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Old 07-20-2010, 05:10 PM   #1
makani
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DRM protected detection

Is there a way to tell if an ebook file is DRM protected before you download it?
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:11 PM   #2
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Depends where you download it from and the description of the book. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:08 PM   #3
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In general, if you're buying from a bookseller which has its own "house device" -- Amazon with the Kindle, B&N with the Nook, Sony with the Reader, etc. -- you can almost guarantee that any book you buy (or get free) will be DRM-restricted. Elsewhere, check the description (especially system requirements) for any mention of ADE, Adobe Digital Editions, which is the most widespread DRM software. Also, check the available formats: if the book can be downloaded as RTF, HTML, or plain text, it's probably clean; if it's only available in a device-specific format, epub, or PDF, then it's almost certainly restricted. If there's no information available, or you're still not sure, then email the bookseller.

Incidentally, the word "protected" should not be used with reference to DRM. That's the publishers' newspeak for "restricted" as they try to spin DRM into something positive for the buyer. Protection is good, so DRM must be good. Except, of course, that there is nothing whatsoever good about DRM. It's far better to say "DRM-restricted" -- it's more accurate, you aren't allowing the proponents of DRM to choose your vocabulary for you, and you're not spreading their anti-consumer propaganda for them.

DRM manages rights like prisons manage freedom. I'm still not sure who said that (RMS?) but it's exactly right. The only way DRM "manages" rights is by taking them away, and the only thing it "protects" is device lock-in.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:10 PM   #4
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The stores that I usually purchase eBooks plainly mark whether the eBook has DRM and the formats that they sell.

I will purchase DRM'd books, but remove the DRM before I do anything else with the file. I prefer non-DRM books, and buy them before I get DRM'd books.

If I can't tell if it has DRM, I will not purchase the book.

Ken
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:23 PM   #5
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I take Ken's approach one step further: I refuse to buy DRM-restricted ebooks, even though I could strip the DRM, because the only vote I have is my wallet, however thin and frayed it is, and I'm not going to use it against my own best interests. There are more DRM-free ebooks than I could read in a dozen lifetimes, so I have the luxury of being choosy.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:23 PM   #6
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In the Kindle store, DRM-free books are labeled:
Quote:
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
For example, search for smashwords in the Kindle store and slect any of the titles (since most SmashWords ebooks are DRM-free). Unfortunately, this isn't a way to search for all DRM-free Kindle ebooks.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:27 AM   #7
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It's apparently pretty simple to strip DRM, but I've never bothered. On principle, if a store is offering something with a DRM padlock, I simply won't buy it, no matter how easy it might be to pick the lock. I refuse to stoop to burglary to get what I want. This is no criticism of friends here who do remove DRM. Theirs is just a different approach to protest. Cheers. Neil
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
In the Kindle store, DRM-free books are labeled: Simultaneous device usage: unlimited
For example, search for smashwords in the Kindle store and slect any of the titles (since most SmashWords ebooks are DRM-free). Unfortunately, this isn't a way to search for all DRM-free Kindle ebooks.
Wallcraft, this is incorrect. Per Amazon Kindle CS Phone call (Amazon Kindle customer service: 1-866-321-8851)this morning over this EXACT issue:
Simultaneous usage refers to the number of devices on your account (blackberry, ipad, iphone, itouch, pc, mac, K1, K2us, k2i, Kdx, Kdxg) and how many of those devices can read the same book at the same time-hence simulataneous device usage.

Independent authors have the choice when using amazon digital publishing to set DRM or not. Major publishing houses choose for their own authors, unless the author convinces them otherwise.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.Tackitt View Post
Major publishing houses choose for their own authors, unless the author convinces them otherwise.
Actually the majors have no choice at this time. They have to use DRM when selling through Amazon, this comes from Tom Doherty (through Jeffery Carver) founder of Tor.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:16 AM   #10
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ok.. that part I was guessing on....
I am not a publisher, nor do I want to be one... I just want to read.
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.Tackitt View Post
Wallcraft, this is incorrect. Per Amazon Kindle CS Phone call (Amazon Kindle customer service: 1-866-321-8851)this morning over this EXACT issue:
Simultaneous usage refers to the number of devices on your account (blackberry, ipad, iphone, itouch, pc, mac, K1, K2us, k2i, Kdx, Kdxg) and how many of those devices can read the same book at the same time-hence simulataneous device usage.

Independent authors have the choice when using amazon digital publishing to set DRM or not. Major publishing houses choose for their own authors, unless the author convinces them otherwise.
It is the case that "Simultaneous device usage: unlimited" means DRM-free. The limit is 1-6 devices for DRMed ebooks, with 6 being the default (i.e. if there is no "Simultaneous device usage:" line then there is DRM with a device limit of 6, if the ebook's page says "Simultaneous device usage: 5" then there is DRM with a 5 device limit). I have seen "Simultaneous device usage: 1" but it is very rare.

Smashwords authors could use DRM in the Kindle store, but they almost never do because it isn't usually applied at the smashwords site. I mentioned searching for smashwords because it isn't possible to search for DRM free explicitly. If you look at any of the results of this search, it is very likely you will see "Simultaneous device usage: unlimited" which indicates DRM-free (if not then the ebook has DRM).
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