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Old 01-18-2009, 12:19 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by GeoffC View Post
Whilst I agree epub is laudable and worthwhile concept and provided it does achieve its aim of being a 'universal' standard, how does it "fit" with current reading devices....and their current multiplicity of formats - and how easy will it be to pursuade Amazon and Sony to endorse it on their products I wonder....
Sony is already supporting ePub via Adobe Digital Editions. One advantage of the Kindle store approach is that Amazon could support ePub at any time, since they only need to get it working on one device type and ePub could be provided side by side with AZW (MOBI). They already do this with TOPAZ ebooks (which are a pathetic attempt to provide an alternative to ePub). I doubt they will do this, but if they do the reason will be the textbook market. MOBI and TOPAZ are simply not good enough for technical ebooks.

A problem with ePub is that it takes a lot of resources to display correctly. So it will be interesting to see how well FictionWise is able to render ePub on (say) Palm handhelds. One option would be to bundle an ePub and an eReader version of the same ebook, with eReader being used on the less powerful devices. The eReader version would be generated by FictionWise from the publishers ePub.
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:29 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
Sony is already supporting ePub via Adobe Digital Editions. One advantage of the Kindle store approach is that Amazon could support ePub at any time, since they only need to get it working on one device type and ePub could be provided side by side with AZW (MOBI). They already do this with TOPAZ ebooks (which are a pathetic attempt to provide an alternative to ePub). I doubt they will do this, but if they do the reason will be the textbook market. MOBI and TOPAZ are simply not good enough for technical ebooks.

A problem with ePub is that it takes a lot of resources to display correctly. So it will be interesting to see how well FictionWise is able to render ePub on (say) Palm handhelds. One option would be to bundle an ePub and an eReader version of the same ebook, with eReader being used on the less powerful devices. The eReader version would be generated by FictionWise from the publishers ePub.
Which makes the ePub under this scenario, not a 'standard' as Zelda is promoting.
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:37 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
no, epub does not *have* to be converted : as of today the sony 505 and 700 and the ipod touch can read it natively, and other companies have announced that they will support epub on their new devices.

however, since epub CAN be a source AND end format, it can ALSO be easily converted to other formats, if your device does not currently support it. for instance ETI (the makers of the eb1150) will support epub by providing a conversion tool that can accept it as a source format (the eb1150 can only read the .imp format natively), and mobipocket desktop reader will already convert epub to mobi format.

see the first post of this thread.
That means, of course, that in order to read on my Cybook - I have to download my books via the desktop reader - which is an extra step for me .

But none-the-less your argument is correctly persuasive, very laudable and hopefully will become a reality - but in what time-scale, who knows?, though I suspect there will remain obstacles.
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:44 PM   #19
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Which makes the ePub under this scenario, not a 'standard' as Zelda is promoting.
Geoff, i can't help but wonder, did you read this thread ? epub is the industry standard, in the technical sense :
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A technical standard is an established norm or requirement. It is usually a formal document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes and practices.
it is a standard accepted by the publishing industry, and defined by the International Digital Publishing Forum (idpf), which is a group mandated to define it, composed of various members of the publishing industry. the idpf website describes it this way :

Quote:
What is EPUB, .epub, OPS/OCF & OEB?

".epub" is the file extension of an XML format for reflowable digital books and publications. ".epub" is composed of three open standards, the Open Publication Structure (OPS), Open Packaging Format (OPF) and Open Container Format (OCF), produced by the IDPF. "EPUB" allows publishers to produce and send a single digital publication file through distribution and offers consumers interoperability between software/hardware for unencrypted reflowable digital books and other publications. The Open eBook Publication Structure or "OEB", originally produced in 1999, is the precursor to OPS.
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:02 PM   #20
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:05 PM   #21
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I'll go back into my closet, turn out the light, and come out again when my brain cell is firing correctly on all cylinders....

Sorry to be so dim and dusted....
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:06 PM   #22
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no worries, just take your time and re-read the thread (more than once, if you like. ). it is there to answer questions.
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:08 PM   #23
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Life's never that easy - unfortunately - good job we have your goodself to look out for us and keep us on the strait and narrow....
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Old 01-18-2009, 04:14 PM   #24
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I think personally that, in permitting anyone to "bolt on" their own DRM method to an ePub file (and still call the result "ePub") the standards committee made a disastrous error.
But what's the alternative? I can think of three, but two of those are worse and one -- perhaps the one you're thinking of? -- is impossible.

