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Apple plugs PyMusique iTunes 'hole'

DRM-less downloads blocked

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It was always too good to last. Apple has stamped on an attempt to make it possible to purchase songs from the company's iTunes Music Store without having DRM restrictions added to the downloads.

In a statement, the Mac maker announced last night that it was henceforth requiring all ITMS customers to upgrade to version 4.7 of Apple's iTunes jukebox software. iTunes 4.7 was released late last year, and is already notable for nobbling DRM-stripping utility Hymn.

The announcement was made in response to the emergence of PyMusique, an app created by programmers 'DVD Jon' Johansen, Travis Watkins and Cody Brocious. The code exploited the fact that iTunes adds Apple's FairPlay DRM data to each purchased song after downloading had taken place. PyMusique essentially replaced iTunes, allowing users to create online accounts, choose and review songs, then purchase and download them.

Of course, using PyMusique was inherently in violation of ITMS' usage terms and conditions, but what kind of disincentive was that? Hence the move to plug what Apple called a "security hole".

Apple's move will affect only 15 per cent of ITMS customers, the company said.

DVD Jon has been a thorn in Apple's side for some time. Last August, he revealed how to crack the encryption Apple uses to protect songs as they're streamed across a wireless network to its AirPort Express 'Wi-Fi to hi-fi' access point. At the time, he posted JustePort, a Linux/Windows app that allows applications other than iTunes to transmit audio via the AirPort Express hardware. ®

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