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Napster Has Been Cracked 616

Posted by samzenpus
from the who-thought-it-would-take-this-long dept.
Sabathius writes "Users have found a way to skirt copy protection on Napster Inc's portable music subscription service just days after its high-profile launch, potentially letting them make CDs with hundreds of thousands of songs for free...""
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Napster Has Been Cracked

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  • Man... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Curtman (556920) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:02AM (#11698248)
    Never saw that one coming.
    • Re:Man... (Score:4, Funny)

      by yogikoudou (806237) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:06AM (#11698287)
      Well I guess they were using SHA-1 [slashdot.org] ...
      • Re:Man... (Score:5, Informative)

        by BoldAC (735721) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:48PM (#11700900)
        hah!

        Actually, the DRM can be bypassed by having winamp send the audio straight to a raw WAVE file. Winamp stopped this previously by preventing DRM files from using a direct write-to-wav plug-in. However, this hack uses an additional plug-in to bypass this.

        The sad thing is that the Output Stacker has been pulled from the winamp website.

        Users have been posting links to sites that still contain Output Stacker in the forums.

        This recipe contains the step-by-step directions for the hack and active links to the plug-ins. [tech-recipes.com]
        • Re:Man... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by severoon (536737)

          Basically, if you can hear music, you can steal it. It's just a matter of the quality you're willing to put up with. It's amazing to me that anyone thinks they can set up a situation where you ultimately send an unencrypted digital stream of data to your audio card, but no one's going to divert that stream to the hard disk.

        • Re:Man... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by warlockgs (593818) on Friday February 18, 2005 @02:41AM (#11708759)
          As the originator (as far as I can tell) of this "hack" (I wouldn't call it that), it is absolutely amazing how quickly this got around. 4 weeks from post on cdfreaks, to worldwide news, and an article on slashdot. Yay to me.

          Click here to see the original post I made on this [cdfreaks.com]

          Anyhow, I hope you all are enjoying it. I merely wanted to transcode the files I had bought (3207 and climbing....) so I could load them on a non-WMA-aware MP3 player like any other piece of music I own. I certainly didn't intend for Napster to start a 14-day free trial, nor did I expect this method to get "out into the wild" (although, posting on the internet is no way to keep anything secret.....). I would like to take this moment and kindly remind you all that unless you actually *buy* some tracks, Napster loses money. Napster loses enough money, they'll fold shop. The artists will then get reamed by iTunes. Don't let it happen guys, lets at least try to be honest.

          /Just sayin....

          --warlock1711 of club cdfreaks.
    • Re:Man... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FrYGuY101 (770432) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:07AM (#11698296) Journal
      To be fair, this is a far more crude hack than Hymn.

      Hymn (the iTunes DRM remover) keeps the encoded data encoded, simply removes the copy protection, wheras this takes the decompressed audio, writes it as a wav file to the disk. As a result, if you want to encode it to save space, say, WMA, or ogg or MP3, you're losing more information (I suppose you could also go with FLAC, but that's a lot of space for a mediocre bitrate WMA version anyway).

      All in all, I'd say wait for a better way of bypassing the DRM before you hog up to the Napster smorgasboard.
      • Re:Man... (Score:5, Informative)

        by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:35AM (#11698455)
        Not any more. Transcode direct to MP3, no WAV step. [kordix.com]

        And do them in parallel to beat the real time limitation.

        • Re:Man... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SamBeckett (96685) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:37AM (#11698475)
          To be fair, there always must be a "WAV" step; you just don't see it in action using method described for the link.
          • Re:Man... (Score:5, Informative)

            by JAgostoni (685117) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @10:07AM (#11698695) Homepage Journal
            And you are STILL losing quality even if it was just transcoding like that.
      • Re:Man... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by buttersnout (832768)
        True but this is much more a problem with a subscription service. If you use Hymn, you have already payed 99c for the track. You aren't really doing much other than making it so you can give a copy to your friends which you could do anyway with a cd. If you use napster you are permanantly keeping something you were only supposed to be renting. you could pay 15 dollars and get and get 5 gigs of music. Breaking fairplay will still require you to pay a little over $1000 for the tracks
      • it's good enough (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alien54 (180860)
        It seems that most people don't care that much about the lossy aspects of even just using low bit rate MP3s.

        seriously, for most folks, the sound will be plenty good enough. but for audiophiles and perfectionists ....

