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Old 05-22-2013, 10:56 AM   #1
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removing DRM- is this legal?

I have heard of people removing the DRM from their own purchased books in order to create a backup or to be able to read the book on multiple ereaders.

I want to know if this is even legal. My question is in the context of wanting to have a back up copy for myself or for being able to read a B&N nookbook on a Sony ereader etc.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:04 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by purple_fishy View Post
I have heard of people removing the DRM from their own purchased books in order to create a backup or to be able to read the book on multiple ereaders.

I want to know if this is even legal. My question is in the context of wanting to have a back up copy for myself or for being able to read a B&N nookbook on a Sony ereader etc.
First I Am Not A Lawyer, if you want a real legal opinion you need to ask someone who is.

That said, my understanding is that the only exception to the DMCA for literary works is "... if all ebook editions prevent enabling the book’s read-aloud function or the rendering of the text into a disabled-accessible format."

So short answer, it is not legal.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:06 AM   #3
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Depends on where you live.
Most likley, no. But unless you are stupid enough to but your books on the internet after, the probability of someone suing you for this is verry low.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:11 AM   #4
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In the US, removing DRM is usually considered to be illegal. That said, international laws differ, and we have arguments in the US about fair use, etc, if you're only removing it for personal use. We fought the format-shifting wars over music and format-shifting won, so I expect the same thing to happen with ebooks eventually. Disclaimer - I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

Practically speaking, there's nothing to stop you if you're just going to use it to change readers. Just don't try to make money off it, post to pirate sites, email to everyone you know, etc.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:15 AM   #5
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I have no real need for it at the moment, I only have nook readers and my books are stored on the Nook cloud.

If it's not legal, I will not be doing it. I would rather be safe than sorry. Thanks for the fast replies!
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:17 AM   #6
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I want to know if this is even legal. My question is in the context of wanting to have a back up copy for myself or for being able to read a B&N nookbook on a Sony ereader etc.
You'll need to look at the law in your own country.

In the various statutes I've looked at, even if it's illegal for personal use, it's only a civil offence. I.e., the government won't prosecute you, but copyright holders could sue you if they found out and wanted to do so.

Caveat: I am not a lawyer, I might be mistaken, and the laws in your country might be different.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:57 AM   #7
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It's also worth noting that the law is sometimes conflicting. One part of the law may say it's legal to shift formats, but another will say that it is illegal to remove copy protection mechanisms. Or it may be legal to shift formats, but the source format is patented so the software to decode it is probably illegal.
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Old 05-22-2013, 04:27 PM   #8
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How would the government ever know if all you do is make a de-DRM'd copy of all your books to store as a backup on a hard drive? They are scarcely going to search people's computers and files at random hoping to find a de-DRM'd book somewhere on it. As long as you don't post the book on the internet for others to download you are safe. I also remove matress tags in spite of the dire warnings against it and no arrests yet.
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:57 PM   #9
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...I also remove matress tags in spite of the dire warnings against it and no arrests yet.
That warning is only for anyone selling the mattresses.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:51 PM   #10
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It's also worth noting that the law is sometimes conflicting. One part of the law may say it's legal to shift formats, but another will say that it is illegal to remove copy protection mechanisms. Or it may be legal to shift formats, but the source format is patented so the software to decode it is probably illegal.
This. The law in the US is conflicted, so we really won't know for sure until someone goes to court over it and the appeal goes high enough. For all practical purposes, if you are really just format shifting an ebook that you legally purchased, purely for your own use, then the odds of someone suing you is very, very low.

In other countries, it might be different.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:20 PM   #11
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Don't worry about legality since if you do strip the drm no one will know about it to come after you.

Worry more about what you will do when B&N goes belly up and takes all your bought and paid for books with them.

Freeing them will solve this worry. It will also allow you to convert them into standard epubs to put on a Sony reader, or tablet or convert to Kindle books.

A whole lot of us on here saw this happen with Fictionwise, B&N bought them then trashed them so that they finally shut down last year. And although they sent out emails to their former customers that they could download their books and/or move them over to B&N it was hardly a smooth process!

You paid for those books, you should be able to keep them and put them on any device that you so choose. So google Apprentice Alf and start freeing those books!

Last edited by cfrizz; 05-22-2013 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:23 PM   #12
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You'll need to look at the law in your own country.

In the various statutes I've looked at, even if it's illegal for personal use, it's only a civil offence. I.e., the government won't prosecute you, but copyright holders could sue you if they found out and wanted to do so.

Caveat: I am not a lawyer, I might be mistaken, and the laws in your country might be different.
In the US they are highly unlikely to sue you but if they do and are successful, which they have done with perfectly normal people, they can be awarded inordinately large sums of money pour encourager les autres.
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:42 PM   #13
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In the US they are highly unlikely to sue you but if they do and are successful, which they have done with perfectly normal people, they can be awarded inordinately large sums of money pour encourager les autres.
I don't recall this every happening with ebooks.
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:58 PM   #14
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For the record, I find it rather despicable to answer a question about the legality of something with variations of "doesn't matter if it's legal, as long as you don't get caught."

To the OP: While the US has a law with wording that seems to make stripping DRM illegal, the few times that provision has come up in cases, courts have disagreed on whether it would apply in a situation like you describe. This has been discussed here a lot.
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:59 PM   #15
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I don't recall this every happening with ebooks.
The publishing industry hasn't used the blackmail tactics that the music industry uses. I'm kind of surprised, but apparently the millions that the publishing industry "loses" hasn't risen to the level of the RIAA.
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