In a response to an application that was originally reported to allow users to strip DRM encoding from Windows Media files, Microsoft has quickly issued a patch that circumvents the utility. Engadget.com originally reported on a small utility called FairUse4WM able to remove DRM information from WMA files to allow playback on any device. The new update from Microsoft updates the individualized blackbox component (IBX) that exists in PlayForSure. The update was released on Monday and content service providers received an email from Microsoft advising to install the update. According to the Microsoft's email:
In response, on August 28, 2006, Microsoft released an update to the individualized blackbox component (IBX) designed to ensure that client applications using the Windows Media Format SDK version 9.5 who individualize to this latest version are robust against a new circumvention tool.Consumers are not at risk in any way. Content services can require that the updates be present in order to issue licenses by following the instructions below. Please note that the version number of IBX was not incremented as part of these updates to avoid delaying the release of these critical breach mitigations. Consequently, the only way to determine if the update is installed is to query the build number of the IBX. This requires code executing on the client.
As of now, the update is not available for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 UR2 users or for the Windows Media Format 9 series FSDK. What's interesting however is that it only took Microsoft a mere three days to issue the DRM fix. Clearly protecting media content is in Microsoft's best interests -- it's highly publicized Zune portable media player is coming.