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Old 04-28-2021, 03:17 PM   #46
Quoth
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It increases the effort involved in copying a book to the point where most individuals won’t bother.

I agree about it being unfriendly to the consumer. It is slower than the old KCR and no longer allows offline reading in a browser.
Most piracy (source material) is either industrial/commercial/gangs or a small number of people.

Not ordinary readers.

It can be automated. It's a delusional protection like HDCP on HDMI.

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Old 04-28-2021, 03:20 PM   #47
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Gents: [and Gals]
I'm at a loss to understand the gist there. Unless it's some sort of brute-force testing for something else...but WHAT?
Yes, baffling. Either very clever or very stupid.

Maybe an attack on Amazon? I can't figure it.
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Old 04-28-2021, 05:09 PM   #48
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Yes, baffling. Either very clever or very stupid.

Maybe an attack on Amazon? I can't figure it.
I. Don't. Know. Grrrrr.

It is truly one of those things that makes you go, "hmmmmm." (h/t Arsenio Hall).

It frustrates the hell out of me that I can't figure out what's happening there.

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Old 04-28-2021, 05:10 PM   #49
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I've said this a lot. Amazon needs to validate eBooks uploaded before allowing them for sale.
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Old 04-28-2021, 06:42 PM   #50
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I've said this a lot. Amazon needs to validate eBooks uploaded before allowing them for sale.
Wolfie, dear:

Validate them how, exactly? What's that got to do with the scanned and OCR'ed Pirate eBooks?

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Old 04-29-2021, 07:12 PM   #51
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With Karamel each screen full of content is rendered by the servers at Amazon and delivered to the browser as a jpeg image.
I have a correction to the above statement based on further research. For karamel the servers do not deliver pages to the browser as JPEG images.

Instead they send JSON encoded drawing instructions for building fixed layout page images. The KCR JavaScript program running in the browser uses those instructions to produce the actual image.

Conceptually it is a lot like converting the book to PDF at the server.
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Old 04-30-2021, 05:32 AM   #52
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Wolfie, dear:

Validate them how, exactly? What's that got to do with the scanned and OCR'ed Pirate eBooks?

Hitch
Validate that they are legit.
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Old 04-30-2021, 08:07 AM   #53
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Validate that they are legit.
Well if you ask the people who uploaded the book I'm sure they'll say it's legit. How do check that a book is legit? Check every single publisher and ask if it's theirs for every book uploaded? Publishing rights can change between countries and languages and formats too. I imagine it's a giant mess.

There's a video game, No One Lives Forever that had it's rerelease cancelled because nobody is sure who actually owns the rights to it anymore because of various mergers, sales and acquisitions that happened over the years. IP rights can be insanely complicated sometimes.
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Old 04-30-2021, 10:58 AM   #54
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Validate that they are legit.
Jon, dear? Legit in what sense?

Legit in that it passes ePUBcheck? Make sure that what, 99% of it is original content? (Rotsa ruck with that, by the way.) Make sure that it's not using extant, well-trod plotlines? (ditto).

I'm sorry, but I think you're being...obdurate. Or not thinking this through, not sure which. You're talking about that which may only be done via human review and Jesus Wept, brother, only God above knows how many ebooks are publishing daily. What, a thousand? More?

They already check digitally. BUT, fixed-layout is a dark mess. A Black Hole. We're talking pages that are JPGS, not text. How on earth can they check that? If the pages aren't rotated, even?

Nyah, I don't see it. What Amazon REALLY needs to do (run, this is a hot-button topic with me) is charge a minimal upload fee, say, $10 or $25, which can be recovered, by the author, through sales. Say that once the author reaches that much in sales, Amazon refunds it, or whatever. That would put a cold stop to a lot of this piracy nonsense, of all kinds.

You don't see this nonsense over at Ingram, do you? NO. And why not? Because they charge minimum upload fees.

