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DRM-Free iTunes Plus: Too good to be true June 2, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in DRM, iTunes.

If you’re one of the few who get to buy from the iTunes Store from over here and have tried out the new DRM-Free stuff called iTunes Plus, don’t feel like you got off easy and can share the music with impunity. Apple, wily old fruit that it is, apparently embeds your account name and email address deep in the innards of the song file, so that if you do pass it around, it’d be a simple matter to track it back to the source.

TUAW reports that your account information is encoded onto the m4a file when you purchase the song, and if you’re comfortable hacking into Terminal, there are detailed (and slightly intimidating) instructions on how to find the information on their site. Alternatively, just highlight your song in iTunes and use Get Info, and there’ll be “Purchased By” information there.

I have one iTunes Plus song in my possession at the moment, the free cut “Ooh La” by The Kooks released this week, which is embedded with my info. No one yet knows if you can hack into the file and remove the info, or if the old trick of burn-and-re-rip will strip it out. I’ll give the second option a shot, but I’m not too comfy with Unix to try out the first one.

Then again, this shouldn’t really be a concern, because we never had any intention of sharing our downloads anyway, right?


UPDATE 6-9-07: Apparently our account names and email addresses have always been embedded in there, ever since. Oh. Ok. You learn something new everyday.



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