    • Re:Man... (Score:3, Funny)

      by liquidpele (663430)
      All I know is with this pepsi/iTunes deal, and the fact that you can look through the bottom of a bottle and see if it has the free song or not, I've switched from pirating to legal music and from Coke to Pepsi (mainly mt dew but whatever). Napster doesn't have a chance in my book, especially if I have to pay a monthly fee, and then pay $1 to burn to cd too! The whole double pay thing kinda kills it if you ask me.
    • by buro9 (633210) <david@ b u r o 9.com> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:31AM (#11698435) Homepage
      Output Stacker plugin has been pulled from the WinAmp site, but you can still get it in their forums.

      The details on the plugin are cached here, this is the PULLED page:
      http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:zsalMv FLX6QJ: www.winamp.com/plugins/details.php%3Fid%3D86033+wi namp+output+stacker+plugin&hl=en&client=firefox-a

      This thread lists where it can be found NOW:
      http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?thre adid=3 5627

      And this contains the plugin:
      http://forums.winamp.com/attachment.php?p ostid=159 3266

      Google is a wonderful thing when companies wish to backtrack like that.

      The plugin has tons of geniune uses... pulling it, well yeah I understand AOL/Time Warner's motives... but they're kinda dumb.

    • by ImaLamer (260199) <john.lamarNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @10:01AM (#11698651) Homepage Journal
      I was going to submit this story with the headline:
      Napster is Back!
  • Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quasar1999 (520073) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:02AM (#11698251) Journal
    So long as the audio comes out speakers at some point you will always be able to grab the analog signal and re-encode it to whatever format you want... this isn't some breakthrough... It's called recording the analog output...
    • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Informative)

      by rsidd (6328) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:05AM (#11698286)
      On linux, so long as you're playing via /dev/dsp you can always grab the digital signal, for example via vsound [xenoclast.org]. I wouldn't be surprised if that's possible with MacOS X too, or even Windows.
      • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Informative)

        by mirko (198274) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:09AM (#11698313) Journal
        Yes... OSX can do it too! [rogueamoeba.com]
      • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:09AM (#11698314)
        I don't see why you couldn't create a fake audio driver for Windows that let you swipe the digital signal. Or a fake CD-RW to steal to the MP3s iTunes lets you download.

        And of course the DarkNet paper showed us all what we already knew: With DRM, you have to give the user everything needed to play the file. That includes the cryptography algorithm and the key. Thus, all DRM is breakable.
        • Re:Whatever (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Troed (102527)
          With DRM, you have to give the user everything needed to play the file. That includes the cryptography algorithm and the key. Thus, all DRM is breakable.

          Bollocks - you're assuming you have complete control of the execution environment. That is not the case on some platforms (cellphones springs to mind) and there are incentives (I'm sure you know the acronym) to make a "secure platform" within our normal open platforms to reach the same goal.

        • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Informative)

          by Filmwatcher888 (595369) <filmwatcher888 AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @10:53AM (#11699137) Journal
          There is a virtual sound card program for windows. It is called VAC, the Virtual Audio Cable [ntonyx.com]. It works really well, and is relatively cheap.

          The only Virtual CD Burner software I've seen is called Original CD Emulator [ztekware.com]. It creates a fake CD Burner in the same way DaemonTools creats a fake CD drive.

          If anyone knows any other software that can do the same things as these too, please post them here too.

      • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Funny)

        by Curtman (556920) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:10AM (#11698315)
        so long as you're playing via /dev/dsp you can always grab the digital signal

        Quiet you. If my next soundblaster comes with some new fangled Macrovision, it'll be your fault.

        Or would that be Macroaudio?
        • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:37AM (#11698470)
          Actually, their drivers do contain something similar.

          For instance, I'm in the pro audio industry and folks have always claimed that a soundblasters S/N and other specs are right up there with the big boys. Of course they are -- their team is comprised of greats from around the industry including their aquisition of Ensoniq a few years back.

          What they don't tell you is that the digital outs and otherwise are disabled in the drivers. The claim is that you get 24bit in / out -- but the reality is that even if you are doing a pure pass through, that 24 bit randomly drops bits down to a signal of as low as 14.