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Old 04-30-2021, 09:25 PM   #55
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Apparently, the newest "thang" is that they scan the file, and then embed the pages--sideways--into eBooks at the least and both at the worst (eBooks+Print);
As in an EPUB that is only sideways images?

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Have you lads seen the latest and greatest piracy stunts, going on, in KDP-land?

It's horrifying.
Is this new(?) wave much different than previous years?

The Digital Reader has been writing some stuff about this for a while:

And I definitely know I've been following stuff on the algorithmic pricing (where they sell "used copies" for hundreds and hundreds of dollars).

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So, what the hell is the point? WHY are they doing this?

[...]

I'm at a loss to understand the gist there. Unless it's some sort of brute-force testing for something else...but WHAT?
Krebs on Security is an absolutely fantastic journalist who writes about computer security + spam:

2018: "Money Laundering Via Author Impersonation on Amazon?"

He also explains the background + how such things work.

Note: I've had his website on my MUST READ list for ~10 years.

* * *

Recently, I also stumbled across this fantastic podcast, "Darknet Diaries":

https://darknetdiaries.com/

In Episode 85: "Cam the Carder", he interviews a guy who was sucked into credit card skimming operations, and how it expanded from there. (Also explaining details on how/why.)

Here's a snippet of the transcript:

Quote:
A credit card dump is the digital information stored in the credit card like name, expiration date, card number, and the bank info. This by itself can sometimes be used to make purchases but some people will buy card writers and actually turn a blank credit card into a stolen credit card. Then they try to buy things like gift cards at stores to convert the stolen money into something more legal. You can buy credit card dumps anywhere from one dollar to $40 each depending on where you live and how much info you get with it. But you’ve got to be careful. Some cards you buy might be old, expired, or already cancelled due to someone else using it, or it being reported stolen. You really need to find a good vendor that you can trust. As you can imagine some vendors are better than others. They have a high success rate like 60%, 80%, and they have a big inventory.
I'm betting an Amazon is a trustworthy brand + very likely for such bogus ebook purchases to slip by if buried between other credit card purchases.

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I honestly don't understand what's happening there, unless it's money-laundering, but that doesn't make any sense, either. One lousy alert, one copyright violation notice, one complaining customer and the book will be yanked and no royalties will be paid.
If it's fully automated + enough of a % slip through...

Similar to spam emails, the tiniest of tiny percentage actually goes through... but some sucker out there is buying those "male enhancement" pills.

But definitely read Krebs on Security. He'll teach you all!

* * *

Side Note: And get prepped for another massive influx of garbage. There were some absolutely massive leaks the past few months: 500+ million Facebook accounts.

Prepare for even more mountains of spam phone calls + emails + hacked accounts.

If you also want to see how this info can be used against you, listen to Darknet Diaries #87: "Guild of the Grumpy Old Hackers".

Back in 2016, they used the massive 2012 LinkedIn breach (also 500+ million accounts), in order to get into Trump's Twitter account.

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Well if you ask the people who uploaded the book I'm sure they'll say it's legit. How do check that a book is legit? Check every single publisher and ask if it's theirs for every book uploaded? Publishing rights can change between countries and languages and formats too. I imagine it's a giant mess.
I assume Amazon already does similar, but implementing a "plagarism checker"/fingerprinter.

If they check the text against previously uploaded ebooks, calculate a % match.

So if 98% of your ebook is similar to a previous ebook, maybe look more deeply into it.

... but this just makes the scammers push the edge slightly further to see what they can get away with. And with "AI" getting much better now—like the ones that condense news articles—you can run the text through algorithms to slightly change the wording throughout the book.

* * *

But Amazon has a few other enormous problem with physical goods as well.

Comingled Inventory

2020: Reddit.com: "YSK that Amazon has a serious problem with counterfeit products, and it's all because of something called "commingled inventory."
  • Amazon begins selling Device X.
  • Person A become an Amazon-approved seller, and sends Device X to Amazon's warehouse.
  • Amazon tosses it on the pile.
  • Scammer becomes an Amazon-approved seller, sends "knockoff Device X" to Amazon's warehouse.
  • Amazon tosses it on the pile.

