DVD Jon breaks iTunes security

The man responsible for writing software that allowed people to circumvent copyright technology on DVDs has posted software on the Internet that may allow devotees of Apple Computer's new iTunes online music store to break digital rights management (DRM) technology that protects files downloaded from that service.

A link to the file, called QTFairUse, was posted on a Web log that is maintained by Jon Lech Johansen, also known as "DVD Jon". When compiled and run, the program allows iTunes users to make raw copies of songs that use Apple's MPEG-4 Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) standard.

According to comments in a file included with the QTFairUse code, the program allows users to open and play an AAC file using Apple's free QuickTime media player, then save raw AAC data to a file on the computer.

However, the file posted by Johansen still requires significant technical knowledge to use, according to messages posted to the Apple discussion site macrumors.com.

The file was posted as uncompiled C language code and must be compiled before it can be run.While the output file created by QTFairUse would be an identical copy of the original, the copying process also removes crucial header information that most media players require, meaning that the copied file could not be played immediately, according to messages and technical analysis of QTFairUse posted on Macrumors.com.

The program was posted last Friday without comment to Johansen's Web log (or "blog"), which is called So sue me, and is apparently designed for use on Microsoft Windows systems.

A number of contributors to Macrumors.com who analysed the code said that the program was simple - fewer than 200 lines long - and used the QuickTime application to decrypt iTunes files, simply modifying QuickTime to have the unencrypted data saved to a file on hard drive, in addition to playing it.

Johansen rose to international prominence after he created De Contents Scramble System (DeCSS) in 1999 to crack the CSS copy protection on DVDs, and made the code available to others on the Internet.

Norwegian police raided his home in January 2000 after the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) filed a complaint.

After a trial in Norway, Johansen was acquitted in January of charges related to his development and distribution of DeCSS. The court found that Johansen was entitled to access information on a DVD that he had purchased, and was therefore entitled to use his program to break the code.

Norwegian prosecutors have appealed that ruling.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Roberts

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender solutions stop attacks before they even begin! Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?