          The strange this is this doesn't happen with the free drivers that were available for Linux nor the Mac solutions. And then someone backported one of the Ensoniq proaudio card drivers after realizing the chipset was identical and was able to bring this back to the PC by doing a little hex editing...and the audio in phenomenal (although the driver is still a bit buggy and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone that needed a serious project undertaken).

          But yeah, if Creative needed to make the industry happy, they'd throw in Macrovision in a heartbeat. Sad that your post is rated funny...

          Note: This was true several years back...I don't deal with audio interfaces as I once did, so it may not be true any longer.

          Also now, this is Off Topic, please rate it accordingly. I'm an AC and don't give a rats ass.
      • Re:Whatever (Score:4, Informative)

        by UnRDJ (712762) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:35AM (#11698452)
        Many sound card drives (Echo Mia, Egosys Waveterminal, Emu series, to name a few) allow internal rerouting of a digital signal to and from various virtual ins and outs. Simply playback anything through the mme driver, route that to an asio or WDM input, record, and voila. But really people, just buy the music. I know I'm going out on a limb here, but look at a service like Rhapsody. $10 a month for as much 44.1/16 music on your computer as you want. Albeit the bitrate isn't that great (im guessing 128), if you're really using kazaa for virtuous reasons such as "discovering music that you can't find in the record store because the RIAA shoves pop down your throat," then you'll buy a cd when you find something you really like. Rhapsody has a huge library of songs, stuff you would never see on mtv. It has a 30 day free trial, see for yourself. No I'm not a Rhapsody employee =), I just honestly enjoy the service.
      • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Informative)

        by Reverant (581129) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:37AM (#11698464) Homepage
        I wouldn't be surprised if that's possible with MacOS X too, or even Windows.
        It is possible. It always has been possible. All Sound Blaster cards (after the first Live! series) have a virtual input mixer called "WhatUHear". Selecting it as an input, you can record whatever goes to the card's DAC, without actually going through the DAC->ADC process. The quality is excellent. I've been using this method to capture some nice soundtracks from several games that didn't offer the music as wave or mp3.
    • Re:Whatever (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sentry21 (8183)
      Actually, it captures it from the sound card (in Windows, you can record sound card output), so at that point, it's still digital.

      Good quality too.
  • by JohnHegarty (453016) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:02AM (#11698252) Homepage
    Oh No...

    Now the name Napster will be tried to illegally copied music... and after all the paid of the good number of that company...
  • Old News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samtihen (798412) * on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:02AM (#11698256) Homepage

    Oh this has been explained for a while: http://marv.kordix.com/archives/000400.html [kordix.com]

    All that is happening is that people are grabbing the actual output of the song, and dropping it into a wav file. This will ALWAYS happen with any kind of copy protection. If you let users actually hear (music) or see (movies/tv) the content, there will always be a way to get it. At the absolute worst, people can just set up a tape recorder and grab it from that.

    Regardless, the point is that it is STILL ILLEGAL to abuse. Until you can get people to stop breaking the law voluntarily (via fair pricing and good business practices), all media/content companies will have to keep playing this game. What they need to realize is that they are always going to lose.

    • Re:Old News (Score:5, Informative)

      by jxyama (821091) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:07AM (#11698300)
      >All that is happening is that people are grabbing the actual output of the song, and dropping it into a wav file. This will ALWAYS happen with any kind of copy protection. If you let users actually hear (music) or see (movies/tv) the content, there will always be a way to get it. At the absolute worst, people can just set up a tape recorder and grab it from that.

      you are absolutely right, however, the difference here is, napster is a subscription model. (with a free trial to boot.) so the circumvention of the DRM means you get as many songs as you want for little or no money. music download sites, like iTMS or MSN, you have to pay first, then crack it all you want... so media/content companies aren't quite "losing" there to the same degree...

    • Re:Old News (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you let users actually hear (music) or see (movies/tv) the content, there will always be a way to get it.

      Not if you build the copy protection into the user...

