back to article PANDA chomps through Spotify's DRM

Music can be ripped from Spotify using a tool that cracks digital rights management copyright protection, a Georgia Tech University researcher says. Code dubbed Platform for Architecture-Neutral Dynamic Analysis - aka PANDA - posted to GitHub does the job, says researcher Brendan Doln-Gavitt. "[The technique] by itself is …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The entire concept

    of DRM on music or otherwise is busted...

    Move on and find a new business model....

    Bring back audio galaxy....

    1. G Murphy

      Re: The entire concept

      I agree with you, but only when you're buying the music.

      Spotify is a streaming service, under no circumstance are you ever led to believe you 'own' the music so why shouldn't it be protected.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Over thinking the Problem

    If you are just going to extract specific songs, you could just use a sound card with SPDIF input and output and loop it back.

  3. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    If you can read it, you can copy it. End of.

    All that DRM thing is a bit silly surely. If you can play a song or a movie, it automatically follows that you can copy it. End of. The only way to do "proper" DRM is to prevent playing of the media altogether (which some flavours of DRM achieve with near-100% efficiency actually). So it's a lot of ado for not much; these borked schemes forced upon the world by the Morons Ass. of America and their delocalized subsidiaries _will_ be broken eventually. All and any of them, by design.

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: If you can read it, you can copy it. End of.

      This is exactly why DRM is snake oil, and those who sell it are the real thieves, not so much to us, the end-consumers, but to all the music and media companies they keep on selling the same lie to over and over.

      In cryptographic terms, DRM is flawed because in any DRM scenario, Bob and Mallory are the same person. That is, in the usual cryptographic cast of characters where Alice, the sender, sends a message to Bob, the intended recipient and Mallory, the attacker, trying to intercept the message, DRM is treating the intended recipient as the attacker. But since Bob has to have the decryption key in order to read the message, it follows that DRM, by definition, is giving the key to Mallory to decrypt the message, since the recipient is ipso facto the attacker.

      This principle is why DRM is a scam, no matter how the snake-oil merchants try to dress it up. Were I in power, I would have every staff member and shareholder of every DRM company arrested and charged with fraud for this reason.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: If you can read it, you can copy it. End of.

      "All that DRM thing is a bit silly surely. If you can play a song or a movie, it automatically follows that you can copy it. End of. The only way to do "proper" DRM is to prevent playing of the media altogether (which some flavours of DRM achieve with near-100% efficiency actually)."

      Actually there is.

      It requires all devices in the chain (and their connections) to have encryption baked in.

      That was basically what Microsoft meant when they were talking about their "Secure Computing Initiative" AKA Palladium.

      Turns out even the hardware mfgs weren't quite prepared to put up with this BS.

  4. Mage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Crazy

    Install a Virtual Audio cable

    "Record" the stream.

    No DRM.

    Or a 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack cable and 2nd Laptop if you don't know how to install and configure multiple virtual audio devices.

    DRM has never ever prevented commercial Piracy. Only inconvenienced Home Users.

    DRM on Video, books, Music, images should be outlawed as it extends control past the date copyright expires, allows commercial control of Public Domain works "republished". Limits platform portability etc. It removes normal consumer rights and 'fair use'.

    I support copyright. But for a reasonable period of time and only the traditional way, take a civil suit against those that break it. Don't penalise all those ordinary customers.

    DIE DRM DIE!

  5. Lionel Baden

    Use spotify myself

    And yes i could just rip all the songs off it, but to be honest I quite like paying for a service that works. I believe people should get paid for their work. if only they would bring a similar service for films, I would be ecstatic.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Use spotify myself

      Sure stuff should be paid for.

      But that is not ever a justification for DRM.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Use spotify myself

        What's the problem with DRM?

        I don't mind paying for digital media that someone has taken effort over and spent money to create.

        Therefore, as far as I can recall DRM has never caused an issue for me. So what's the issue for you guys?

        I am now (and have been for many years) fully conditioned to expect that 'nothing lasts forever' in this digital world. You live for now. If you want something to 'last forever' then look elsewhere than the internet.

        Full Premium Spotify user here for 3+ years and loving it.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Use spotify myself

          Here's the thing. What if Spotify goes titsup? Temporarily or otherwise? The big problem with DRM is trying to deal with the possibility that the Right Manager no longer exists.

          1. jason 7

            Re: Use spotify myself

            If Spotify goes tits up?

            Well it's hardly the end of the world. I still have a huge rack of CDs behind me I could dust off...or switch on the radio.

            Solution - Unsubscribe and subscribe to a similar service. Or just unsubscribe and keep the money.

            Not a problem.

            1. jason 7
              Meh

              Re: Use spotify myself

              Wow I guess some folks hold superflous fluff like 'streaming music services' far higher than I do in my list of critical life priorities.

              In fact I don't reckon it would appear in my top 50.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Use spotify myself

                "Wow I guess some folks hold superflous fluff like 'streaming music services' far higher than I do in my list of critical life priorities.

