It’s inevitable that people would find ways to get the most out of Apple’s new video rental service available via iTunes, but I never expected it to be this easy. The hack that has emerged is like the oldest trick in the book when it comes to circumventing time-restricted materials on your computer, and I figured by this day in age companies like Apple would been a little wiser.
It appears that the amount of time remaining on your video rental is based on the user’s system clock, and by setting your clock back you’re able to pickup some extra time before the rental expires. What a rookie mistake, Apple.
After experimenting with a few movie rentals in iTunes 7.6, Gizmodo has perfected their solution:
Take your system into the future (but not too far) before you click play for the first time, which starts the 24-hour clock. Then come back to the present. We did this with the second movie we rented, playing it for the first time in 2009. We came back to 2008, and now we have a whole year to watch it.
So they basically set their clock ahead a year, click play, and then set their clock back to the current date. That gave them an entire year to finish watching the video that they rented.
Don’t expect Apple to sit on a flaw like this for too long. I’m sure it will be fixed within days instead of weeks, but the real question is whether fixing this would require users to upgrade to the latest version of iTunes. If it does then users could just hold back on upgrading to experience the joy of extended rental periods.
It probably won’t be long for users to figure out a method to remove the DRM from the videos anyway, and after that happens people will get full access to the videos. Gotta love the persistent hackers out there.