    • Re:Old News (Score:3, Interesting)

      by radja (58949)
      last time I checked (about 90 minutes ago), it was still completely legal to copy from radio, copy from TV, or copy from napster (at least here in the netherlands).
    • Re:Old News (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Khomar (529552) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:40AM (#11698499) Journal
      Regardless, the point is that it is STILL ILLEGAL to abuse. Until you can get people to stop breaking the law voluntarily (via fair pricing and good business practices)

      I think the point your getting at here is that we live in an imperfect world. The fact is that there will always be someone who will break the law. In order to stop all crime, you have to place very strict, cumbersome laws and practices -- and even then someone will find a way around them(we humans are quite resourceful when it comes to finding new and devious ways to circumvent authority). The key is finding the balance between discouraging crime and maintaining the usability and popularity of your product to your customers.

      It has been my experience that it is much better to lean toward ignoring piracy for the sake of our law abiding customers rather than to hurt everybody to stop the few bad apples. Our customers end up being much happier, and we also get fewer support calls. Win-win.

  • by spezz (150943) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:02AM (#11698258)
    ...to close the barn door

  • Free? (Score:4, Funny)

    by danormsby (529805) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:03AM (#11698261) Homepage
    I thought all music downloaded from the internet was free?
  • Aw Crap (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sentry21 (8183) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:04AM (#11698268) Journal
    The jig is up. I was hoping I'd finish my 14-day trial before anyone found out about this. Oh well, I got 8 gigs already, and I can get more today.

    I use a program called tunebite [tunebite.com] that plays the files back and records them to MP3, as well as copying over album/artist metadata from the tags.

    Hopefully I can get everything copied before they fix it (if they ever can fix it).
    • Re:Aw Crap (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KiloByte (825081) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:23AM (#11698384)
      The trick is, they can't fix that.

      Possible workarounds for them:

      subverting the system (MS can do that) to allow locking the soundcard
      We can simply code a virtual soundcard driver.
      restricting Janus to work only if your soundcard has a driver signed by Microsoft's key (at the cost of breaking it for many people)
      We can use cards with extended functions.
      blocking all cards with such "extended functions" when Janus is in use
      At the cost of some quality, we can use the analog route, by simply plugging the card's speaker output into some other device.
  • Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:04AM (#11698269) Homepage

    "The DRM (digital rights management) is intact. Basically, people are just recording off a sound card. This is nothing new and people could do this with any legitimate service if they want to use a sound card," she said.

    "This kind of attack has been around for a long time and it's just because of our higher profile that it has sparked such interest," she said.

    But isn't this the point? All it takes a little software tool and suddenly everyone can do it. You can't just "ignore" attacks - because the attackers certainly wont.

    Simon.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:19AM (#11698366) Homepage
      ..."we're powerless to stop it".

      Don't think it isn't being worked on, just not by Napster. You can read more about Secure Audio Path [microsoft.com] here. Of course, the next step is a simple loopback-cable to another sound card (your input will be disabled while doing secure playback). The next step is to add a broadcast flag to the signal, only to have people circumvent it. Then they'll go for Secure Digital speakers. Then people will record with a high-fidelity microphone. And some time after they ban A/D converters, we will win (or the digital society we've made will collapse, whichever comes first).

      Kjella
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:04AM (#11698278) Homepage
    to post the story?

    "Growsing about rejected submissions" my behind -- I submitted a better worded snap with more informative links two days ago...

    WinAmp has pulled the plug-in in question from their site, it seems...

  • by Deep Fried Geekboy (807607) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:05AM (#11698284)
    1. Launch DRM'd subscription-based music service. Nobody joins it but RIAA backs your model and you get lots of good music.
    2. Wait for DRM to be cracked, in, ooh, three or four days.
    3. Your subscriptions suddenly rocket
    4. PROFIT!
  • That's not a crack (Score:4, Insightful)

    by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:05AM (#11698285) Homepage
    Sticking something on the output of the media player that saves a copy of the bits is not a crack.
  • by cmiller173 (641510) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:08AM (#11698301)
    Isn't this just a plugin to WinAmp the grabs the output stream from napsters software going to the sound card and "records" it? As far as I can tell you would still have to manually name/tag the files unless your happy with generic names. Also, a five minute song will take five minutes to capture. OPh and it captures as an uncompressed wav so you would need to convert it to your prefered format.
  • by Daath (225404) <lp@codeSLACKWAREr.dk minus distro> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:10AM (#11698316) Homepage Journal
    It's not actually been cracked - They can't make real digital 1:1 copies of the songs - What they do is record from the sound card. That's not so bad if you just want to burn them to CD, but if you want to re-encode from WAV to Ogg or MP3, the quality will deteriorate further...
    You can do this will *all* DRM media, nothing new here - It's only because it's Napster (woohoooo) that people think it's revolutionary. It isn't.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:29AM (#11698423) Homepage
      Well, depending on how you look at it. They are 1:1 digital copies of the same wav output that'd go to your speakers. If the WMA format was open, you could probably (with a lot of effort) create a "reverse engineer" encoder which would reconstruct the original compressed file, sans DRM.