                In fact I don't reckon it would appear in my top 50."

                Isn't it weird how different people have different priorities?

                Welcome to turning ten years old.

                1. jason 7
                  Happy

                  Re: Use spotify myself

                  Well I guess if or when the apocalypse comes, I'll be the one getting my hands on the shotgun and the tins of baked beans while the rest are tweeting about it whilst running around trying to charge up their smartwatches...

                  Could make it easier for me I suppose.

                  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
                    Trollface

                    Re: Use spotify myself

                    Well I guess if or when the apocalypse comes, I'll be the one getting my hands on the shotgun and the tins of baked beans

                    So how is your DayZ survival training going?

          2. rh587 Silver badge

            Re: Use spotify myself

            For Spotify, it doesn't matter - it's a streaming service. You are paying a monthly access fee. If Spotify disappears then you move to another service.

            The problem comes with things like iTunes (although iTunes specifically doesn't DRM anymore), where you are licensing the music in perpetuity (what we used to call "buying" - though you were only ever buying the vinyl, and licensing in perpetuity a domestic use license for the IP contained on it).

            Unfortunately there is no guarantee of the Rights Manager existing in perpetuity. If they go bump, so does your music unless they release a tool to unlock everything as their dying act.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. .stu

              Re: Use spotify myself

              No when I was a kid I *bought* (and owned) records and tapes, not that bullshit you said.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Use spotify myself

            If spotify goes titsup then I'll stop paying for acces to the library I don't have access to any more.

            I'm paying for library access, not some guarantee of future availability.

        2. .stu

          Re: Use spotify myself

          You almost seem proud of your conditioning. And yes things can last forever in the digital domain even when you don't want them to.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Use spotify myself

        The DRM on spotify isn't arduous - their clients are OK, and other services exist. So I don't object to it. DRM is objectionable when it prevents you from getting media on your chosen device. They support Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Roku....

        As a premium user I pay for access to their music library, which is extensive, on devices which are convenient to me.

        Similarly I pay for access to the Sky Movies library on my NowTV boxes, that's also a "pay monthly" access to an extensive library (albeit items don't remain there for very long) And I think I could even use a PC (although likely Windows only, which would scupper me).

        I also have Amazon Prime, which is good for rapid deliveries of various items, but also includes LoveFilm - slightly slower (by post, 3 discs at a time) access to a vast DVD library, with no obvious expiry issues (as per sky movies)

        All of those have DRM, although obviously DVD DRM is fairly easy to bypass (thanks Jon), but more importantly the discs play on virtually any of my devices without issue.

        The video DRM on Sky isn't a problem - my NowTVs give nice pictures, I don't need to think about it.

        The DRM on Spotify isn't an issue, I get audio as and when I want it, on the device(s) I want.

        Stuff I really want to watch/listen again and again I can buy, since I no longer pay for TV in any other way. No aerial, no cable, no dish - if it doesn't come on-demand over the 'net then it doesn't hit a screen.

        Dropping sky/cable TV has netted a saving, no TV license either - that alone saves enough to pay for ~2/3rds of Spotify & Sky Movies combined.

        I pay for access to entertainment libraries, I also pay to purchase media with specific pieces of entertainment on them.

        Then I break the law (Hence AC) by ripping the DVDs to my Plex library, and CDs to iTunes (and access as a file system) - but I still keep the DVDs/CDs nicely boxed.

        It's just easier to access the media over the network than with a fragile silver disc. Frankly, even the few things I have on BluRay I tend to watch in "lower" quality.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Use spotify myself

          What if you make a new OS, a new device? You are at the mercy of the DRM provider. It's inherently bad for competition, innovation and the consumer.

          The nature of how the service is delivered has no relationship to justify DRM.

        2. Lamont Cranston

          Re: Use spotify myself

          I have Deezer on my phone - music I obtain that way is effectively trapped on my phone, unless I go jumping through a number of hoops to free it. CDs play on any CD-player I choose to use, and DRM-free mp3s (legitimately obtained, or ripped from the CD*) play everywhere else.

          If Tesco sold me a steak, but insisted I could only eat it in-store, with a knife and fork rented from them, I don't think I'd buy that steak**. I've never purchased anything through Deezer, and I would think twice about paying for their service if I wasn't getting it free with my sim contract.

          *I'm reasonably sure that home-taping hasn't killed music

          **I'm quite aware that this is a crap analogy - restaurants are a fine thing, and food only gets eaten once.

        3. Richard 1

          Re: Use spotify myself

          Erm... if you have NowTV then you should have a TV license. NowTV allows you to watch on-demand as well as tv shows as they're being broadcast. I'm pretty sure you'd fall foul of the law if they came knocking on your door. Whether you say you don't want the broadcast stuff or not doesn't matter. It's the fact that you could.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Use spotify myself

            NowTV is a PC, all PC's are capable of live streaming, you don't need a TV license for a PC.