Then 2 scenarios can happen:
  • You purchase Device X "from Person A".
  • Amazon reaches into their bin, sends you Scammer's knockoff instead.
  • People leave horrible reviews for Person A.

or:
  • You purchase Device X from Scammer
    • They probably set price a few cents cheaper.
  • Amazon reaches into their bin, sends you Person A's legitimate version.
  • Scammer pockets the money.

This problem has been swelling to epic proportions, and now it's gotten so bad that I refuse to purchase many tech products from Amazon (and have told many friends to ramp down as well).

Last year, I decided to upgrade my webcam.

I had to reorder the fracking thing 5 times. 5 times!

Amazon kept sending me the completely wrong webcam (Chinese-variant) each time.

Finally, after months of frustration, I purchased from Best Buy, where at least there was some semblance of inventory quality control.

Hijacking ASIN

2020: ArsTechnica.com: "Amazon still hasn’t fixed its problem with bait-and-switch reviews"

What happens is:
  • A listing goes dormant for a while
  • Hijackers swoop in and take it over, tricking Amazon into merging the new item with the old listing
  • All the old ratings/reviews carry over.

The Amazon identification number (ASIN) is the same, the URL is the same, but it points to a completely different item.

You've probably seen this if you try to repurchase something OR if you find incredibly odd reviews (trying to order a charging cable, but the reviews are talking about honey).

Again, last year, I went to repurchase a high quality USB charger (Anker, absolutely fantastic brand)...

But when I clicked on the ol' link in my history, instead of being lead to the same object I purchased, the Amazon page lead me to a completely hijacked scam.

Quote:
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Nyah, I don't see it. What Amazon REALLY needs to do (run, this is a hot-button topic with me) is charge a minimal upload fee, say, $10 or $25, which can be recovered, by the author, through sales. [...] That would put a cold stop to a lot of this piracy nonsense, of all kinds.
No.

See Google Play (apps) + Steam (video games).

* * *

Anyway, I think this is really straying far from the original topic at hand...

But KFX and all this JSON-server-fed-fixed-format nonsense... rotten, absolutely rotten.

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 05-01-2021 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 05-01-2021, 03:14 PM   #56
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Old 05-02-2021, 12:13 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex2002ans View Post
As in an EPUB that is only sideways images?
Yes, sideways images of text pages, over and over and over.



Quote:
Is this new(?) wave much different than previous years?

The Digital Reader has been writing some stuff about this for a while:

And I definitely know I've been following stuff on the algorithmic pricing (where they sell "used copies" for hundreds and hundreds of dollars).
Yes, AFAIK, this is very different from what we've seen previously.

(major snippages, cuz, it's Tex.)


Quote:
No.
Why not?

Quote:
See Google Play (apps) + Steam (video games).

* * *

Anyway, I think this is really straying far from the original topic at hand...

But KFX and all this JSON-server-fed-fixed-format nonsense... rotten, absolutely rotten.
Yes, well, you think any and all paid software is evil, so...you just MIGHT have a bias there, don'tcha know?

What's Google play (apps) and Stream (video games) got to do with upload fees? I'm sorry, but if some scum-sucking dirtbag wants to steal someone else's work, and try to make $0.50 off of it, let's say, over the 60 days that they may get away with it, a $10 upload fee will kibosh that right quick.

Even an upload fee that's paid back, let's say, by royalties so that after XXX period of time, the publisher hasn't paid it. It's a gatekeeping method, yes and for that reason, you'll have a cow, but I genuinely don't see a better way.

Sorry, but you know what? Publishing is now and always has been an endeavor that costs some money. More for some, less for others, but SOME money. "Democratizing" publishing so that any Tom Dick or Harriet can publish hasn't really resulting in millions of best-selling novels arriving full-blown and ready to rock, like Pegasus from the head of Medusa, now, has it?