      You can do this will *all* DRM media, nothing new here - It's only because it's Napster (woohoooo) that people think it's revolutionary. It isn't.

      Actually, no. The big news here is because it is a subscription service. I.e. you take a temporary copy, and make it a permanent one. It has a completely different impact on the business model than say Hymn and the iTMS.
  • Impact? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tuomasr (721846) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:11AM (#11698322)
    So what's the point? The main thing of Napster is that you can legally download songs off the internet. Circumventing copyright protection schemes is illegal, at least here in Finland. So why not download the songs illegally in the first place? Of course there's the RIAA-factor but if you don't share, is there a problem as getting caught propably isn't that likely.
  • by GatesGhost (850912) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:13AM (#11698330)
    napster just keeps finding a way to provide free music. lol. talk about irony.
  • by RandoX (828285) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:13AM (#11698334)
    Apparently, users have been sitting in front of their TV with a camcorder...
  • by 10am-bedtime (11106) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:16AM (#11698348)

    good administration (remember the "A" in "MBA"?) requires understanding how to meld the ideal (scamming --er-- making lots of money from your suckers --er-- clients/consumers) w/ the real (in this context, the fact that digital anything is infinitely reproducible w/ infinitessimal cost).

    when you forget that and start thinking that the "M" stands for "marketing", you lose. your loss may be immediate or it may be drawn out, but in the end that is not where you want to be. sure, a few years in $lopping it up in the trough before it all goes to shit is a worthy aspiration -- if that's what you believe, fine.

    if technical people (those more rooted in reality than you) tell you it's not going to fly, do everyone a favor and listen to them. maybe you will stop being such pompous jackasses w/ a little practice.

  • by thenextpresident (559469) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:16AM (#11698349) Homepage Journal
    Hehe
    iTunes: $0.99 per song.
    Napster: 14 day free trial: All the songs you can download and copy to MP3.

    Hrm... =)
  • Not cracked (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:16AM (#11698350)
    The DRM wasn't cracked, simply the output of the file was redirected back into a WAV (or MP3) without any DRM - akin to doing a tape to tape copy.

    Napster have already responded on their site (link in top right) and basically said the same thing. They also rightly pointed out (i think, as i've not tried) that this would be a 1:1 copy, so a 60 minute album would take you the same amount of time to copy - which isn't going to be much fun to do lots of.

    Apparantly rumour has it that Steve Jobs contacted music executives, pointing them to the site and the Napster CEO countered by pointing out several sites which showed you how to do the same with iTunes files. I'm not sure how true this is.

    Interestingly enough, the Winamp plugin required to do this - Output Stacker - was pulled from the winamp site. Which I find a little odd, since there are perfectly legal uses for the plugin - so I don't understand why they're playing censorer (to be safe?)

    If anyone knows where to get it from, it would be appreciated since Googles cache shows no homepage and a Google search of the author gives only a set of links to a non-working winamp.com URL.

    • I still found the output stacker [winamp.com] on Winamp.com [yeah, slashdot it out of existence].

      I don't listen to pop music (only Enigma, Eminem and a few others) - and I don't have the bandwidth to pull it off Napster. But how hard it is to really hook up something like Mp3 Recoder [advancedmp3recorder.com] and do this with WMplayer (I record webcasts from clients).

      Google is a REALLY dangerous tool against censorship. But that all said, you can't just supress information - Information wants to be free.

    • Re:Not cracked (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sentry21 (8183)
      Try Virtuosa [virtuosa.com] or Tunebite [tunebite.com] (which is what I use).
  • by gmajor (514414) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:24AM (#11698392) Journal
    Steve Jobs reportedly e-mailed record company executives a link to a blog detailing the hack. He apparently wants to paint Napster as an insecure service, no different from its original form all the while portraying iTunes as secure (PlayFair anyone?)

