[Athen] More on DRM for Apple iPad ebooks

Ken Petri petri.1 at osu.edu
Tue Feb 16 21:22:38 PST 2010

The DRM that Adobe uses to encrypt ePub books served through their Adobe
Digital Editions (via Content Server) can be cracked using a couple of easy
to find Python scripts. Someone will find (probably already has found) a way
to crack the FairPlay DRM Apple uses in iTunes (though it does sound more
complex than Content Server). Then, with a little bit of effort, any
motivated person will be able to permanently "open" a DRM'ed ePub book. Once
he has the opened ePub he can use it on any platform/device he chooses, and
it is up to him to decide if he wants to break the law and give it or sell
it to someone else.

I appreciate O'Reilly's stance. They know that the more restrictive you make
the DRM on a book you sell, the more roadblocks to usage the rightful owner
will encounter in using the book--limits on how many personal copies he can
make of something he legally purchased, limits on which of his own devices
he can use to read/listen to them.

O'Reilly seem to implicitly trust that people will tend to do the ethical
thing and buy a book, rather than steal it. And they seem to believe that
the tendency once you buy something is not to give it away for free.

Apple (and most major book publishers), on the other hand, want to keep the
user using iTunes for everything, and seem not to trust that someone who
pays for a book will respect copyright. I find that attitude insulting and
infantilizing--and if I were interested in pirating books, the insult and
infantilization would provide strong motivation.


On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:28 PM, Shelley Haven <
ShelleyHaven at techpotential.net> wrote:

> The LA Times reports that Apple is offering their DRM "FairPlay" (currently

> used on iTunes) to publishers for their ePub-formatted ebooks on the

> upcoming iPad. It limits how many times digital songs can be copied to

> other devices; presumably it would work the same, limiting how many

> instances of a downloaded ebook could co-exist on a user's devices. (Link

> below article.)



> Apple to wrap digital books in FairPlay copy protection [Clarified]<http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2010/02/apple-ibooks-drm-fairplay.html>

> February 15, 2010


> When Apple launches its iBook store to sell titles for its new iPad device

> in March, many of its titles are expected to come with a set of handsome

> digital locks designed to deter piracy.


> Veteran iTunes customers will recognize the locks as FairPlay, a digital

> rights management software that once limited how many times digital songs

> can be copied onto different computers. (Apple phased out<http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/01/06itunes.html> FairPlay

> for music a year ago, and now sells unfettered tunes.)


> Next month, Apple will be dusting off those digital cuffs for books,

> according to sources in the publishing industry.


> No doubt some publishers, including O'Reilly Media -- which has

> vociferously argued that digital locks are harmful to sales -- will opt not

> to deploy FairPlay. (O'Reilly, which puts out technical books, was not on

> the list of five publishers during Apple's announcement of the iPad, but is

> discussing a deal with Apple.)


> But the majority of publishers are expected to embrace FairPlay, along with

> other copy protection software such as Adobe's Content Server 4<http://www.adobe.com/products/contentserver/>,

> as a means to squelch incipient book piracy as the e-book market begins to

> take off.


> -- Alex Pham


> *Clarified 1:50 pm:* *An earlier version of this post said Apple phased

> out FairPlay a year ago and now sells songs without DRM. Apple continues to

> use FairPlay to protect other iTunes content. Thanks to our readers for

> noticing this omission!*


> http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2010/02/apple-ibooks-drm-fairplay.html


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