Sometimes I wonder whether it’s ever going to be possible to produce a watertight way of limiting access to digital music. Take Apple’s very popular iTunes, for example. CNET reports that an independent software developer has created a program that lets users of iTunes for Windows grab song files from other people on a computer network, using a streaming feature already available in iTunes. The MyTunes software fits neatly into iTunes and, unlike Apple’s software which makes no permanent copy of the song, captures that “stream” of music, making a copy that can be burned to a CD, uploaded to the Net or streamed to another PC.
As CNET says, “while stream recording is not new–a myriad programs exist for recording Web radio and other streaming Net services for Windows and Macintosh computers–the ease with which the MyTunes software fits into iTunes pushes the experience to a new, and perhaps legally risky, level. Running the program makes creating your own MP3 songs from someone else’s collection as easy or easier than grabbing MP3s via traditional file-swapping software like Kazaa. That could complicate things for Apple, which depends on the music industry’s support–and indeed, has won unprecedented kudos from labels and artists–for its iTunes music store.”