Here’s something that could help music subscription services really take off: FairUse4WM, a piece of software that strips the DRM from WMA-DRM 10/11 music files, has been released, and according to the folks at Engadget, it really works. They tested on subscription Napster tracks with smashing results (that means it removed the DRM successfully).
It will surely be interesting to observe the impact FairUse4WM has on the existing WMA-DRM music stores. And the record companies? I don’t think they’ll like this too much.
Update: Microsoft says they have a patch to stop the program from doing it’s stuff. But I am guessing FairUse4wm will be updated again to get around that – who knows!
Update again: (from http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=4043 )
FairUse4WM creators once again break WM-DRM and this time in record time
Only days after Microsoft patched the FairUse4WM DRM hack, the creators of the program have released an update that once again breaks the restrictions on protected WMA and WMV files. The utility works by stripping the DRM information from protected windows media files allowing users to freely manipulate the files and play them back as they see fit….
The apparently failed update from Microsoft changed the IBX in PlaysForSure rendering v.1.1 useless to users who were forced to update through their content provider. FairUse4WM v.1.2 is backwards compatible with files that have yet to be updated. Unfortunately as of right now the software still doesn’t work Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 UR2 users or for the Windows Media Format 9. Although it only took Microsoft 3 days to issue its first fix it appears that the FairUse4WM creators are still one step ahead of the software giant.
The cat and mouse DRM game is heating up elsewhere as well. Apple’s FairPlay was recently circumvented openly as well. Yahoo has opted to distribute music without DRM, bypassing the quagmire Apple and Microsoft are currently in.