Napster may have a new headache on its hands, with a DRM hack recently surfacing.
A team of programmers led by Cody Brocious are rumoured to be very near an implementation of a utility that will allow people to turn songs acquired through Napster Light and Premium into unencrypted files.
Users will still have to pay for the initial download of the file (to acquire the key from Napster) with the tool then stripping the WMA files of their underlying DRM protections.
Previously, users keen to distribute encrypted DRM-protect files have had to resort to unwieldy workarounds such as recording from the sound card.
Once stripped of its DRM, songs downloaded from Napster can be re-encoded and played back across a number of different systems – undermining the entire business model of the Napster service.
The tool is reported to be unable to circumvent Napster To Go songs using Janus DRM (WMA DRM v10) which is different from the DRM applied to Light and Premium songs.
The latest hack seems to be driven by a desire to make the Napster service functional on both Linux and Mac platforms, instead of just Windows, with Cody seeing his actions as “ethical,” irrespective of legality, and he is willing to “fight the DMCA.”
He wants to be able to play his lawfully acquired Napster music on Linux.