Compsci 182s, Spring 2006, DRM

This is a group assignment. The groups are listed below.


Group Blogs

tune hax

itunes drm

breaking itunes

break itunes

we like free ...


In designing and giving this assignment we have several goals.

I (ola) am not a lawyer. However, I view the assignment described below as legal for two reasons: broadly construed, it is encryption research and it is done for the purposes of interoperability (and fair use).

However, if you are concerned about the legality, you can choose not to participate in this assignment. Instead, you should write a paper, or a blog-entry, about why you are taking such a stance. You will receive a grade commensurate with your achievements, there is no penalty for opting-out of this assignment.

The purpose of this assignment is to legally acquire digital works, either iTunes songs or a DVD, and then develop a turnkey solution to play them on a different system. For example, a song purchased from the iTunes music store can be burned onto a CD, effectively creating an mp3 version of the song. The CD can then be ripped, storing the mp3 data on the computer. In this process, the DRM is stripped from the purchased song.

Every group has been given a $30.00 certificate to the iTunes music store. Alternatively you can have a DVD (see Professor Astrachan if you do not have a legally acquired DVD) and use that as your digital work.

I have six licenses for a program called Audio Hijack Pro that runs on Macintosh computers. I will also purchase licenses for Total Recorder which is a similar product running on Windows machines. You are not obligated to use these programs.

If you're using iTunes, you will try to develop a one-click/one program system for converting legally acquired files into mp3 format that play "anywhere". The idea is to be able to play iTunes-purchased music on non-iPod hardware.

If you're using DVDs, you will develop a one-click/one program method for converting discs to a format playable on a portable device, such as an iPod Video.

In either situation, the idea is to develop a simple method for doing the conversion -- not "run three programs, save two files, and the cross-your-fingers" solutions.

You can use to create your group blog -- it's free. You can use other sites if you prefer.

Each person in a group of four people has a specific responsibility:


By Friday, March 10, each group should have a blogging site, some significant relevant case law cited, an overview of the project and progress to date. Said progress may be a complete turnkey solution or documentation of when such a solution will be available (if ever) and why.

This first deliverable should represent about 20 hours of work for each group (as a guideline).

If you choose not to participate please send email to ola AT before 5:00 pm on Friday, March 3.

Owen L. Astrachan
Last modified: Wed Mar 8 13:36:57 EST 2006