Really Fair

Real ‘frees’ Apple’s iPod player

Software firm RealNetworks says it has found a way for tunes from its store to be played on devices like Apple iPods.
Previously, the only tracks with digital protection the iPod would play were those from the iTunes store.

It says its engineers used publicly-available information in order to work out how to make files compatible with Apple’s digital rights management (DRM) software, which is called FairPlay.

What took them so long? Probably the legal review 😉

Some details from Karl Lillevold (RealNetworks Sr. Codec Engineer):

As you know, the RealNetworks music store sells songs in 192 kbps AAC (as opposed to iTMS at 128 kbps). When transferring your purchased songs to the iPod, the AAC itself is not touched, but the Helix DRM is transmuxed to the DRM used by the iPod, i.e. fully protected and without trans-coding. If you then transfer the file back to your PC (for instance with Anapod), you get an M4P file, that is a protected MPEG-4 AAC file.


I’ve released FairKeys, a tool which lets you retrieve your FairPlay keys from Apple’s servers.

Instructions for MacOS X users:

1. Install MonoFramework-1.0.4.dmg
2. Start
3. curl -O ‘
4. tar -zxvf FairKeys-latest.tar.gz ; cd FairKeys-*
5. mcs -target:exe -out:”FairKeys.exe” -r:ICSharpCode.SharpZipLib.dll -r:System.Web.dll *.cs
6. mono FairKeys.exe <AppleID> <Password>


There’s an interesting post over in the hymn forums by a user calling himself laudmusic:

I work for major music publisher. We buy and convert files from ITMS as it’s cheaper than buying a whole CD from a one-stop when we need a master of a song we control.

Would love to have it AppleScriptable so I can incorporate Hymn into our creative system.

Searching for laudmusic turns up Michael Lau at Warner/Chappell.

From perennial favorites such as “Happy Birthday,” “Rhapsody In Blue,” “Winter Wonderland” and the ballads of Cole Porter to the hottest hits of recent years by such megastars as: R.E.M., Michael Jackson, Elton John, Sheryl Crow, Jewel and Madonna, Los Angeles-headquartered Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. now ranks as the premiere music publishing company in the world. Experiencing tenfold growth in revenue over the past decade, core businesses include exploitation of compositions, development of new writers and artists, licensing and printing of English and foreign language music, collection and payment of royalties on a worldwide basis, and the ongoing acquisition of music catalogs.

Did Warner/Chappell’s legal department review the iTMS TOS and come to the conclusion that it’s not worth the paper it’s, uhm, not written on? 😉

DeDRMS 0.3

If you’re having trouble playing your legally bought music, you might want to try this command:

find ~/Music -iname ‘*.m4[a,p]’ -exec perl -pi -e ‘BEGIN{$b=0}if(!$b){if(s/geIDx00x00/DIegx00x00/){$b=1}}’ {} “;”

If iTunes plays your fixed files but won’t transfer them to your iPod, delete the entries from your iTunes library and then readd the files.

MD5(DeDRMS-0.3.tar.gz) = 9a3fe1940771e8b55fdf1f77d019bd8d


playfair has been renamed to hymn (hear your music anywhere) and is back online with the legal backing of FSF India. It has been updated with the latest FairPlay code from VideoLAN.

Hunting playfair

Apple has succeeded in having playfair removed from The cease and desist notice does not specify which paragraphs of the laws mentioned was supposedly violating. That’s not surprising. When the MPAA’s lawyer contacted me regarding DeCSS four years ago, he failed to specify paragraphs as well. Such is the nature of frivolous charges.

I’m not mirroring playfair for two reasons:

  • playfair is licensed under the GPL, but links to mp4v2 which is licensed under the MPL. The MPL is not GPL compatible. The developer of playfair could easily rectify this by changing the license of his code to MPL. Update: I forgot that playfair also links to mp4ff which is licensed under the GPL. Thus my previous suggestion wouldn’t solve the problem.
  • The playfair tarball is 0,5 MB. That’s way too much.

What’s a copyfighter to do in such circumstances? I give you DeDRMS. Tarball is 10 KB. 210 lines of code. Written in C# using MonoDevelop.

MD5(DeDRMS-0.1.tar.gz) = 934a471f20d6580d5aad759bf0d97ddc


An anonymous developer has released a M4P decryptor called playfair. It uses the updated FAAD2 DRMS code I posted one week ago.

Note to the developer: Sam Hocevar’s entry is missing in the drms.c copyright header.