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Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July 304

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the remember-when-sharing-books-was-normal dept.
Nate the greatest writes "Whether it's EA and SimCity, the Sony rootkit scandal, or Ubisoft, we've all read numerous stories about companies using DRM in stupid ways that harm their customers, and now we can add Adobe to the list. Adobe has just announced a new timeline for adoption of their recently launched 'hardened' DRM, and it's going to take your breath away. In a video posted to Youtube, Adobe reps have stated that Adobe expects all of their ebook partners to start adopting the new DRM in March. This is the same DRM that was launched only a few weeks ago and is already causing problems, but that hasn't stopped Adobe. They also expect all the stores that use Adobe's DRM to sell ebooks (as well as the ebook app and ebook reader developers) to have fully adopted the new ebook DRM by July 2014. That's when Adobe plans to end support for the old DRM (which everyone is using now). Given the dozens and dozens of different ebook readers released over the past few years, including models from companies that have gone under, this is going to present a significant problem for a lot of readers. Few, if any, will be updated in time to meet Adobe's deadline, and that's going to leave many readers unable to buy DRMed ebooks."
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Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July

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  • In other words... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Noryungi (70322) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:13AM (#46148811) Homepage Journal

    Hate him or love him: Richard Stallman was right! Read it and weep: []

    The whole thing was written in 1997, for pete sake - when ebooks where still pretty much prototypes.

  • Re:In other words... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:31AM (#46148917) Homepage Journal
    Project Guttenberg [] is around since 1971. Ebooks (and in particular, public ones) didn't started with Kindle.
  • by magic maverick (2615475) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:40AM (#46148993) Homepage Journal

    Adobe Digital Editions and Adobe DRM is used by virtually all publishers (that actually use DRM) and device makers except Amazon. I.e. it is everywhere (sort of like how ePub is used by virtually everyone except Amazon). But, you don't have to use it. No device that I know of requires that an ePub file has DRM.

    Two publishers in the SF/F field that don't use any DRM at all are Tor and Baen Books. Baen Books is excellent for other reasons, including their Free Library (you can download and read the first book in most of their series'). Tor is just part of one of the Big Six, and so otherwise has nothing to distinguish them from any other publisher.

  • Re:*Shrug* (Score:4, Informative)

    by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2&gdargaud,net> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:46AM (#46149037) Homepage
    Calibre can easily strip the DRM off your Kindle books. Yes, it's a Linux app.
  • Re:*Shrug* (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chaos Incarnate (772793) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:48AM (#46149063) Homepage
    Calibre can't do it out of the box; you need to go find certain addons for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:54AM (#46149109)

    Here is the source : Cohen, J. (1996). A Right to Read Anonymously, Connecticut Law Review 28, 981

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:55AM (#46149125)

    Unless this effects the Kindle or Nook, how many books could this even be? I wasn't even aware that Adobe HAD an ebook format. Realistically, how many books does this expiring DRM even effect, a few thousand, maybe?

    Adobe's ebook DRM is used by OverDrive,_Inc. [] to let more than 27,000 public libraries and schools lend ebooks to citizens and students. They make than 1.8 million different ebooks from over 1000 publishers available to libraries and schools using this scheme.

    Adobe's termination of the existing DRM mechanism means that those thousands of schools and libraries will have to buy new ereader hardware and the students and citizens who borrow ebooks from them will have to buy new ereader hardware. So Adobe's termination of the existing DRM mechanism is going to cost American tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions).

  • Re:*Shrug* (Score:5, Informative)

    by afxgrin (208686) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @10:15AM (#46149263)

    Calibre is a god send piece of open source software. I don't really use it for stripping DRM, most documents I read don't have any DRM. But for converting between formats especially when the default formatting is crap for ebooks - fuck yes this is the shit.

    Main website [] and for the sourceforge page [] in case you're are too lazy to Google search it yourself. Apparently this guy [] is hosting DeDRM the DRM stripping tool. I've never had to use it.

  • by Chas (5144) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @10:46AM (#46149505) Homepage Journal

    My company puts out gaming materials (as in tabletop, pnp). When we initially looked at putting out an ebook format ten years ago, we did look at DRM as a form of content control. At the time, though, the requirements to implement such a platform be frank, ridiculous.

