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Old 11-28-2012, 11:12 AM   #1
Hellmark
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User prevented from downloading because of DRM problems

A new Techdirt article goes over how a person was not allowed to download books purchased from B&N because the credit card used to buy them had expired. Seems silly to block legit users, but that is usually the case with DRM.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:26 AM   #2
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Because of a credit card? Seriously?
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:43 AM   #3
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B&N's form of DRM uses the credit card number as the key to unlock the file. The idea is that you won't share your CC number freely, so it is a safe key, and less likely to change than other vectors like your email address. Problem is, why are they blocking the download? The old CC info should still work as a key, and be used by the nook.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:44 AM   #4
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No one ever bought something because of DRM. But you can be sure plenty of people vowed they would never buy something again because of it.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by VaultBoy View Post
Because of a credit card? Seriously?
Seriously.
Apparently, that is how they validate *downloads*; against a valid, active credit card number. If the card expires you need to provide a new cc number before you can access new copies of the books.
Old copies will still open with the old number. *If* you still remember it.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Seriously.
Apparently, that is how they validate *downloads*; against a valid, active credit card number. If the card expires you need to provide a new cc number before you can access new copies of the books.
Old copies will still open with the old number. *If* you still remember it.
So the issue isn't that the card has expired, it's that it hasn't been updated on the account.

Add to that the fact that he had to have deliberately removed the book from his device at some point (and likely for little reason, given how the memory is partitioned these days, they'll hold thousands of books easily), and didn't download an archival copy in the first place, and the headline starts to smell like hysterical BS.

Yeah, there's a price for B&N's "social encryption" scheme, and this is part of it. But given that a) if you remember to download it in the first place, you are not depending on B&N still being around to get copies in the future, and b) it makes it really trivial to strip DRM if need be, it seems a small price.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:32 PM   #7
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I have an old ebook that I can't open any more because I forgot the cc used to encrypt it.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by susan_cassidy View Post
I have an old ebook that I can't open any more because I forgot the cc used to encrypt it.
Computers are wonderful record keeping devices, if people would just use them. Social DRM is still the least onerous form of DRM in my book. I have enjoyed using it since way back in my Palm PDA days, but the books that I bought back then no longer have DRM on them anyway.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:47 PM   #9
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I posted this explanation of B&N DRM on The Digital Reader website as a reply to the same article:

There are a lot of misunderstandings about B&N’s DRM. I will try to explain why B&N’s DRM is the least restrictive DRM available.
- At the moment you download an ebook from B&N, the ebook gets encrypted. The credit card name and number of the credit card from your B&N account are used to create an encryption key. This is a one way process. No credit card information is stored in the ebook or on the ereader device. Is it not possible to use the ebook to generate your credit card information.
The moment you download an ebook is the only moment you will ever need a credit card in your B&N account, and a connection with B&N’s DRM server.

- The encryption is complety enclosed within the ebooks file. To access the ebook you need to know the credit card number and name the book was encrypted with. The ebook is not tied to the hardware of your ereader (Kindle) or to a software ID (Adobe DRM).
This means that you can copy the ebook file to as many ereaders as you want to, as many times as you like. This makes it easy to share the ebook with anyone you trust with your credit card number and name (that is how this social DRM limits the sharing of the ebook, there are no technical restrictions against sharing).

- Because the encryption is completely enclosed within the ebooks file, after dowloading the ebook file you do not need B&N or an DRM server anymore. Even if B&N and the credit card would no longer exist you will still be able to read the ebook on any device or program supporting the DRM.

- So if you want to remove your credit card from your B&N account, which basically means you do not want to use B&N’s e-book cloud anymore, make a backup copy of your ebooks with for example Nook for PC (which you should do anyway) before removing the credit card. Those copies will be yours forever. You can copy them to any device or program supporting the DRM and with all those devices and programs you will be able to read those ebooks. No DRM-server, software-ID or Internet connection is needed.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geertm View Post
The moment you download an ebook is the only moment you will ever need a credit card in your B&N account, and a connection with B&N’s DRM server.

