[Athen] More on DRM for Apple iPad ebooks

Ken Petri petri.1 at osu.edu
Wed Feb 17 11:08:58 PST 2010

Hi Nettie,

Yes. That was part of the point I was trying to make: there is a lot of
sentiment within the open source community that DRM is unfairly
restrictive--not that it just provides a disincentive to violate copyright
but that it actually limits legitimate usage. Give a smart, young, activist
open sourcer a technological challenge and s/he'll tend to take it up, head
on--and then "brag" about it by giving away the means to reproduce the feat.

Outside of that, I'll give you a very practical example of where DRM is a
real problem: Say I buy an ePub book through Adobe Digitial Editions. It is
stored on my hard drive as an ePub but is encrypted such that I cannot read
it on any reader other than Adobe Digital Editions. A similar scenario
applies to books that are FairPlay DRM'ed--they are only readable through
iTunes approved readers.

This is massively restrictive. If I buy a book why should I not be able to
read it on whatever device I choose?


On Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 11:51 AM, Nettie Fischer <nettiet at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Ken

> I would like to add a little addition to your comment; the person who wants

> to steal something, will spend the energies and time to do just that. And,

> the more difficult the task, the greater the bravado in doing so. :) For

> me, I have better things to do with my time <smile> as do most honest

> persons.


> Nettie


> On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 9:22 PM, Ken Petri <petri.1 at osu.edu> wrote:


>> 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.


>> ken

>> --



>> 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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> --

> Nettie T. Fischer, ATP

> Assistive Technology Professional

> Nettiet, ATP Consultants

> www.nettietatpconsultants.com

> [916] 222-3492 Office

> (916) 704-1456 Cell


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