    So we decided to invest a little bit of trust in our community. We KNOW e-pub versions of our rulebooks and the like are shared amongst gaming groups. It's a given.
    But we've had great interaction with our player communities over the years, and they understand that if we're seeing everything popping up on BitTorrent, we have less incentive to put up new material in a timely manner.

    Now, we've had to issue a few takedown requests over the years. But only a few, and most of the stuff came down with nary a whimper. As such, we have pretty much ZERO impetus to move from standardized PDF distribution to DRM'ed versions. It's still a waste of time, effort and money. And it also would do damage to our relationship with our players.

  • Re:good riddance (Score:4, Informative)

    by Enry (630) <{ten.agyaw} {ta} {yrne}> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @10:53AM (#46149553) Journal

    You don't remember the fiasco all that well.

    Someone who didn't have the authority to do so uploaded the book to Amazon for publishing. Yes, Amazon could have handled the communication a bit better, but the book should have never been able to be available for Kindle from that publisher in the first place.

  • Re:good riddance (Score:5, Informative)

    by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@ w o r> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:11PM (#46150413)

    Apple can do the same thing. In a similar situation they didn't delete any books from users' devices but paid a fine of over $100,000 to the copyright owners. (Some poster here used that in an FSF vs. Apple thread to make claims how evil Apple is, by allowing itself being tricked by criminals, and then facing the cost instead of making the customers pay).

      I'd expect them to delete software from my device if they reasonably know that the software will hurt _me_.

    Strangely enough, Apple is probably the only company that HASN'T removed content from users. Content has been removed, and if no local copy exists, that content is gone, but if a local copy is available, it still works.

    The only known ability is Apple can disable an app through CoreLocation (i.e., the app uses location services), but they haven't demonstrated that ability, either.

    Google, Valve (Steam), Amazon, etc., have shown they can remove apps and content from user's devices and computers.

    It's strange, really. You'd think Apple would've pulled the trigger by now. Google has, many times.

  • Re:good riddance (Score:4, Informative)

    by Enry (630) <{ten.agyaw} {ta} {yrne}> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:32PM (#46150643) Journal

    Purchasing stolen goods is a crime and the purchaser is required by law to return the stolen goods, even if they didn't know it was stolen. The users impacted by this got their money refunded and got a legal copy of the book.

  • Re:good riddance (Score:4, Informative)

    by taustin (171655) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:47PM (#46150813) Homepage Journal

    You don't remember the fiasco all that well, either. The books (there were two, not one) was uploaded legally in the country in which it was uploaded (Canada, IIRC), as it was in the public domain there. It was offered for sale in the US (where it was still under copyright) by mistake - whose mistake, nobody knows - and deleted when the US copyright holder objected.

    The real point is that Amazon initially responded to criticism about Kindles being a book rental system, not a purchase system, by saying that they couldn't delete stuff remotely without your permission, then demonstrated that simply wasn't true by deleting stuff remotely without permission.

    This is, of course, a completely different situation, since this will apparently not affect books already bought on existing devices. What it will do, if this editorial rant is accurate, and we don't know that it is, is kill ebook sales until publishers agree to either go DRM free or switch to something else. And they will, when someone like Barnes & Noble says, "You know, we don't really make any money off of ebook sales anyway, so we'll just stop selling anything with DRM on it and rely on brick & mortar sales instead. That's where our profits are anyway."

  • Re:*Shrug* (Score:5, Informative)

    by taustin (171655) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:56PM (#46150875) Homepage Journal

    The big cost in publishing is the printing, shipping, warehousing, distribution of the dead trees

    That isn't really all that true, actually. Charlie Stross [] has written quite a bit about the subject. []

    The executive summary is that the cost of putting ink on paper and shipping it to the store isn't much of the final retail price, and if you expect to buy ebooks for more than about 10% less than paper books, you expect lower quality.

UNIX was half a billion (500000000) seconds old on Tue Nov 5 00:53:20 1985 GMT (measuring since the time(2) epoch). -- Andy Tannenbaum