- The encryption is complety enclosed within the ebooks file. To access the ebook you need to know the credit card number and name the book was encrypted with. The ebook is not tied to the hardware of your ereader (Kindle) or to a software ID (Adobe DRM).
This means that you can copy the ebook file to as many ereaders as you want to, as many times as you like. This makes it easy to share the ebook with anyone you trust with your credit card number and name (that is how this social DRM limits the sharing of the ebook, there are no technical restrictions against sharing).

- Because the encryption is completely enclosed within the ebooks file, after dowloading the ebook file you do not need B&N or an DRM server anymore. Even if B&N and the credit card would no longer exist you will still be able to read the ebook on any device or program supporting the DRM.

- So if you want to remove your credit card from your B&N account, which basically means you do not want to use B&N’s e-book cloud anymore, make a backup copy of your ebooks with for example Nook for PC (which you should do anyway) before removing the credit card. Those copies will be yours forever. You can copy them to any device or program supporting the DRM and with all those devices and programs you will be able to read those ebooks. No DRM-server, software-ID or Internet connection is needed.
But the e-reader needs to be authorized with the credit card number, and it has to match what's on the BN account.

I got my e-reader (which read BN's DRM) two years ago, and at the same time had changed my credit card on the BN account, and entered that into the e-reader. I had a bunch of books I'd downloaded with the Nook for PC program, with an earlier credit card. I could not read any of them on my e-reader; I had to redownload everything.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:24 PM   #11
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But the e-reader needs to be authorized with the credit card number, and it has to match what's on the BN account.

I got my e-reader (which read BN's DRM) two years ago, and at the same time had changed my credit card on the BN account, and entered that into the e-reader. I had a bunch of books I'd downloaded with the Nook for PC program, with an earlier credit card. I could not read any of them on my e-reader; I had to redownload everything.
Sounds like your ereader only saves one encryption key, and wants all books to be encrypted with that key. Bad DRM support in your ereader's software.
When you try to open an ebook for which the ereader has no encryption key, it should ask you to type in the correct credit card number and name.
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:55 PM   #12
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This makes me happy I never got into B&N's eBook ecosystem though I have bought paper books from them.

They can't glue the covers shut at least.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by geertm View Post
- The encryption is complety enclosed within the ebooks file. To access the ebook you need to know the credit card number and name the book was encrypted with. The ebook is not tied to the hardware of your ereader (Kindle) or to a software ID (Adobe DRM).
You neglected to mention that if you no longer have the credit card used to purchase the book you cannot access it. I've lost the ability to access several ebooks due to changing credit cards.

I will never again purchase a book with DRM tied into my credit card info. Thankfully with Amazon I only need my email address.

Last edited by joehunt; 11-28-2012 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:27 PM   #14
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You neglected to mention that if you no longer have the credit card used to purchase the book you cannot access it. I've lost the ability to access several ebooks due to changing credit cards.
But if you purchased it from B&N, if you add a new credit card to the account, you can re-download the book and have access again.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:28 PM   #15
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You neglected to mention that if you no longer have the credit card used to purchase the book you cannot access it. I've lost the ability to access several ebooks due to changing credit cards.

I will never again purchase a book with DRM tied into my credit card info. Thankfully with Amazon I only need my email address.
Sometimes credit cards are useful though not as part of a "cipher."

Once I had subscribed to an internet service. I lost the index card the info was on. I got on the phone with the service for some reason and they wanted the info. I said. "don't got"
They said what are your secret questions and birthday. I said I don't use the real answers because they can be guessed by others.
The dude says "well you are out of luck until you find that info because that is what we use to verify who you are"
I said Hey I am paying for this service or at least I was.
The dude pauses says wait a minute Sir I will check with my manager.
Comes back. asks what credit card did you use to subscribe. Luckily I generally use only one card on line and I gave it to him. I was "in like Flynt."

They gave me a new password, etc.
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