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Spotify flaw allows songs to be downloaded for free

Spotify

By Barry Collins

Posted on 8 May 2013 at 10:17

A flaw in Spotify's web-based player allows users to download any song as an MP3 file.

The flaw was first exploited by a Chrome extension called Downloadify, which was quickly pulled from the Chrome Web Store following reports of the exploit on The Verge.

However, it remains available via various online repositories, and can still be sideloaded into the Chrome web browser. We successfully installed and downloaded tracks using the extension this morning.

The extension automatically initiates a download of any song that's played via the Spotify web player. The user doesn't even have to wait for the song to finish playing, as the track is downloaded immediately, making it easy for users to download songs as quickly as their broadband connection can deliver them.

The downloads arrive as MP3 files with a bit rate of 160Kbits/sec, which is half the maximum quality bit rate on Spotify, but more than good enough for listening to on personal MP3 players.

The flaw reportedly takes advantage of a lack of encryption on Spotify's web player, and could land the service in big trouble with its record label partners, which will doubtless be unhappy to see their assets made so readily available for download.

Spotify was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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User comments

Well, it doesn't work for me. I don't know if Spotify have fixed the flaw (unlikely) or if it's just me (quite probable) but nothing has downloaded.

By The_Scrote on 8 May 2013

Exercise some restraint and respect the artists please

Using the extension to exploit the flaw is theft from the record companies but more importantly the artists.

If you really want to hear the music and like the artists so much, pay them. It may be their chosen way of life but it is still a job through which they earn a living not a hobby.

Okay so the authorities would have a hard time prosecuting the masses who take advantage of the flaw to snag free music but that doesn't make it right to abuse it.

It is still no different than walking into a record store and walking out with an album or single without paying.

I'm surprised that the article didn't mention this fact while publishing pretty much full instructions on how to steal music.

By mr_chips on 8 May 2013

Yeah, but there are also lots of audio stream recorders that allow you to do pretty much the same thing – capture a song streamed from Spotify.

2 mr_chips – funny enough, that depends on a country you live in. Most of European countries allow you to *legally* record audio from a radio, as long as you do not distribute it. From my (user’s) point of view, recording Spotify audio stream is no different.

By Lomskij on 8 May 2013

Not again...

@mr_chips, please stop conflating copyright infringement and theft. One is not the other!

By The_Scrote on 8 May 2013

Not again?

@The_Scrote - I respect everyone's right to their own opinion on the matter but object to people telling others what they can and can't post on public comment threads.
If you are a practising Solicitor in the UK with expertise in these matters then please enlighten us further with a more detailed educated viewpoint.

This is not the only site the news about this is on.

Take a look at the BBC Technology section and pay very close attention to
what Sheena Sheikh, a Solicitor from intellectual property specialists Briffa said in an interview with them.

The issue arises when you make a point of downloading the music without permission. You will see I am right in my own view referring to it as stealing whether you agree or not.

By mr_chips on 8 May 2013

@mr_chips

The BBC Technology section is not written by solicitors either. The key difference is the intention of "permanently depriving the other of property". Copyright infringement does not deprive anyone of their property. I'm not saying it is any more legal, but there IS a legal difference whether or not you care to believe it. See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/60/crossh
eading/definition-of-theft

By The_Scrote on 9 May 2013

Downoading

There are many artists who support free downloading of their music, otherwise how is anyone to hear it? Duh! A particularly vocal campaigner of this sensible approach is Amanda Palmer who has one the 2013 TED Award for her ideas. I suggest those who believe success comes from forcing your customers to pay should pay attention to Amanda Palmer's approach which she as proved conclusively is much more successful than the current outdated business model. Truly inspiring and hope for the future of the music industry. Those who don't get it will ultimately perish. http://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_
asking.html

By BoredWithBeingAskedToChooseAnotherScreenName on 9 May 2013

Downoading

There are many artists who support free downloading of their music, otherwise how is anyone to hear it? Duh! A particularly vocal campaigner of this sensible approach is Amanda Palmer who has one the 2013 TED Award for her ideas. I suggest those who believe success comes from forcing your customers to pay should pay attention to Amanda Palmer's approach which she as proved conclusively is much more successful than the current outdated business model. Truly inspiring and hope for the future of the music industry. Those who don't get it will ultimately perish. http://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_
asking.html

By BoredWithBeingAskedToChooseAnotherScreenName on 9 May 2013

Recording from Radio

Most stereo systems with Radio/Tape/Deck were designed so that records and radio could be recorded to tape for people to make compilations of their favourites.

By johnt on 9 May 2013

Downoading

There are many artists who support free downloading of their music, otherwise how is anyone to hear it? Duh! A particularly vocal campaigner of this sensible approach is Amanda Palmer who has one the 2013 TED Award for her ideas. I suggest those who believe success comes from forcing your customers to pay should pay attention to Amanda Palmer's approach which she as proved conclusively is much more successful than the current outdated business model. Truly inspiring and hope for the future of the music industry. Those who don't get it will ultimately perish. http://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_
asking.html

By BoredWithBeingAskedToChooseAnotherScreenName on 9 May 2013

Paying the artists

@mr_chips @The_Scrote

I agree with both of you to an extent and to me you both seem like you agree that downloading for free isn't 'right'.

The artists should get paid, right?

A reasonable and proportional amount for their efforts. But that's where there is disparity. I think ther majority of record sales go to the fat cat labels and corporations that have been ripping us off for years.

I think, for some at least, this doesn't seem fair.

Just like the tax system , I've always been happy to pay my way. But likewise, it's where the money ends up that is more important IMHO.

Just my tuppence.

By djt1975 on 12 May 2013

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