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Old 03-15-2009, 03:37 PM   #391
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Originally Posted by hypothetical View Post

Can we now accept the possibility that this could be a legitimate (although mildly misinformed) concern for amazon. Is it now possible that all of this is the result of google research done by an underpaid intern, instead of the fact that this site posts instructions on how to use a kindle at a library or another store?
It is my strong belief that this misinformation didn't come from "google research by an underpaid intern" ... but from an incorrect article or comment to an article posted on the internet early this month a portion of which made it into a news-feed.

However, the letter came from Amazon's attorneys, and it should be the attorney's job to find out if the accusation has any basis in fact before they issue a take-down letter.

The mistake (on the part of both Amazon and their attorneys) was in assuming that the scripts in question had been (1) created by the owerns and operators of MobileRead, and were being (2) distributed by the owners and operators of MobleRead.

In an effort to boot-strap some support for their mistaken belief, they pointed to materials as obscure and someone saying "sure I have kindlepid.py and I'll send it to you via PM."

That sort of post is not MobileRead.com "creating and distributing" materials, whether or not those materials are designed to circumvent DRM.

Further, discussion of such tools, even discussion of how to use those tools, is protected speech in the United States. Of course MobileRead is going to be at the top of any Google search if you type in "kindlepid.py" .... a lot of people discuss that topic in this forum. I, for one, hope we keep on discussing it.

However, I also hope that someone with a little bit of brain matter at Amazon begins to understand that:

(1) the various DRM cracks that exist were not created by Alex Turcic or the moderators of MobileRead;

(2) these cracks have been in existence for well over a year and are in wide distribution throughout the internet;

(3) slapping a take-down letter on MobileRead is going to only create more discussion of scripts like this and whether or not they actually do anything except inconvenience the consumer;

(4) and more discussion means that more people will find out the scripts exist, and are going to decide that, if the only way they can get the content they actually want on the device they own is to hire the 10 year old script whiz who lives next door to show them how to download and use these things;

(5) and they will have served only to alienate their customer base.
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Old 03-15-2009, 03:45 PM   #392
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So how does "PDF password recovery" software survive? This is probably 99.99% of the time used to break password protection, but if you forget your password it will get it back for you and so the software it is legal. Or am I missing some other legal loophole that allows this software to exist?
Is password a DRM system?

I do not think a password recover program is a DRM circumvention tool.
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Old 03-15-2009, 03:52 PM   #393
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With all respect, i think we should follow Alexanders policy and don't forget that we are interested in a good relationship to Amazon.

Imho a open letter to Amazon signed by all of us - the MR users and especially all the kindle-customers here - would be a better way.
OK, maybe my posting was a little careless. I don't want to convince people to cancel their accounts or to start boycotting Amazon. But for me things just added up over a while, first the POD thing and now the kindlepid "affair". It looks like Amazon wants to build up monopolies in many markets, and I can't support that.

I would second an open letter by the community, and if I read things correctly someone already set up something like that?! But IMO they won't really change things after reading such a letter. You have to "speak with your wallet" if you really want to drag attention to your issues. Again, this is only my personal opinion.
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:09 PM   #394
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Originally Posted by -Thomas- View Post
I would second an open letter by the community, and if I read things correctly someone already set up something like that?! But IMO they won't really change things after reading such a letter. You have to "speak with your wallet" if you really want to drag attention to your issues. Again, this is only my personal opinion.
I think that would be me. It's actually an open letter from me personally but I will post open letters on the same blog from anyone who wishes to add one.

Check the link in my sig.
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:41 PM   #395
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OK, maybe my posting was a little careless. I don't want to convince people to cancel their accounts or to start boycotting Amazon. But for me things just added up over a while, first the POD thing and now the kindlepid "affair". It looks like Amazon wants to build up monopolies in many markets, and I can't support that.

I would second an open letter by the community, and if I read things correctly someone already set up something like that?! But IMO they won't really change things after reading such a letter. You have to "speak with your wallet" if you really want to drag attention to your issues. Again, this is only my personal opinion.
Don't get me wrong please. I didn't want to blame you. It's just a difficult situation with more than one point of view, eg. What should/could MR do? vs. What should/could i do personally?
Your personal decision to stop any business with Amazon is fine. Basically (and personally) i do agree with you. But as community we should try to talk to Amazon first and give them time to react on our protest.
Boycotting and/or even bashing them under the flag of MR seems to be the wrong way if we want MR to keep a good relationship to Amazon.

