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Old 07-08-2010, 08:44 PM   #1
motjebben
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How to back up DRM-protected content?

How does one back up DRM-protected content (locally)?

For example, supposed one has a DRM-protected .epub book from, say, Barnes-and-Noble.

If one wants to keep this .epub book for future use (say 5 years later) on a totally new ereader device, what does one have to have saved to be able to read this .epub then? Assume, for example, that one does not have access to Barnes-and-Noble at that 5-year mark.

Obviously, the .epub file itself. But, what does one need to unlock the DRM-protected .epub???

I arbitrarily chose the B&N example, because I understand that B&N is using a new "password-protected" scheme from Adobe. Is is sufficient to save just the .epub file and a textfile that reminds one of the email address and password (is it credit card number for B&N???)?

Bottom line: As any computer user will tell one, it is imperative to back up one's data - any number of things can go wrong. By backing up the right information, one should be able to restore one's data at any point in the future. This sometimes means backing up the data, a passkey, and even possibly the original program that "bound" the two.

How do all of you back up your books for perpetuity?



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Old 07-08-2010, 09:10 PM   #2
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We're not allowed to post links to removing DRM due to forum rules, BUT my answer is:

'If you can't remove the DRM, don't buy it."

There's no guarantee otherwise that you can preserve your ebooks. Fortunately, most DRM can be removed. Google is your friend. Here's to Calibre for the format shifting afterward!
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:11 PM   #3
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I remove DRM, convert to plain text (with ReST markups), xhtml, and epub (rebuilt from the xhtml using a custom toolchain I've been working on). This entails a fair amount of work with each new book, but I'm happy with the results so far. I can also generate other formats if the need arises.

All of the ReST files are automatically mirrored on my server, my home computer, and at least two additional machines in separate geographical locations. I'll likely be adding an additional mirror at some point.

The xhtml and epub are generated (using a modified docutils and my custom epub building tools) from the ReST files, and generally can be rebuilt in a fairly short amount of time. (~50 books every 3 minutes on my server), so they get mirrored, but not as extensively.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:20 PM   #4
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I don't buy DRM-restricted (a much more accurate term than "protected") content. Plain and simple. Yes, I know I could strip the DRM, but that's not the point; I refuse to vote with my wallet, small though it may be, in favor of DRM.

True, I can't buy the latest big-name bestsellers. Then again, I've never bought the latest big-name bestsellers, so I'm not missing anything. I buy my science fiction and fantasy from Baen/Webscriptions, I get my classics free from Project Gutenberg, I buy my tech books from O'Reilly (usually on sale), I buy my mysteries and humor and other random stuff from BookView Cafe, BeWrite, and various authors' websites. I certainly don't lack for books (reading time, on the other hand...) and I've found some wonderful authors that way.

So I have no worries about the future of my books, because I don't buy books that are "protected" from me.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by crc View Post
I remove DRM, convert to plain text (with ReST markups), xhtml, and epub (rebuilt from the xhtml using a custom toolchain I've been working on). This entails a fair amount of work with each new book, but I'm happy with the results so far. I can also generate other formats if the need arises.
Wow! this really takes some effort! I did only one conversion of a non-DRM book and really like the way I can change meta data, rearrange the page layout and even add my own images to the cover. I like the final result a lot better than the original file but boy, it takes so much work! Even for a book lover like me who want to be a perfectionist to the every details that mimic the real book, I only tried that once. Now I have several epub files that I purchased from B&N and Sony and I do have the right python scripts to remove the DRM, however, I am a litte confused as to if it's legal to remove the DRM from one's own purchase. I read somewhere in this forum that says it is actually NOT illegal in the US if the book is what you purchased yourself, but cannot find that thread anymore and cannot verify if that is true or just someone's interpretation of his own hope - as I believe you cannot remove DRM from a music file in the US, why would an ebook file be different? interesting to know though.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:57 PM   #6
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Everything I've read says that removing the drm locks is now illegal in the US, but there's a supposed lawyer in one of these threads that claims it IS legal. I guess it depends on how much you would trust a lawyer, lol. Or maybe he's wanting a "test" case to try.

You would think the legal system has better things to do, but the world, it's a changing... Maybe some consider that a "pirate" activity now.
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motjebben View Post
Bottom line: As any computer user will tell one, it is imperative to back up one's data - any number of things can go wrong. By backing up the right information, one should be able to restore one's data at any point in the future. This sometimes means backing up the data, a passkey, and even possibly the original program that "bound" the two.

How do all of you back up your books for perpetuity?
Actually, I disagree that there is an "imperative" to back up one's DRM e-book data.

With non-DRM (which are mainly free books), by all means employ standard computer back-up routines.

With DRM material -- from Amazon, B&N, Sony, etc -- there is no need to do a back-up since you can grab a copy in the future from your account.

You may argue those folks may go out of business, so make a local copy. Cool. But, they may not go out of business, either -- and you'll be able to transfer a fresh copy, along with your rights, to future devices authenticated by those companies. That's the deal you accept when you purchase from them. Like any contract, if you don't like the deal, don't take it.