The two worse ones:
  • No discussion of DRM in the standards. Various vendors implement various encryption and obfuscation schemes in different ways, making generic EPUB handling more difficult than it already is.
  • A standard full DRM scheme controlled the IDPF. This standard is not open, and use requires licensing and accreditation by an independent organization set up to control and manage the scheme, as per the DVD Copy Control Association's management of CSS (Content Scramble System). This organization has complete control over who is and is not allowed allowed to use scheme.

The impossible option:
  • A fully-specified open DRM scheme. The impossibility is that "open DRM" is an oxymoron. Either parts of the system are still closed and vendor-specific, or anyone is free to use the specification to implement a DRM-removal tool.

DRM is the problem in itself, not the specification of DRM in EPUB.
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Old 01-18-2009, 04:20 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by llasram View Post
  • A fully-specified open DRM scheme. The impossibility is that "open DRM" is an oxymoron. Either parts of the system are still closed and vendor-specific, or anyone is free to use the specification to implement a DRM-removal tool.

DRM is the problem in itself, not the specification of DRM in EPUB.
Actually, now that I think about it, why is that impossible? An open DRM scheme is easier to crack, but closing the DRM doesn't really guarantee it wont be cracked. The only real defence DRM has against being cracked is a legal one. For example, MOBI DRM is trivial to crack if you have the PIN used to encrypt the file, and not so trivial if you don't. In fact, MOBI DRM is a de-facto open DRM scheme.
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Old 01-18-2009, 04:36 PM   #26
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Actually, now that I think about it, why is that impossible? An open DRM scheme is easier to crack, but closing the DRM doesn't really guarantee it wont be cracked. The only real defence DRM has against being cracked is a legal one. For example, MOBI DRM is trivial to crack if you have the PIN used to encrypt the file, and not so trivial if you don't. In fact, MOBI DRM is a de-facto open DRM scheme.
Perhaps you're right. My thinking is that the purpose of DRM is to allow rights-holders to control how digital content is used. A particular DRM scheme only achieves that end if every piece of software able to access so-controlled content respects the restrictions the rights-holders place on the content. Truly open DRM necessarily means anyone can produce software which accesses the controlled content without restriction, defeating the whole purpose. If you define the purpose of DRM as something weaker, like "reduce the number of end users copying around content willy-nilly," sure -- then an open DRM scheme could work. My intuition however is that most DRM advocates are thinking of something closer to the former definition.
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Old 01-18-2009, 04:54 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by llasram View Post
Perhaps you're right. My thinking is that the purpose of DRM is to allow rights-holders to control how digital content is used. A particular DRM scheme only achieves that end if every piece of software able to access so-controlled content respects the restrictions the rights-holders place on the content. Truly open DRM necessarily means anyone can produce software which accesses the controlled content without restriction, defeating the whole purpose. If you define the purpose of DRM as something weaker, like "reduce the number of end users copying around content willy-nilly," sure -- then an open DRM scheme could work. My intuition however is that most DRM advocates are thinking of something closer to the former definition.
That's a never ending game and don't we know it. Everyone should know that DRM doesn't really work after the resounding defeat of DRM protected music. But I feel in my guts that the book editors have to learn that lesson, too, instead of listening:
So again to those folks: make good books (well made technically), don't try to maximise your profit. give a little plus value with your ebooks and you do not need any DRM!
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Old 01-18-2009, 05:04 PM   #28
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Perhaps you're right. My thinking is that the purpose of DRM is to allow rights-holders to control how digital content is used. A particular DRM scheme only achieves that end if every piece of software able to access so-controlled content respects the restrictions the rights-holders place on the content. Truly open DRM necessarily means anyone can produce software which accesses the controlled content without restriction, defeating the whole purpose. If you define the purpose of DRM as something weaker, like "reduce the number of end users copying around content willy-nilly," sure -- then an open DRM scheme could work. My intuition however is that most DRM advocates are thinking of something closer to the former definition.
Any one can produce software to circumvent the restrictions placed by DRM, but it wont be legal to do so. I think that is the principal point of defence for DRM. Any additional security through obscurity is insignificant compared to that.
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:11 PM   #29
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I don't see why this would be any different then any other encryption scheme. I mean really, slap some 128bit AES encryption on the file that can only be decrypted with the key. Is any other scheme any different? Just standardize it! 128bit is still not going to be cracked by anything short of a supercomputer!
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:44 PM   #30
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Any one can produce software to circumvent the restrictions placed by DRM, but it wont be legal to do so. I think that is the principal point of defence for DRM. Any additional security through obscurity is insignificant compared to that.
I was curious enough to try to drill down into the legal code involved. IANAL, but the US DMCA has this definition:

Quote:
a technological measure “effectively controls access to a work” if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.
I'm not sure an open specification meets that standard, as there is no chain of trust necessitating "the authority of the copyright owner" in order to unlock the work.
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