You earned a lot of respect by me for the "rectification" of your first post.
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:59 PM   #396
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Originally Posted by hypothetical View Post
Hi. I’m new here and found this site when deciding which ebook reader to buy. I ended up with a kindle 2 and am very happy with it. When I purchased it, I knew it’s advantages and the limitations of the amazon store mostly due to the information provided by this site, which was, for the most part, accurate. Most importantly, it was fairly easy to discern facts from the personal bias that members had for particular readers.

After the events of last week, I was a little dismayed about how quickly some of you did a 180 on your feelings about amazon. Everyone here seems to be taking this very personally, even going so far as encouraging others to return their devices because of a grand conspiracy at amazon to oppress their rights (and possibly steal their children!)

I going to play the devil’s advocate here, in hopes we start looking for other possibilities instead of always assuming the worst possible case. I think that instead of breaking out the torches and pitchforks, maybe we should be working on getting companies to be less vague when communicating with community websites.


One of the main points of contention here is that a kindle’s PID is only use is for shopping at other stores. It’s still on the main page as I write this. I think that this is true for 95% of the people on this site, but lets remember that there are many sites with less scruples. It would be naive to think that useful tools used for legitimate reasons couldn’t possibly be used for illegitimate ones. A little google research found this:

I won’t post the entire script because of its purpose, but the command line arguments should be fair game and enough to make a point.

print "MobiDeDrm v0.05. Copyright (c) 2008 The Dark Reverser"
if len(sys.argv)<4:
print "Removes protection from Mobipocket books"
print "Usage:"
print " mobidedrm infile.mobi outfile.mobi PID"

This may be a different PID, but I doubt it. Regardless, this would probably scare any publisher that found it into contacting amazon and asking them to take action.

I did another, more targeted, google search for “MobiDeDrm”. The top hit is for this website. It’s for a forum thread that is simply instructing a member on how to execute python scripts (damning stuff, I know), but it still enough to make this site stand out as a source of information. If you were going to send out letters to sites requesting the removal of all the tools that could be used to rip and redistribute your books, wouldn’t you start at the top of the google results?

Can we now accept the possibility that this could be a legitimate (although mildly misinformed) concern for amazon. Is it now possible that all of this is the result of google research done by an underpaid intern, instead of the fact that this site posts instructions on how to use a kindle at a library or another store?



I know a lot of you don’t like Amazon’s business model and that’s fine. You seem very happy with other devices. And to those of you with kindles who want to buy or borrow books from other places, is this really going to stop you? The process isn’t a simple one. It involves running python scripts for each book, not exactly something my grandmother would be comfortable doing.

I’m guessing that those of you who are actually considering returning your kindle because of this probably never should have got one to begin with, and would have been much more comfortable with a more open product. One that uses that openness a selling point. I don’t remember anything on amazon’s site about being able to buy books elsewhere or borrow them from a library. That is an undocumented ability that you shouldn’t count on and that you should have never based a purchasing decision on.


I bought my kindle for the simplicity and efficientness of the device and I’m quite happy with it.
A couple of points need to cleared up here.
1) PID is not necessarily or in general restricted to the Kindle. The PID of any device that has Mobipocket Reader legally and properly installed will provide that PID to the owner. The Kindle does not. The script mobidedrm.py was not even written with the Kindle in mind. It was only an after thought to even search for a possible PID on the Kindle since the .AZW files were nearly identical to .PRC files.

2) I don't believe anyone here is so naive as to believe "that a kindle’s PID is only use is for shopping at other stores" and in fact it doesn't matter. Your computer is part of a chain of tools that can be used to circumvent DRM. (In fact I believe it would be nearly impossible to do so without a computer.) Should Amazon have the right to take away your computer for this reason. We think not, nor do they have the moral right to take away a tool which does have a legitimate use such as kindlePID.py.

3)(Just my opinion.) Personally I believe it is morally wrong for any company to "give" me something as Amazon "gave" me my Kindles PID and then to say, "Oh but you can't use that. And in fact you can't even look at it." That makes as much sense to me as a law that says I can be naked in public but you can look at me and if you do, you're a criminal as subject to jail and/or fines. There are too many such laws now because the large companies would rather send their money to Washington, DC via lobbyists and make laws rather than making the appropriate engineering changes. Othe examplse are cable & satellite TV & radio. They send me the signal (encrypted) and say, "Mustn't touch or Big Brother slap your hand." If they don't waqnt me to have it, I say don't beam it at me. (End of rant.)

