The Virgin/Virtuosa loophole was closed tonight with a software change and expiration of Virgin/MusicNet’s DRM keys. Users in the process of converting songs will discover that after the change, every song will consist of the last song you encoded just prior to the DRM update, regardless of the name Virtuosa assigns to it. Once conversion is complete, you will not be able to play any protected .wma file (or convert it) using Virtuosa with Napster or MusicNet’s clients (Virgin, AOL, FYE, RCN, etc.)
This should permanently end the Virtuosa loophole. Don’t bother attempting system restores, firewalls, tinkerings, and the rest. It won’t make any difference.
Posting news about loopholes to certain blogs is the guaranteed way of getting them closed within 24-48 hours. The music industry closely monitors certain blogs to get advance notice of security holes and they promptly plug them.
It is a major mistake to notify a software programmer or service alerting them that a loophole exists. I guarantee you these loopholes are -always- an oversight and prompting them about it is proverbially shooting yourself in the foot, as they will definitely close it as soon as possible.
The greedy ‘grab it all before the free trial expires/steal your way through company x/get music for free and then cancel!’ type threads I’ve seen all over the net confirm in the eyes of the industry that most Internet users are default thieves and that is precisely why they use such onerous encryption and security. When in doubt, lock them out! is the slogan, and since few people are actually paying customers, they really don’t care whether that makes you mad or not.
BTW, the music industry is aware of the Tunebite and digital-analog-digital default option and they’re not sitting around just accepting that either. Winamp launched the first salvo by working to lock out users streaming audio to files. The ideas they are currently kicking around include finding some way to mess up the file tags (they want you to use their secure players anyway). The idea of degrading the sound quality has also been discussed, but that is probably not viable for obvious reasons.
If they can make your life as hard as possible by making it difficult to automatically grab, split, and correctly name files, they assume you won’t try.
The next “solution” will probably come from the hacker/cracker community which will develop software that specifically and knowingly works its way around DRM, particularly for those who at least have authorized licenses to play the files.