QTFairUse - iTunes Digital Rights Management (DRM) Circumvented?

A Register.co.uk article reports that the author of DeCSS has written a small command line Windows utility (QTFairUse) which "will dump the output of a QuickTime stream to a file". The Quicktime stream in question are AAC files.

While TheRegister tries to explain away the hack as an implementation of an analog stream-ripper, it appears to be a bit more sophisticated than that...

According to the QTFairUse README:


    Open and play a MPEG4 AAC file in QuickTime Player. The raw AAC data will be written to Desktop/QTFairUse.aac

The application clearly piggybacks off of Apple's Quicktime player and patches the "quicktimempeg4.qtx" file of Windows' Quicktime. It then outputs this "raw AAC data" to a file while the original AAC file plays under Quicktime. The proposed theory is that the application intercepts the Decrypted AAC data from Quicktime after authorization has taken place, and saves out the resultant decrypted (de-DRM'd) AAC data.

Based on limited testing from one user with Quicktime 6.4 under Windows... the application does create DRM-free ".aac" files when Protected AAC files are played through Quicktime. These output files, however, are unplayable in their raw form in most players. The reason for this is that these files represents the true "raw" AAC data that has been passed through to Quicktime to play. All header information has been removed. To create playable files, a further packaging of the files is required to add the appropriate MPEG headers. But the application does work as suggested -- stripping DRM from your protected AAC files (though is not of any practical use in its current form).

In any case, this is the first public attempt at breaking Apple's Digital Rights Management format. The potential for abuse and concern for an application such as this is greater than simple "stream rippers" in that this would introduce lossless ("perfect") copies of protected files.

Related Forum: Mac Apps