DRM Workarounds Are Nothing New, But Napster to Go Is, So Here’s the Obligatory Story on How the Kids Are Beating It
It’s been axiomatic since the days of SDMI and even long before: If you build it, they will hack it.

We’re talking about any kind of digital lock and key, or in this case, Digitial Rights Management—the software code that keeps you from making too many copies of your favorite downloaded songs.

Now that rule is being proved again with Napster’s just-launched portable subscription service, Napster to Go. But in this case, it's not really a hack, but a simple audio workaround that's been around for some time.

According to reports, multiple Web sites are already spreading the word about a simple way to convert Napster to Go files, which come protected with a new kind of Microsoft DRM, into an unprotected file format that can copied freely.

Sites including BoingBoing.com and Engadget.com are telling visitors that by using music player Winamp and a secondary piece of software known as Output Stacker to play Napster’s Windows Media-encoded tracks, those tracks can be converted to unprotected WAV files.

A Napster spokesperson downplayed the situation, telling Reuters that Napster to Go's DRM is intact and explaining that what the sites are talking about is capturing the output of a computer’s sound card, which is not a new idea and can be done with any music program or service, protected or not.

"This kind of attack has been around for a long time and it's just because of our higher profile that it has sparked such interest,” the spokesperson told Reuters. “The bottom line is that people are always going to find a way to get around the system, although we give people a way to enjoy music while respecting artists' rights."

Napster to Go is the first portable subscription service, which for $15 a month allows subscribers to transfer their “rented” music tracks to their portable players without paying $0.99 per track to own them. The system relies on a new Windows Media DRM system known as Janus to keep track of users’ subscription status and how their tracks are being used.