FairPlay is a digital rights management of the corporation Apple for digital media, which is integrated into the QuickTime technology. It found inter alia in Apple products like the iPod, the iPhone, iTunes and the iTunes Store use. Previously, any file that is sold through the iTunes Store from Apple, firmly connected with this system. Since early 2009, all the songs in the iTunes Store are DRM- free, which, however, led to the compromise, that there are five new price points for songs. The offered video but fair play is still the normal state.

Limitations of fair play protected files

Fair Play restricts the use of the files compared to unprotected files as follows:

  • A protected with FairPlay media file can only be played on five computers at a time. For this, each computer must be authorized. Computers can be authorized as often ( de - ).
  • Media files can be played only with iPods and not other portable music or video players.
  • FairPlay protected media files, as there are QuickTime, iTunes, and thus the iTunes Store for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows, not without bypassing the system be played on other operating systems.
  • Media files can be as often burned to CDs with iTunes. However, the same playlist only seven burned. After changing the playlist, for example with regard to the order of the tracks, it can be fired again seven times. When burning is necessary to distinguish between audio CD and data CD: If audio files burned to an audio CD, this copy protection is removed because the actual data on the audio CD can not be copy-protected. ( Copy-protected Audio CDs commercially use alternative methods to reduce the usability, see this.)
  • Purchased videos from the iTunes Store can only be burned as data discs, whereby the copy protection is maintained.

On iTunes authorized computers already protected files can be played on any program that knows how to QuickTime files.

The story of Fair Play

On 28 April 2003 iTunes 4 and the iTunes Store, and thus fair play were published. On 12 October 2005 QuickTime 7.0.3 and iTunes appeared 6 Since the purchase of videos from the iTunes Store is feasible and the protection thus part of fair play.

Apple's CEO Steve Jobs provoked on 6 February 2007 with his open letter Thoughts on Music, in which he outlined the uncertainties of copy protection methods and their social excesses, an escalation of the dispute between the computer, the music and the film industry and consumer protection organizations. Jobs requirement tempted Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman, Warner Music Group and Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America ( RIAA ) to the requirement that Apple's FairPlay would license its competitors. An agreement on a common standard with the participation of various interest groups is questionable due to the conflicting interests. Meanwhile, Apple also seems aware and therefore already filed on 1 February 2007 as a precaution two additional patents, which on the one hand include the secure configuration of an iPod a digital signature and on the other hand describe a method for securely updating the DRM software. A major innovation of these patents from Apple is that impairment of the DRM software can be solved through automated updates without having to ask the user.


Since then, iTunes FairPlay uses, there have been programs to remove the copy protection of FairPlay -protected files. These programs allowed by using the iTunes program data only, fair play to remove from the files that you have legitimately purchased on iTunes and is authorized for their respective playing the computer in iTunes. One of the first, QTFairUse, by Jon Lech Johansen was (known as co-author of DeCSS ) published in 2003.

Apple went in cases of contractual obligations to rights holders, so the music labels and the film and television industry, always with warnings, temporary injunctions and other remedies against the respective programmer before and published as soon as possible program updates, to make fair play attacking safer and such programs do not to make it work more. To date, there is a cat-and -mouse game between Apple and the opponents of restrictive DRM system.

Last could be removed with those sold in Freenet program Requiem 1.8.10 on OS X and Windows Fairplay while maintaining the original quality of protected files from iTunes users up to and including version 8.1.1. Since version 1.8.4, the keys are written to decrypt in a cache. Thus, the encryption can be removed also in newer versions of iTunes even if iTunes manages the keys to an unknown location.

On 21 January 2010 Requiem 1.8.17 was released for iTunes 9.0.2 as a bug fix.