Hackers: iTunes can be shared over Net

Apple Computer's iTunes software has apparently opened up a new way for Macintosh owners to share music collections across the Internet.

The new music jukebox software, released two weeks ago as part of a set of high-profile Apple music announcements, contains features that allow Mac users to stream music to each other over a network. The songs are not downloaded permanently but do allow computer users to listen to any song on another network-connected Macintosh's hard drive.

Several groups of online programmers say they have figured out ways to extend this feature from a local area network to the Net. A few Web sites and software applications are claiming to allow people to search other Net-connected Macintosh computers' hard drives in order to listen to songs online.

"The feature is built into iTunes...but we had to dissect it ourselves," said Kevin April, Webmaster for Spymac.com, which launched its own music-sharing hub last week. "Integrating it into a Web service was a big task."

The rise of the new services threatens to put Apple's software squarely in the center of a controversy that the company had hoped to avoid with the release of its new iTunes online music store. That site, which offers easy access to a huge music catalog of 99-cent songs, won strong kudos from record labels as a big step forward in the authorized distribution of music online.

News source: News.com

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