    Ruthless business tactics IMHO, dare I say reminiscent of the Redmond giant. I wish he'd let consumers decide which service is better rather than try to sabatoge Napster with his industry connections and FUD.

    (Disclaimer: Heard this as a rumor - I wasn't exactly CCed on Steve's e-mail - but I had no reason to disbelieve the source).
    • Re:And Apple... (Score:4, Informative)

      by eboot (697478) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:37AM (#11698476)
      The difference is Napster offer 14 day trial, meaning that you an download as much as possible and rencode at the same time, meaning you can download, with a reasonable amount of effort, a thousand free songs. In iTunes you can burn 'perfect' recordings of downloaded songs without any audio 'trickery' but you still have to pay for them! So Jobs can call them out on this, but he still shouldnt. Nobody likes a snitch!
    • Re:And Apple... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by loraksus (171574)
      Oh come on, even if this were true, napster came out a couple days ago and said they were going to take out Apple / iTunes.
      If you declare war, you can't really bitch that the other side just spanked you.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I have spoke to a friend within apple who has told me they are aware of this rumour, it is NOT true, and it is apparently being spread by people like gmajor(look at his several replies acting as if the "email" is a fact) as some sort of FUD campaign (maybe gmajor does the astro???). I have to admit though, he had me at first...we all know between running sucessful companies and coming up with innovative products steve is busy RABIDLY FOLLOWING BLOGS!!! UZ PWNED!
  • Napter CTO responds (Score:5, Informative)

    by graiz (647982) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:24AM (#11698395) Homepage
    A response from the Napster CTO taken from the homepage of Napster.com:
    ----

    It has come to our attention that there are a number of inaccurate statements posted by various sources on the Internet regarding the security of Napster and Napster To Go. As Napster's CTO, I would like to officially state that neither Napster To Go, Napster, nor Windows Media DRM have been hacked. In the interest of providing the most accurate information to consumers, the following is some background on the subject.

    There is a program that allows a user to record the playback of tracks directly from the computer's sound card. This process can be likened to the way people used to record songs from the radio onto cassette tapes, but instead of capturing the music on a tape, the file is converted into a new, unprotected digital format. This program does not break the encryption of the files, which can only be recorded one at a time making the process quite laborious. It would take 10 hours to convert 10 hours of music in this manner. It is important to note that this program is not specific to Napster; files from all legal subscription and pay-per-download services can be copied in this way.

    We hope that the information provided above clarifies the matter and puts questions regarding the security of Napster and Napster To Go to rest. Napster's mission is to provide consumers with a legal environment in which they can experience and discover the world's largest collection of digital music. We believe that artists should be compensated for their work and intellectual property rights should be respected. While we acknowledge there are always going to be those who do not share our belief, we remain committed to providing the most enjoyable and flexible digital music experience for those who do.
  • by geophile (16995) <(jao) (at) (geophile.com)> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:36AM (#11698462) Homepage
    Don't use SHA-1
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:47AM (#11698530) Homepage
    Why do they even try to put DRM on downloaded music? Everytime they do it, it's cracked. So, they are going through all this trouble for nothing. It doesn't stop the music from being leaked to P2P networks, because even if it was unbreakable, one person could purchase a CD, rip it, and put it on the network. One copy is all you need. If people really wanted to make copies of the music for distribution, they'd be much smarter to just go out and buy a CD. Higher quality, and infinitely easy to copy.
  • Its not a crime (Score:4, Informative)

    by adeydas (837049) <adeydas AT inbox DOT com> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @09:56AM (#11698601) Homepage Journal
    Well according to Napster, this is not a crime. Quotting from the article: "The DRM (digital rights management) is intact. Basically, people are just recording off a sound card. This is nothing new and people could do this with any legitimate service if they want to use a sound card".
  • Analog Hole (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sir Holo (531007) * on Thursday February 17, 2005 @10:11AM (#11698728)

    They are recording the output, en route to the speakers. This is called the analog hole. (If you can hear it, you can record it.)

    There is a strong effort by content companies to close the analog hole. How? By controlling access to analog-to-digital conversion hardware through new laws.

    That's right, it may one day be illegal to use a D/A converter any way you want.

