A German company is offering what it claims is a legal method of making iTunes Music Store music playable on devices other than the iPod.
RapidSolution Software claims its Windows only software, Tunebite, "legally provides the user with new music files without restrictions".
The company claims that Apple's FairPlay and Microsoft's WMA digital rights management formats "limit users", and that "the music industry is disadvantaging consumers."
It argues that: "The honest end user, who does not seem to fit into the patterns imposed by the music industry, falls by the wayside."
The Tunebite software re-records tracks purchased from the iTunes Music Store. According to the company this does not damage the quality of the track. "Depending on the PC’s soundcard, Tunebite can re-record it at up to 256 kbit/s, thus rendering any potential quality loss virtually inaudible for the consumer," it claims.
RapidSolution claims Tunebite exploits a legal loophole. "This worldwide legal loophole provides the opportunity of legal private use by the analogous recording of media while it is being played. This can be compared with music from the radio, or movies from TV, which can be legally recorded onto cassette recorders or VCRs. Tunebite uses this principle by the analogous re-recording of tracks that are played back."
Apple has not yet reacted to this announcement. When Real announced that its Harmony software would let music acquired from Real's online music store play on iPods Apple reacted angrily, claiming that the company had the ethics of a hacker.