Oh and another thing. Amazon's lawyer's are so tgorough and brillient that they required MR to remove all their "anti-circumvention" utilities. They either made a dumb mistake in language which I doubt because lawyers are typicall extremely efficient and correct with words, or they don't understand that the "anti-circumvention" laws are to prefent utilities that "circumvent" DRM not "anti-circumvention" tools. The latter seems more probable to me.

Last edited by slayda; 03-15-2009 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 03-15-2009, 05:14 PM   #397
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After the events of last week, I was a little dismayed about how quickly some of you did a 180 on your feelings about amazon. Everyone here seems to be taking this very personally, even going so far as encouraging others to return their devices because of a grand conspiracy at amazon to oppress their rights (and possibly steal their children!)
Let me explain the situation.

Moderators here are so *keen* on keeping Mobileread "clean" and without any reference to piracy or "darknet" that, sometimes, it looks almost ridiculous.
When I joined the forum and started to answer newbie questions about "where to get books" several of my posts got deleted/moderated because I dared to mention that there are people that [self censored word] books.
Mind you, I was not posting any how-tos, I was not posting addresses of questionable sites, or names of IRC channels, I was not encouraging copyright infringement. I have simply dared to mention that the emperor has no clothes.
References to files, books, sites, that are not *strictly* "legal" are quickly deleted on this forum.
Some moderators here have many times expressed very strong feelings against anybody who is committing copyright infringement, calling people CRIMINALS.

Now the Mobileread receives a legal threat because it linked to the site that linked to the site containing a script. And the script even can not be called a "circumvention tool".
If Amazon tried to contact moderators, or site owners and ask nicely, everything would have been resolved very quickly and quietly.

Imagine a situation:
You have just purchased new furniture.
Your neighbor John is parking his car in such a way that the [big] truck with the furniture can not get to your driveway. He is not blocking it, and if you tried to park your [relatively small] car there there would be quite a lot of space.
What do you do now?
1. You knock on his door and ask nicely:
"Hi John. Could you please move your car a little bit please?"
2. You call towing service or police (depending on where you live) and you have his car towed away.
3. You go home, load your legally held gun and start shooting at his car (or a that little bit of his car that is actually standing on your property)

Which action would give the best and fastest result?
Yes you CAN do 2. and (In some countries I shall not name here) you might get away with 3. but ...

To sum it out:
The moderators here are annoyed, because the Amazon started to attack us instead of contacting us and asking nicely. Mobileread moderators try very hard to keep the site in compliance with law, regulations, (even with crazy DMCA), they educate people here how to get books legally, they try to support the e-publishing industry and the industry sets blood-hound^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hlawyers on our trail.
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Old 03-15-2009, 06:12 PM   #398
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That is very interesting, as Jeff Bezos responded to a question from Jon Stewart about DRM:

"...publishers get to decide if they want to encrypt the books, put DRM on or not... publishers get to decide whether they want to do that on different books and some do and some don't."
Bezos says it a lot but it just isn't true, which always makes me wonder what else Amazon isn't truthful about.
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Old 03-15-2009, 06:30 PM   #399
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Originally Posted by Alisa View Post
My guess is they think that the population of people with jailbroken iPhones is much more likely to post these books on the pirate interwebs than Kindle owners or people who just want to read on another device.
And, they didn't know this before they decided to support this phone? Do they really think the people who jail brake phones won't be able to break the DRM?

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Old 03-15-2009, 06:35 PM   #400
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Such software is illegal in the UK, and probably many other places too. You can buy lots of things which are illegal to actually use - eg "macrovision" decoder boxes for removing the copy protection from DVDs.
Yeah, i guess that would be illegal in france too. "Protection measures can't be bypassed for no reason whatsoever" , say the DADVSI.
Then the APRIL (free software foundation), had some yell, that ended up in adding "except for interoperability reasons"
Yeah, reading DVD with linux is legal again
And well, getting rid of the drm on my E-books is for interoperability too. So it's not a mess when i gets a new pc or reader.

Worse part is that this kind of thing never prevent people to crack things if they want to.It's just a pain to the customers.
Music industry is begining to understand that, they're going no drm, slowly, but surely. What's the book industry's waiting for ?
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Old 03-15-2009, 06:36 PM   #401
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Such software is illegal in the UK, and probably many other places too. You can buy lots of things which are illegal to actually use - eg "macrovision" decoder boxes for removing the copy protection from DVDs.
Yeah, i guess that would be illegal in france too. "Protection measures can't be bypassed for no reason whatsoever" , say the DADVSI.
Then the APRIL (free software foundation), had some yell, that ended up in adding "except for interoperability reasons"
Yeah, reading DVD with linux is legal again
And well, getting rid of the drm on my E-books is for interoperability too. So it's not a mess when i gets a new pc or reader.

