September 7, 2004 1:20 PM PDT

MyTunes returns for iTunes song sharing

Tools that turn Apple Computers' iTunes software into the core of a song-sharing network are multiplying, with the re-release this week of the previously defunct MyTunes.

Like OurTunes and a handful of other software programs, "MyTunes Redux" enables computer users to download songs freely from the hard drives of other iTunes users, as long as the two machines are on the same local network.

The software takes advantage of iTunes' ability to stream songs between computers. That feature is aimed at people who want to listen on one PC to songs stored on another computer inside a home network, among other uses, but Apple does not ordinarily allow the files to be downloaded permanently.

MyTunes developer Bill Zeller, like other independent programmers, has said he is simply interested in extending the way iTunes can be used. Zeller's original software, which also enabled people to download songs from other computers, was disabled by Apple in April, and he said on Tuesday he had had trepidations about releasing the "Redux" version.

"I was worried that if Apple doesn't like it, even though they haven't said anything to me, they could turn off sharing completely--and that would be bad," Zeller said. "But OurTunes was already out, and that has the same functionality."

Apple declined to comment specifically on MyTunes.

The release of the underground software programs have been a continual thorn in Apple's side, as it has worked to balance the desires of piracy-shy record labels with the company's own desire to build new features into its popular music jukebox software.

An early version of iTunes had allowed people to stream their songs over the Internet at large, instead of just over a local network. But when people began building Internet radio stations and tools that could search other people's hard drives for songs to play at any given moment, Apple disabled the feature.

Zeller's original version of MyTunes piggybacked on top of the iTunes software itself. It mimicked iTunes' requests to access another computer user's music library in order to perform downloads instead of iTunes' own streaming. Apple took out that software in an upgrade to its jukebox and music store last April.

Both Zeller's new MyTunes and the previously released OurTunes take advantage of work done by Australian student David Hammerton, who released information last spring on how to crack through part of the encryption Apple uses inside its iTunes software.

Neither tool allows downloads of songs that have been purchased though Apple's iTunes Music Store, which are wrapped in the company's proprietary FairPlay digital rights management software.

Zeller, a student at Trinity College in Connecticut, said he has not been contacted either by Apple or the Recording Industry Association of America about his software.

A recent court decision said peer-to-peer software distributors were not legally liable if people use their tool to violate copyrights, as long as the companies have no direct control over the file trades. Zeller's software, like most file-sharing tools, notifies users that downloading copyrighted music is illegal.


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All that these people are doing is....
They only things this is going to do is cause problems for the music industry and Apple and anyone else that starts an online music store. Sure the recording industry is made up of a bunch of greedy S*B's. However, this is going to have the effect that what they will start doing is either not allow online music sales and havily protect CDs that makes them almost impossible to use (they shouldn't have too much trouble getting a law passed that allows this, especiall with people like Utah's Mr. Hatch on their side). Or, they will continue with the online music sales and either increase the protection to the point you can't even look crossed eyed at the song without it not working any more or they could just start filing more law suites. My bet is when pushed they will just do all of the above and then some. Who knows since the music industry is trying to give consumers what they want, basically inexpensive online music downloads this new twist in the piracy realm might even be enough to get a law passed that would allow them to kill copyright infringers computers.

I think now the greed is starting to rapidly move to the consumers side. In the end the consumer is going to loose.

Which is ok with me I don't buy music CDs or songs online.

Posted by (336 comments )
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As it was before, it will be again. Apple is going to have to take a different approach than, just don't do it because we said so and/or turning off a feature. If they have Real breathing down their software neck, then you know black hats and grey hats are really working on something to embrace and extend the iTunes service beyond the box that Apple has created.
Posted by thaman123 (21 comments )
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