paranoia and prejudgement.
Does profiling sound bad to you? How about genetic predisposition? You think it's all a kook story? Tell the jews, catholics and gipsies who died in WWII.
Several of you already made up your minds that the programmers actions were for-profit, and malicious. Double check, then check again.
What I really don't understand is, why do it anyway?
Apple had fairly liberal duplication allowances built into iTunes. I thought you could make up to 10 copies to be run on various media? I'm not an Apple guy, so don't quote me on that. But my brother mentioned it, while we were discussing the recording industry, and this subject during Thanksgiving dinner....
what if I want to make my startup sound on windows a clip from the file I bought?
What if I want to make it part of my answering machine message?
what if apple goes out of business and stops making iTunes?
what if WMA is the only audio file supported in the future? what will i do with a AAC then?
what if I want to play the song I bought on a Linux computer?
what if I want to use that song I paid for in a way I didn't think of when I bought it.
These tasks can only be accomplished with file formats that are not restricted.
Bravo for Jon, he's 1 person making a huge difference in the world. So don't ever let anyone tell you one person can't make a difference.
Back in about ’91, I was working with a company that got in hot water for putting a CD on their phone’s hold system. They said that they did not have right to broadcast the works.
>>what if apple goes out of business and stops making iTunes?<<
Would be the same if you purchased a CD at Best Buy and they went out of business.
>>what if WMA is the only audio file supported in the future? what will i do with a AAC then?<<
What did all the people with BeatVision video types do?
Personally I think a buck is toooo much. They have no money into the hardware, CD, jewel case, and labels, plus no labor in making it, warehousing it, or transporting it to stores, yet, they get just about the same per song than if you purchase the entire CD. Of course you have less labor because you don’t have to rip it yourself. But big deal. Put the CD in and take a shower or eat something and it’s done.
Being a hacker does not mean being a criminal. Most of hackers are doing only a reivindicative movement against the arrogance and prepotence of men.
It is usual to see some company telling that they have developed a perfect system. People believe it and buy that "perfect" system for a lot of money. But, of course, any system is never perfect. And then comes the hacker, who studies that system, finds its errors and publish them in order to improve the system.
There are also the crackers and the pirates, who search the web for information about system errors and explode them for profit. They call themselves hackers, and this is an offense to the hacker's communities, so they pursue and capture the offender.
Please do not treat the hackers as criminals cause they are not. Thanks to hackers, all the users of the Internet are safer against the crackers and pirates, among many other undesirable people like lammers.
Hackers are powerfull, and use to stand unite: one for all and all for one. If they wanted, they could get control of the World, but they don't do it. I understand that the people is afraid from hackers, it's natural. I'm a bit afraid, too. But they are wise, powerfull and a good moral example to follow. Please respect them.
Note: I'm not a hacker, I'm not wise enough, but I'd like to be.
Note about the discussion tittle: A hacker hacks, a cracker cracks. Telling that a hacker has cracked can be considered an offense. I apologize to any hacker who reads this for the ignorance shown by the global world society.
Hacking just means you like to take things apart and figure out how they work and/or change them.
With those kinds of skills/attitude in life, it's easy to be tempted to try things that are
1) designed to work against hacking
2) going to save you money
3) going to make you money
Cracking is when hacking goes bad aka illegal (on the next FOX special ;) ).
In a sense, even SEO's are hackers.
The point about iTunes and why it's different from BestBuy going out of business is this:
I don't need BestBuy to play my CD. I can get players from other companies. If Apple goes out of business or drops the iTunes player between now and when longhorn comes out, then I might not be able to play my paid for music on a new version of Windows.
I don't know what a BeatVision video file is, so I can't answer that directly. But I know that I can take my old audio cassettes and convert them to mp3 if I want, because there is no restrictions on that media, same goes for CD's. VHS' and Betamaxes
And I kind of agree with your $1 price model argument. Not sure why you have to pay for music downloads when others will distribute and make no profit. We aren't required to pay for television audio listening or radio audio listening. Those distributers profit share with RIAA because they make money. No one on Kazaa is making money.
Actually, hacking is not directly about security systems either for that matter.
Hacking just means you like to take things apart and figure out how they work
Completely agree! ;) An ampliation of the original definition. I still remember when the hackers were only phone technics... They used to repair the phones bi hitting them on the sides, as when the TV doesn't works... This hits were called hacks and then the ones who hacked were called hackers. Nowadays, hacking means something very different, and people do not know what are now the hackers... Only an historical curiosity :P
and/or change them.
I don't agree with that part :(. A true hacker never makes changes on the systems.
Cracking is when hacking goes bad aka illegal
Almost agree... But some crackers simply use 3rd party software to break in systems without knowing how that work. Those crackers are usually called lammers and they are not hackers. The worst part is that lammers don't even know what a hacker actually is, and they call themselves hackers stainig the reputation of true hackers who only do it as a kind of sport.
In a sense, even SEO's are hackers.