I'd also argue that most people do not ever re-read their books. So even if you lose a bunch through bankruptcy and hardware failure, the loss is slight. You might even be able to borrow from your local library by then.

And the final alternative is "breaking the law" and altering the files by removing DRM. Note that making a personal back-up is probably legal but removing the DRM is not.
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:24 PM   #8
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You might want to add another reason why backups are useful locally.

ebooks previously purchased can at the publishers whim, become geographically restricted preventing you from accessing that ebook (or ebooks) from your bookshelf.

This situation happened to myself and apparently many others recently. MY backup HDD failed and I lost a good number of paid-for ebooks that I now cannot re-download.

Removing DRM is simply part of the process now.
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:25 PM   #9
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Wow! this really takes some effort! I did only one conversion of a non-DRM book and really like the way I can change meta data, rearrange the page layout and even add my own images to the cover. I like the final result a lot better than the original file but boy, it takes so much work! Even for a book lover like me who want to be a perfectionist to the every details that mimic the real book, I only tried that once.
I don't worry about being an exact copy of the printed book, but I do like to be able to fix errors in the text and ensure consistent formatting across my library. I am trying to do the basic edits on at least one book per day, and make notes as I read of mistakes that need to be addressed.

I'm actually enjoying the time I spend editing, it's quite rewarding in the end
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:28 PM   #10
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ebooks previously purchased can at the publishers whim, become geographically restricted preventing you from accessing that ebook (or ebooks) from your bookshelf.
I definitely agree that is another reason to consider local back-ups of DRM material. (But that's not a reason to strip the DRM from the local back-ups.) It's also grounds to pursue the vendor (and the publisher) for your money back!
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:31 PM   #11
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I remove DRM, convert to plain text (with ReST markups), xhtml, and epub (rebuilt from the xhtml using a custom toolchain I've been working on). This entails a fair amount of work with each new book ...
Everyone needs a hobby and clearly you have found yours ... more power to you. This is not a solution for most people ... and, I dare say, hardly anyone else. I get it for a super-cherished book that has enormous personal emotional attachment ... but not for a "library" of books. For one thing, it would eat into precious time needed to post on Mobileread ...
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:32 PM   #12
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I definitely agree that is another reason to consider local back-ups of DRM material. (But that's not a reason to strip the DRM from the local back-ups.) It's also grounds to pursue the vendor (and the publisher) for your money back!
This was through Diesel, they were great actually and refunded me over AU$100 worth of ebooks. Close to 70% of my purchases became restricted.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:23 PM   #13
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I definitely agree that is another reason to consider local back-ups of DRM material. (But that's not a reason to strip the DRM from the local back-ups.) It's also grounds to pursue the vendor (and the publisher) for your money back!
Based on your last sentence, you might want to read the licensee agreement you agreed to when you purchased your ebooks.

You'll find out that those eBooks are not yours but rather leased. And in those leasing terms they have the right to terminate server support and license support at any time.

So if the company stops carrying your book it is under no obligation to give you download access or re-authenticate your book with a new device or a new license scheme. Thus archiving a book of an outdated DRM is not going to help either.

This happens to me with Fictionwise when Adobe switch to Adobe DRM. I lost access to all my PDF books that where discontinued. There was no way for me to download the PDF with the new DRM because FW did not carry the book any longer. FW also refused to refund my purchase stating that I was able to download the book in the past.


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Old 07-08-2010, 11:56 PM   #14
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Based on your last sentence, you might want to read the licensee agreement you agreed to when you purchased your ebooks.

You'll find out that those eBooks are not yours but rather leased. And in those leasing terms they have the right to terminate server support and license support at any time.

So if the company stops carrying your book it is under no obligation to give you download access or re-authenticate your book with a new device or a new license scheme. Thus archiving a book of an outdated DRM is not going to help either.
=X=
Diesel was of the opinion that as I purchased these ebooks and the agency 5 had subsequently decided Australia was off the white list, I was entitled to a full refund.

To be honest, the best way to archive your purchases is to remove DRM. After all we all have a bookshelf full of paperbacks we have not read in a while!
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:14 AM   #15
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Any cultural object that requires an intermediary device runs the risk of your losing access, either partially or completely.

E.g. if you bought 8-tracks, vinyl records, cassettes, an Atari 2600 cartridge, Laserdiscs, minidiscs, and so forth -- most of which did not have DRM -- you'd still have trouble accessing that content today, regardless of how much you paid for said content.

In this respect paper has the advantage, in that no intermediary device is required. At the same time, if my house burns down, those books are gone; if my ebook reader gets destroyed, though, I can just reload or resync my books.

DRM adds a possible layer of difficulty, but it seems that the odds that B&N, Apple, Amazon et al will go belly-up without someone buying their business and scooping up those customers is pretty small. As such, I just do a basic backup and don't sweat it.
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