For quite some time there has been some tools that would let you strip the DRM from encrypted Windows Media files. However, they have been difficult to use and have not worked on all systems.
Now a user called viodentia over at the Doom9 forums has posted a tool called FairUse4WM. It lets you remove the DRM from files that you have a valid license for on your computer.
Meaning that you can now safely buy music on all the Windows Media Based music shops and easily “set it free” so you can play it on whatever device you want.
This is great news for consumers and pretty bad news for some content owners and of course for Microsoft. They issued a patch for Windows Media Player shortly after the first release of FairUse4WM. The patch stopped FairUse4WM, but it took viodentia a couple of hours to release a new version that worked on patched media players as well. Let the good old cat and mouse game begin!
It seems like Cory Doctorow was right. DRM doesn’t work.
I have tested FairUse4WM and it works very well. First you point it to a media file that you have a working key for. You can download this one and play it once so a key is issued. Point FairUse4WM to it and when it has done its wonders on that file you get to the next screen where you simply drag and drop DRM’ed files. When you have added the files you want to make device independent you hit one button and FairUse4WM strips the DRM and saves the new files in a location that you have specified. It adds “[NoDRM]” to the name. Simple as that.
Please note that I am not in any way encouraging piracy here. FairUse4WM should be used on media that you have legally obtained and of course you should never redistribute media that you don’t own the rights to.
However, this tool is great if you have been stupid enough to buy music on any of the Windows Media DRM’ed shops on the net. This means that you can unlock and convert WMA and WMV so you can play it on your iPod, your Linux player or whatever box that has not been blessed by Microsoft. It means that buying music from the MSN Music store no longer is so stupid after all…
An article on some of the first tools to break the WMV DRM from Chris Laniers blog back in february 2005.
Engadget covers the story and publish an open letter to Microsoft. The Slashdot crowd chimes in. And, well – it’s all over the blogsphere and all over the net.