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Old 06-20-2009, 08:44 AM   #1
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Amazon DRM limiting number of times you can download a book

Check out this blog posting:

http://www.geardiary.com/2009/06/19/...nd-it-is-ugly/

Apparently there is a maximum number of times you can download a book you've purchased on Amazon. Has anyone run into this already? This is the first I've heard of this and it is obviously concerning as people upgrade their devices. You can obviously circumvent this by keeping a copy on your PC, but it's a bit of a surprise given Amazon's positioning that all your books are backed up online.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:56 AM   #2
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This is a known issue. You're not limited by the number of downloads; you're limited to a total number of *devices* that you can download to. The publisher actually has the option of spcifying the limit, but the default is 6 devices. The only real problem is if have more 6 Kindle devices. When you deregister the old one your licenses are not automatically "freed".

However, it's not true that you're required the repurchase the book. Amazon will individually free up licenses for you if you call and ask. Also, they also have the option of refunding your money and letting you buy the book again.
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:15 AM   #3
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I was aware of the device limitation, although not the fact that a deregistered device did not automatically free up the license use. With Amazon wanting people to upgrade and supporting multiple devices automatically freeing up the license would seem to be a necessity. The posting is definitely misleading and it appears the individual was given bad information by Amazon customer service.
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:37 AM   #4
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I will say that I can't understand *why* deregistering the device doesn't free up licenses, nor do I think this is a good strategy long term for Amazon since an increasing number of customers will be running into that problem in the coming years. Just more incompetence on their part. Amazon is still behind the curve on "systems integration".
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:02 AM   #5
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I would bet that if the upgrade had been Kindles rather than iPhones & iPod Touch, the slots would be freed up much more quickly -- Amazon could purge the prior owner's content as soon as the Kindle was registered to a new owner. It might not be so easy to eliminate unauthorized content on a deregistered Apple device.
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirbruce View Post
This is a known issue. You're not limited by the number of downloads; you're limited to a total number of *devices* that you can download to. The publisher actually has the option of spcifying the limit, but the default is 6 devices. The only real problem is if have more 6 Kindle devices. When you deregister the old one your licenses are not automatically "freed".
are you sure ? in one of the comments (June 20th, 2009 at 12:08 am), the author of the article says :

Quote:
I would be very happy for Amazon to come along and tell me that the information that THEIR rep gave me is wrong. BUT…before I posted I tried downloading one book over and over again and it eventually stopped letting me.
that sounds like a limit on number of downloads, not registered devices, to me.
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:38 AM   #7
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I agree that this isn't maximum "downloads" but rather maximum "devices".

I was not aware that publishers can set the limit below the standard 6 devices, but there is enough collaboration in the comments to make this very likely. If this is in the fine print, I have not seen it. From Kindle (1st Generation) Tips & Assistance:
Quote:
Digital Rights Management Issues

* Content from the Kindle Store: Most books and other non-subscription items you purchase from the Kindle store may be downloaded for your personal use on to up to six Kindles registered to your Amazon.com account. If you have exceeded your download limit, you must purchase an additional copy of the title. Subscription content can only be downloaded to one Kindle at a time, and only the seven most recent issues will be available for redownload in the Kindle Content Manager or from the Manage Your Kindle page.
It appears that "Most books" is an indication that some books have a lower limit.

The ability of publishers to set a lower limit appears to be unique to the Kindle Store. There is no device limit with eReader ebooks. I have never heard of a MOBI ebook having an activation limit lower than the default for that particular ebook store (some stores don't allow 4 devices, but if they allow N devices all their ebooks allow N devices). I can't see how a publisher could set a limit below the default six for Adobe ebooks, since there does not seem to be a way to tell Adobe which of your six registered devices to allow.
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:53 AM   #8
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It is going to end in an ugly mess.
When people replace their Kindle with a Sony/Hanlin/iRex/whatever, and cannot read their books on this new device because Amazon's DRM is not supported, when people get older and start to realize it may be impossible to let their children inherit their digital library, when Amazon goes bankrupt (G.M. just did, so now you know anything can happen), when Amazon gets hacked and its database is deleted,...
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:17 PM   #9
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If deregistered devices do not "free-up" licenses, how is this affecting those with even one or two Kindles that have returned them multiple times (for various issues posted here)? From some of the posts I have read, there are more than a few that have exceeded the six device maximum in Kindles alone due to replacements.

Just curious.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skydog View Post
If deregistered devices do not "free-up" licenses, how is this affecting those with even one or two Kindles that have returned them multiple times (for various issues posted here)? From some of the posts I have read, there are more than a few that have exceeded the six device maximum in Kindles alone due to replacements.

Just curious.
I was wondering the same thing. As they roll out more devices this is going to become a pretty big issue.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mr. Goodbar View Post
I was wondering the same thing. As they roll out more devices this is going to become a pretty big issue.
We are basically talking about the same issue that exists for any other Mobipocket device, and it's really never been a practical problem. If you run out of "slots" for registered devices, you contact Mobi and they manually remove the "obsolete" ones for you.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:50 PM   #12
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If you run out of "slots" for registered devices, you contact Mobi and they manually remove the "obsolete" ones for you.
There is a difference in that MOBI does not have a download limit but rather a "slots per ebook file" limit (which can be any number up to 4). When mobipocket removes a device PID from its list all future ebooks will have the new list and you are free to redownload existing ebooks with the new list. So, getting the new device list onto old ebooks is the owners responsibility and requires nothing from MobiPocket except the ability to redownload the ebook.

Amazon is using the same MOBI format, but it only ever uses one PID per file. So each ebook file is locked to exactly one device, and Amazon's server tracks which ebooks have been downloaded to which devices. If a device is deregistered, then this is trivially active for future ebooks but the server software must actually update a database to deregister each existing ebook individually. Based on the comments, it seems that this either never works (i.e. isn't automatic at all) or perhaps only works sometimes. There is no way for a user to tell, because the number of "slots" available and used is not exposed on the "manage my Kindle" page. Since six devices is a generous allowance, most users won't hit the limit even if they have to exchange a Kindle or two. Many more users will hit the limit over time, so this is something that Amazon has to get right.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skydog View Post
If deregistered devices do not "free-up" licenses, how is this affecting those with even one or two Kindles that have returned them multiple times (for various issues posted here)? From some of the posts I have read, there are more than a few that have exceeded the six device maximum in Kindles alone due to replacements.

Just curious.
Like I said, you have to call Amazon and they'll free up the licenses from the old devices. You have to do this book by book, though. Alternatively it can be quicker for them to just refund your money and let you buy the book again.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:55 PM   #14
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Amazon is using the same MOBI format, but it only ever uses one PID per file. So each ebook file is locked to exactly one device
Really? So if you have two Kindles, you have to download the files twice - once for each Kindle - and the file for one Kindle won't work on the other? Doesn't that make it somewhat difficult to keep personal backups of your books on your PC, for example? How do you know which file is for which Kindle?
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:58 PM   #15
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Really? So if you have two Kindles, you have to download the files twice - once for each Kindle - and the file for one Kindle won't work on the other? Doesn't that make it somewhat difficult to keep personal backups of your books on your PC, for example? How do you know which file is for which Kindle?
You've got it. Indeed, backing up the Kindle books to your PC is almost pointless unless you strip the DRM from them.

Otherwise, if you get a new device, you redownload your previously purchased books from Amazon once you register the device. Since Amazon keeps a library of all your Amazon purchases this isn't an issue.
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