iTunes song swap helper vanishes from Net

When a program called "MyTunes" appeared online last year, allowing networked users of Apple Computer's iTunes digital jukebox software to download songs from each other, it had the feel of a breakthrough that wouldn't last forever.

Now, as some predicted, the popular software has all but vanished from the Net, and its programmer's sites have gone dark. But this time, it's not the doing of an angry record industry or a conflict-averse Apple. Trinity College sophomore Bill Zeller, who wrote the program in less than two weeks of off-time coding last year, says he simply lost the source code in a catastrophic computer crash. "I was about to release the second version, when I lost everything," Zeller said. "I may put it back online, but there won't be any updates. I don't want to rewrite it."

Zeller's MyTunes software was a prominent example of how even the most tightly controlled software can be retuned by its users for unauthorized purposes. Apple has worked hard to establish itself as a loyal supporter of the record industry's copyrights and has previously moved to block features of its software that allowed unauthorized file sharing. The program took advantage of iTunes' ability to let computers that are located on the same network, such as those within a single home or office complex, to look at and listen to each other's music collections. But where iTunes itself only allows different computers to listen to other people's songs, streaming the music without saving it, MyTunes turned this into the ability to capture and save the songs as MP3 files.

News source: C|Net

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