            1. Rob D.
              Unhappy

              Re: Use spotify myself

              If you choose to watch or record TV as it is broadcast then you need a TV license regardless of the device on which you are watching or recording.

              http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/how-to-tell-us-you-dont-watch-tv-top12

            2. Nigel 3

              Re: Use spotify myself

              "you don't need a TV license for a PC." -

              That's not strictly true :

              http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one

          2. fearnothing

            Re: Use spotify myself

            The offence is the act of watching something as it is being broadcast, not the ability to do so.

            1. Mage Silver badge

              Re: Licence Offence

              IN UK.

              In Ireland simply having equipment that COULD be used triggers the TV licence requirement.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Joke

                Re: Licence Offence

                So everyone with Eyes in Eyeland needs a TV license? :P

      3. Lionel Baden

        Re: Use spotify myself

        @Mage

        The DRM in Spotify is transparent.

        This is how it should be. I have never had an issue with not being able to play it on one device or the other. I can store it offline for mobile devices, i can use my account on multiple devices.

        If I didnt know better i wouldn't of guessed they used DRM.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Headmaster

          Re: Use spotify myself

          @Lionel Baden.

          "If I didnt know better i wouldn't of guessed they used DRM."

          If I didnt know better i wouldn't HAVE guessed they used DRM.

          My god.... Getting sick of this "of" instead of "have".

          At NO point in the English Language (this also applies to you, rest of the world) does "of" ever follow "would" or "wouldn't".

          Bad enough having to be "axed" a question.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Getting sick of this "of" instead of "have"."

            Look on the bright side. It's a clear warning that the rest of the text is likely to be just as ill-educated and clueless.

            Isn't it??

          2. PunkTiger
            Trollface

            Re: Use spotify myself

            At NO point in the English Language (this also applies to you, rest of the world) does "of" ever follow "would" or "wouldn't".

            Would "of" be a necessary word to use when writing recipe ingredients; for instance: "1 kg. of beef"?

            Hmmm... It seemed to work there in that perfectly cromulent question.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Run DRM

    Home taping is killing music

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Run DRM

      If that were true, why didn't they ban consumer-level CD recorders as enabling devices?

      1. Fihart

        Re: Run DRM -- CD Recorders

        They didn't need to ban CD recorders because consumers didn't buy them.

        1) They cost too much

        2) Some models proved very unreliable.

        3) The discs they needed cost more (to pay fee to copyright owners) and were hard to find.

        4) You could rip CD etc on a computer without any of the above issues.

        Ironically, many recorders were bought by musicians to record music they actually owned the copyright to.

  7. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Run it in a vm

    record the vm AV output.

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge

    There's a conflict here....

    The article is about how to bypass/break the DRM in Spotify, yet the Uni types who developed it say they don't condone piracy. And apparently the USAF is involved. So what exactly is going on? If it's some kind of DRM breaker for the USAF, I would have expected some sort of lockdown on releasing the info....

  9. JCitizen Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Cable DRM nightmare..

    Most of my tech friends have had so much trouble trying to play content on their DRM enabled devices, that they were forced to download a ripoff from torrents, so they could at least enjoy a facsimile of the content. I know what they mean - because when the MPAA finally approved HDTV cable ready DVRs beyond what TiVO and the cable set-top boxes had already on the market - they only let a very few OEMs get involved back in 2007. Like a fool, I bought one of those CTO media centers and tried to make it work. After three years of banging my head on a wall, and getting no help because I was on the flipping bleeding edge, that no-body knew what I was talking about - I just had to solve almost all the problems myself! Fortunately Microsoft pretty well gave up on that model and simplified it - but no one, that is a non-technical person should have to go through that hell, just to enjoy content that they bloody well paid hard earned money for! I shouldn't have had to either, but I was obsessed! I finally got decent performance out of the machine, but I will never try a project like that again. I can do without this crap and just go to surfing the internet and reading magazines for entertainment - never again will I go though that pain!

    Many comments on here act like it is simple to crack this content - Hell this DRM is literally baked onto the hardware, and in this case it was from the bios to the back plane! If there was the slightest brain fart in the system, your speakers would shutdown, or the monitor would flicker or go black, or the machine would simply shutdow - no explanation or error code. What makes it worse, is I think nation state attackers are in on the software scheme of this, and are piggy backing on board to watch people for targets of opportunity - especially those they can grab their IP from, and commit other acts of industrial or military sabotage. Go ahead and call me a nut - I don't care - I'll bet you this comes out in one of Snowden's revelations some day - mark my words!

  10. Annie_Yazbeck

    With DRM protection built-in Spotify music and playlists, there are lots of limitations for playing Spotify files, such as listening to Spotify music online only for free users, playing Spotify via Spotify app only for premium subscribers.

    To listen to Spotify more convenient, the best way is to remove DRM from Spotify with the assistance of AudFree Spotify DRM Removal so that all restrictions can be removed forever.

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