Worse part is that this kind of thing never prevent people to crack things if they want to.It's just a pain to the customers.
Music industry is begining to understand that, they're going no drm, slowly, but surely. What's the book industry waiting for ?
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Old 03-15-2009, 08:38 PM   #402
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Alright, remember the AACS encryption key controversy? Wikipedia has a summary. AACS LA issued demand letters to websites publishing a hexadecimal number used to decrypt DVD movies. It caused a huge uproad (on Digg in particular), when the AACS site posted the following in response:

Quote:
"AACS LA began several weeks ago sending letters to parties trafficking in tools used to circumvent AACS technology on Blu-ray and HD DVD movie discs. The letters requested the removal solely of illegal circumvention tools, including encryption keys, from a number of Web sites. AACS LA recognizes the value of active public discussion and commentary related to these issues, and has not requested the removal or deletion of any such discussion or commentary."
(emphasis mine)

Today the hex number is freely available everywhere, including cited Wikipedia article.

Not that we're talking about a circumvention tool here, kindlepid isn't, but I wish companies would take a lesson from history.
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:03 PM   #403
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Originally Posted by scotty1024 View Post
Alex,

If you feel a law is too broad in it's powers you work to change the law, you don't break it. Because when you start breaking laws you may discover they protect things you do care about.
I don't think things are quite that simple. It seems to me that these laws are passed to protect the perceived business interests of the businesses involved, without much concern about what users care about. Users aren't organized, and don't make campaign contributions. To the extent that users vote, they have other concerns that dilute their relative effectiveness in dealing with this particular problem.

When you have the Congress extending copyright laws to protect the Disney Company's copyrights for 70 years, it's hard to sustain any belief that the same Congress really gives a damn about the rest of us.

The DRM regime, insofar as I have experienced it, reminds me very much of the way that liquor distributors here in Illinois have managed to maintain an outmoded and inefficient system of liquor distribution, concentrated in the hands of a few businesses, by preventing Illinois residents from being able to buy wine from out of state, over the internet. The purpose is to enrich the distributors by requiring everyone to do business with them, if they want to buy a bottle of wine.

I mean, look at this - the logical result of this DRM law is that I have to be prepared, as a reader, to purchase a dedicated ereader for each business which sells ebooks, if the sellers all decide that they want to so limit the use of what they sell. And further, there seems to be no reason why these sellers can't prevent me from uploading public domain texts, if they want to.

That's like telling me that if I want to buy gas at BP, I have to use it in a Ford, while if I want to buy gas at Shell, I have to use it in a Honda. And if I understand the business relationships involved with Amazon & the mobi format, it's as if Exxon is saying that if I want to buy gas at an Exxon station, I have to use it in a Saab, but if I want to buy gas at Mobile, I have to use it in a Toyota, and this even though the same company owns each brand of gas.

It's not merely that the system is stupid. It is that it is deliberately designed to insure that the end user has to live with whatever the sellers want to do.

That's not law. That's a system of economic thievery disguised as law.
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:23 PM   #404
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I don't think things are quite that simple. It seems to me that these laws are passed to protect the perceived business interests of the businesses involved, without much concern about what users care about. Users aren't organized, and don't make campaign contributions. To the extent that users vote, they have other concerns that dilute their relative effectiveness in dealing with this particular problem.

[..]

That's not law. That's a system of economic thievery disguised as law.
Even if many of us do agree with you - scotty1024 isn't part of this community anymore, don't waste your time for responding to him. Beside of that fact, your post was really written very well.
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:25 PM   #405
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It's not merely that the system is stupid. It is that it is deliberately designed to insure that the end user has to live with whatever the sellers want to do.

That's not law. That's a system of economic thievery disguised as law.
It's also anti-competitive. What hope does the little guy with a good idea have of entering this market? Authors and publishers must work through Amazon. Buyer must go through Amazon. Device makers supporting epub (or whatever) are left out in the cold.

Companies are supposed to eliminate competition, that's their job right? At some point our legislation needs to step in and squash it. Instead it seems, more and more, they're in the pockets of the big companies.
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