    Read the top article here. [http]
  • New key developments (Score:5, Informative)

    by flowerp (512865) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @10:14AM (#11698750)
    New key developments:

    -If you use the "Out-lame" [sourceforge.net] Winamp plugin in the Output Stacker in place of "Out-disk", you can convert straight to MP3. It still encodes no faster than realtime, but this is a great way to conserve space. WAV(Out-disk) is still recommended if you are burning CDs and want to keep as much quality as possible. I can confirm that this all works.

    -You can run multiple instances of Winamp at once, each converting its own song. Each instance's playback will not interfere with any of the others, illustrating the fact that this is not simply recording the music off of your soundcard. Doing this, you can get FAR MORE than 252 full 80 minute CDs within 14 days. I can confirm that this works.

    You can transcode(MP3) or decode(WAV) X albums in the time it takes for the longest track on the album to elapse. And since you're not limited to only tracks from one album at a time, you can trans/decode as many tracks as instances of Winamp your computer will run limited only by your computer's resources.

    Quote from Napster's official statement: "It would take 10 hours to convert 10 hours of music in this manner."

    With the updated methods, you can convert 100 hours or 1,000 hours or 10,000 hours of music in 10 hours. The only limit is your computing resources.

  • by smchris (464899) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @10:17AM (#11698777)
    Considering the Chinese didn't have very good luck stopping the opium trade with crucifixion, it looks like the RIAA will have to spend big money on Congress now to get some _really_ tough penalties in force.
  • by SomeOtherGuy (179082) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @10:18AM (#11698781) Journal
    I have just cracked LP copy protection. I have plugged my record player into the line in button on my sound card, dropped the needle and clicked "record". This is a banner day. Hail to me. I am off to crack my camcorder next.
  • Expected (Score:3, Informative)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @10:37AM (#11698936) Homepage Journal
    Any high profile DRM will be attacked on sight.

    Its just the way of the world now.
  • by syntap (242090) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:01AM (#11699220)
    Everyone with any computer audio recording experience knows that the reported Napster crack is as old as sound card input/output. But the source of the story was Engadget.com, which is basically a heavily pro-Apple electronics product news/review site.

    The timing of this not-new-news release, right when Napster's new monthly flat-fee subscription service debuts, was no accident. It was meant to hit Napster on Wall Street, and as of this writing in early trading it's already paltry stock price is down over 2% on the news.
  • Um... duh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Audigy (552883) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:49AM (#11699816) Homepage Journal
    Christ almighty, way to make a mountain out a molehill.

    As long as any type of music is taking an analog path out to the listener's ear, it will ALWAYS be possible to "crack" ...just route your soundcard's line out to the line in jack, creating a loopback, and have fun with your audio recorder program.

    That's not cracking, it's common sense.

    Talk about your sensationalist journalism... I was expecting to read some article about a batch processor that strips the DRM from the MP3 files, not requiring decoding and re-encoding again.
  • by fozzmeister (160968) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:55AM (#11699915) Homepage
    would purchase any music at 96kb/s (stream) or 128 (download), unless it was your average cheesy pop. My sis had a few 128's and there is one particular song that we both like (NERD - Almost Over Now, Jason Nevins Mix, which is def _not_ the song I would pick for testing quality), she listened to my 192kb/s and said its not very different, the i put her's on again to listen too and you could actually see the "oh shit that does sound like crap" in her.

    Im sure the 128 of Napster is probably equiv to about a 160, but that really still isn't good enough, particularly when you consider that your buying a crippled version (Which is fine if they could guarentee that there will always be mp3 players, portable and computer based) and to keep your going to have to burn/rip which is going to kill all definition that the original song had. If I buy something digitally I expect to be able to keep it,

    I'd rather donate $2 per track to the artist and download off a dodgy P2P app than pay any music company $1 and be forced to re-buy it when they decide that its time for a new music tech and for everybody to re-buy thier old music.
  • by EvilStein (414640) <spamNO@SPAMpbp.net> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:01PM (#11701118) Homepage
    Now it really IS cheaper than iTunes. :)
  • by PsiPsiStar (95676) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @03:12PM (#11703077)
    Bollywood has a method of preventing their movies from being copies which is virutaly foolproof.

    They produce mostly Hindi musicals.

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