Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Microsoft DRM Hacked

It had to happen. Allegedly Windows Media DRM has been hacked and can be decrypted using an utility called Fairuse4wm. Microsoft immediately issued a 'part patch' last night.

The hack affects downloads (not streaming media) which is inherently less secure since users can copy the file to their local hard drive. It equally affects audio and video, since the DRM is common to both.

There are those who would argue that this is no bad thing - after all, if you buy a DVD you can digitise it and use the resulting MP3 as you see fit. And the process of using WM DRM can be very cumbersome. I was annoyed last week to find that I cannot download talking books from Audible.com to my Archos MP3 Player - they have to be downloaded instead to my mobile phone, which itself took me several hours to get to work.

At the end of the day, hacking DRM is a complex way of getting your hands on content which is probably already available through highly available peer-to-peer services.

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