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Microsoft Confirms DRM hack, Readies Fix

A confirmation has been issued by Microsoft Corporation regarding the
existence of software capable of getting past copy protection for online
music. An assurance was given that a patch developed to correct the
problem and prevent removal of copyright protection from media player. The
release of the update patch is still awaited.

The patch has been developed to combat an application known as FairUse4WM
with the ability to remove Digital Rights Management (DRM) part from
Windows media files.

According to Windows Client Division's senior product manger Marcus
Matthias, Microsoft knows about a recent tool that gets the better of the
technology used in Windows Media Digital Rights Management and penetrates
the protective controls used by content providers on their intellectual
possessions like music and video content.

It has long been maintained by the company that none of the DRM systems
have resistance to circumvention, a fact their content partners too are
aware of. This was the reason for designing the Windows Media DRM system
to be renewable to ensure that in case of such occurrences, the system can
be refreshed to tackle them. This keeps end users safe from the
circumvention against WM DRM content. Among partners are music and video
providers that rely on Microsoft's DRM technology to stop unauthorized
file copying.

FairUse4WM had an anonymous release on the Internet and offers a graphical
interface and a program known as drmdbg to get rid of DRM protection from
protected media.

With sales of online music rising, control of protected media needs to be
effective. Without DRM music labels would hesitate to give licenses to
companies. Movie studios are experimenting with video downloads, creating
the need for a more secure DRM. They wish to eliminate the problems the
music industry encountered.

Microsoft and other companies are facing increasing challenges in their
attempts to serve nervous content providers as customer complaints are
already pouring in about restrictions on content distribution.

Not that the war on DRM is anything new. There was a recent announcement
from Sun Microsystems about its DRM/everywhere (DreaM) for attempting to
break the DRM lock. Real Networks made a similar effort in 2004 along with
Harmony Technology DRM translator.

Related article: Microsoft Patches Live OneCare to Tackle Quarantined E-Mails

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