"Amazingly, Brocious says the DRM crack could be applied to other stores (MSN Music, Napster, Wall mart [sic]) using the WMA file format; 'we would have to figure out how to get their license keys, which is a relatively trivial process'. The origins of the WMA DRM crack are Beale Screamer's code which was released in late 2001."
Well, once you get someone's private key, you can in fact remove the licensing without any trouble. Once you get the key to my house, you can come in. That doesn't mean you should go out of your way to forge a key to my house.
I think everyone that buys online music ends up burning a CD of it - it's the only reliable way to make a backup of your music. Once it is on CD, you can easily re-rip it back onto your computer as an unprotected MP3. Other easy ways around copy protection including simply recording the music as it plays. The quality doesn't go down that much. But it does take a lot longer and that extra 'friction' in the process is enough to keep many people from doing it.
(On the other hand it is easy to automate your PC to record Internet radio stations while you aren't even there so that is growing in popularity.)
I don't personally see the challenge in cracking these music formats. I guess, if you are Linux die-hard and you resent having to have a Mac or a Windows PC available to buy online music, then there would be some emotional reward for figuring out how to get the downloadable music services to work on your Linux PC box.
We all have locks on our doors at home and some of us even have an alarm system. I am sure one of those guy's from Ocean's 12 could break into our homes if they wanted to. That's not really the point of the alarm or the door locks. The point is to (1) remind people of the boundary between our house and the outside, and (2), remind them that they need to ask permission to come in, and if they don't ask permission, they are breaking and entering.
My feeling - and I really hope I'm right about this (and the success of iTunes certainly supports the notion) - is that once people buy music online they are less-inclined to share it with friends. Since you have to take extra steps to decode your music (if you want to) I think it makes it clear in most consumer's minds that whatever they are doing should be for their own personal benefit only and not so they can post it on the Internet.
Ripping CDs (and who came up with that brilliant moniker?) is just too easy and with a little P2P action - simply sharing out a folder on your drive in a P2P program - sharing became a little too easy.
Somebody can always steal your music - you just want them to know that they are stealing and not simply "sharing".
© 2005 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved