Microsoft To Issue Fix For DRM Stripper App

By Mark Hachman  |  Posted 2006-08-30 Email Print this article Print

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Microsoft said Monday that it plans to issue a fix to counteract "FairUse4WM," an application that strips the digital-rights-management wrapper from its most recent Windows Media 10 and 11 encoded files. Users can theoretically use it to downl

Microsoft is preparing a fix for a program that strips the digital-rights-management protections attached to its Windows Media file format, representatives said Monday night.

Armed with the program, users could theoretically download an unlimited amount of music via MTV's Urge music service, as well as other sites that offer music for download.

The "FairUse4WM" program was released earlier this month, and advertised as a tool to remove the rights restrictions from files encoded with Windows Media Player 10 or 11. The program's creator, "viodentia," published the orignal file to a message board on August 19, and the file has been quickly mirrored around the Web.

FairUse4WM was designed, according to viodentia, as a means to encourage fair use, such as unlocking purchased music. In its current state, however, the tool can be used to unlock music purchased through subscription services such MTV's Urge music service, which uses Microsoft's Windows Media Digital Rights Management software.

While the software does require an individualized DRM file keyed to the user's PC, tests conducted by PC Magazine and ExtremeTech analysts concluded that the software does strip the rights restrictions from the file and allow them to be played.

Although FairUse4WM has attracted attention across the Internet, the program provides a GUI front end to drmdbg.exe, a program allegedly authored by a cracker named "lark" in January 2005. Since then, the program has been used to crack Windows Media 10-encoded software. The new version extends the capabilities to Windows Media 11, the protection used by MTV's Urge music service.

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