If you have downloaded DRM-protected music, then you have probably discovered how annoyingly restrictive DRM technology is. Not only do you have the problem of working out what portable media players it will work on, but your freedom to use your downloads how you please is also crippled. DRM copy protection is great as an anti-piracy technology, but it often punishes consumers that have legally purchased media. Here is a selection of the best software that removes DRM legally (doesn't hack DRM encryption) and produces DRM-free media files that you can enjoy on practically any capable device.
Tunebite, which is part of the much larger Audials One media suite, is a DRM removal tool that takes advantage of the analog loophole. Rather than illegally stripping out the DRM encryption directly from the original file, Tunebite records a protected file to produce a version that is free from DRM. The software supports a wide range of file formats and comes with additional features such as, video conversion, a ringtone maker, streaming audio recorder, ID3 Tag editing, and a built-in CD burning module.
This DRM removal tool actually installs a virtual CD-RW writer on your system that you can then use to remove DRM copy protection. Noteburner works in conjunction with your favorite media playing software to burn DRM-free audio files onto a virtual CD; the only proviso in using this method is that your media player software has to have the facility to burn files to CD. Once the virtual burning process is complete you can then transfer the DRM-free files to any media/MP3 player.
Using Windows Media Player, SoundTaxi can remove DRM copy protection by recording the original file at high speed to produce a DRM-free version. SoundTaxi has good file format compatibility (audio and video) and can batch process folders containing DRM protected media; it can also recreate the original folder structure with the DRM-free outputted files. SoundTaxi presently comes in three flavors which are, Platinum, Professional, and Pro+VideoRip. The later version supports audio and video processing, while the platinum and professional versions are audio only.
Similar to SoundTaxi, MuvAudio uses Windows Media Player to process DRM-protected audio and video files into DRM-free copies. The program can convert multiple files simultaneously with up to 10 times normal playback speed. MuvAudio has excellent built-in file format support for both audio and video; you can also download additional plugins from the MuvAudio website that extend file format support for less popular formats. MuvAudio 2 has the facility to automatically search for missing album art and ID3 tags.
DRM removal software for the Mac is a bit thin on the ground compared to the PC, but AppleMacsoft DRM converter comes to the rescue; incidentally, there is also a Windows version. The software uses a virtual CD writer (same method as Noteburner 2) in conjunction with the iTunes software to legally produce a DRM-free copy of the original. The software makes use of the importing feature in iTunes to capture to a particular format. The output file formats that you can convert to are, MP3, AAC, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV.