PyMusique Author Hacks Apple's ITunes Fix

Apple Computer and the authors of an application that allow users to buy music from the ITunes Music Store without using ITunes itself appear to be involved in an escalating war of wits.

On Tuesday, only a day after Apple announced a change to the ITunes Music Store that prevented users from using a third-party program called PyMusique to buy songs, one of the program's authors has made changes that restores the software's ability to work.

PyMusique is a software program for Windows and Linux operating systems that enabled users to buy music through the ITunes Music Store without using Apple's ITunes software. It has two features which made it remarkable: It allowed you to re-download songs without having to pay for them again, and it downloaded songs without encrypting them using FairPlay, Apple's Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology--songs bought using PyMusique could be played back by any computer or portable device capable of recognize AAC-formatted files.

Apple responded Monday by making a change to the ITunes Music Store that required customers to use ITunes version 4.7, which used a different encryption method than previous versions--the method which PyMusique effectively nullified. Apple estimated about 15 percent of its ITunes Music Store customers would need to upgrade to continue to purchase music.

Reverse Engineering

On Tuesday one of PyMusique's authors, Jon Lech Johansen, confirmed to MacCentral that he has reverse-engineered the encryption used by ITunes 4.7--the changes have been posted to the latest build of PyMusique available for download. Johansen has developed PyMusique in cooperation with Travis Watkins and Cody Brocious.

PyMusique uses Python, an interpreted programming language supported on multiple platforms including Mac OS X. While PyMusique currently exists only as raw source code or binaries compatible with Windows and Linux operating systems, Johansen confirmed that a native Mac OS X version is "doable," presuming a Mac programmer wants to step up to the plate and reimplement the software in Cocoa, Apple's programming environment for Mac OS X.

Apple's and PyMusique's attempts to out-engineer each other notwithstanding, Apple's terms of service for ITunes Music Store users makes its policies towards applications of this type quite clear.

"You will not access the Service by any means other than through software that is provided by Apple for accessing the Service," states the document.

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