Microsoft has been forced to issue an urgent software update to secure the solution it offers to digital music stores following an easy and successful hack.
A new hack called FairUse4WM emerged last week. According to reports, the software strips the digital rights management system from tracks encoded using Microsoft's Windows Media and PlaysForSure technology.
That's the same technology used by a variety of Windows-using stores, including Napster.
FairUse4WM will even strip the protection from tracks provided using subscription-based music services, making it possible for users to download limitless music tracks for free.
Once the security has been stripped from the track, music can be imported into iTunes using QuickTime and Flip4Mac.
FairUse4WM works one file at a time and requires Windows Media 10 or 11.
Having succesfully tested the software, Engadget warns: "Now watch as Microsoft shuts down the forums and runs damage control in order to prevent its entire digital media platform collapsing."
The release of the software exposes the weakness of business plans based on DRM, as the contest between technology and music companies, and consumers wanting fair use of their legally-purchased music seems set to intensify.