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Old 05-02-2021, 02:00 AM   #58
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like Pegasus from the head of Medusa, now, has it?
Weren't Pegasus and his sibling born from where Medusa's blood was spilt upon the Earth after the beheading? Not quite the same as Athena and Zeus where head-splitting headache comes to mind. Though not quite as disquieting as Aphrodite being born when Cronus tossed Uranus's severed genitals into the ocean.
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Old 05-02-2021, 07:27 AM   #59
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Yes, sideways images of text pages, over and over and over.

Yes, AFAIK, this is very different from what we've seen previously.
Interesting.

Can you point to a few places reporting/discussing this? I'd love to read about this latest "trend".

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(major snippages, cuz, it's Tex.)
Heh, I was going to go in more detail, but I skimmed through the rest of my post and thought it was decently sized already!

But since you insist:

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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
What Amazon REALLY needs to do (run, this is a hot-button topic with me) is charge a minimal upload fee, say, $10 or $25 [...]. That would put a cold stop to a lot of this piracy nonsense, of all kinds.
No.

See Google Play (apps) + Steam (video games).
Why not?

[...]

What's Google play (apps) and Stream (video games) got to do with upload fees?
Both markets parallel the Amazon ebook situation.

They've applied those policies for years, and things are still a disaster.

Steam currently has a $100 per submission fee, recoupable after $1000 in sales.

Google Play has a one-time $25 developer fee. (Apple has a $99 per year fee.)

* * *

Steam

Pre-2012, Steam sold video games purely from established publishers.

In 2012, Valve introduced "Steam Greenlight".

This expanded Steam's store to massive amounts of indie titles. It was an enormous boon in quantity, but the quality was still there.

The Greenlight system allowed games to be voted on. Once a title reached high enough votes/ratings (1000 votes?), the games were vetted by Valve, then let into the main Steam storefront.

This also brought about the boon of "Early Access" games:

Similar to books, games go through the same stages (Alpha -> Beta -> Official Release).

Pre-2012, games would only be sold when they were done/completed.

Post-2012 though, early access made games pre-purchasable during the Alpha/Beta stages. (Remember: crowdsourcing is a relatively new phenomenon + was also booming.)

In 2017, Steam Direct was conceived.

The previous voting/vetting system of Greenlight was thrown away, and now the entire storefront became a large free-for-all.

This opened the floodgates to the absolute avalanche of dross.

(See similar parallels? )

Note: Xbox (Microsoft) + Playstation (Sony) have much stricter/steeper fees—low initially, but I think it balloons up to ~$5000 with mandatory translation/age-ratings, plus they charge enormous per-patch fees—but even they've been getting similar (although much smaller scale) problems these past few console generations.

* * *

Google Play

We all know about that disaster:

Scumbags and scams, microtransactions and ads through the roof.

Google is constantly scanning/fingerprinting apps, but the absolute scale of this is insane, and too many legitimate developers also get caught in the crosshairs of Google's bots.

(And the absolute worst thing about Google is you can't get in touch with an actual human. If you wrongly get snipped, you usually have to create an enormous hubbub on social media and hope you get enough attention to get your app/account reinstated.)

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Even an upload fee that's paid back, let's say, by royalties so that after XXX period of time, the publisher hasn't paid it. It's a gatekeeping method, [...], but I genuinely don't see a better way.
Downranking/Purging the crap. Upranking the legitimate.

Better fingerprinting.

Keeping an eye out for the latest "tricks" like your latest sideways images... or the ol' Kindle Unlimited "count the entire book as read by jumping to the end TOCs" combined with the "copy and paste multiple books in one", etc.

Anyway, similar to fighting spam/viruses, both sides are constantly on the lookout for the latest scams, and are always updating their methods.

It's a multi-variate problem.

But an upload fee? I don't believe it's as effective as other methods + there are many other factors that could be used. But what do I know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
"Democratizing" publishing so that any Tom Dick or Harriet can publish hasn't really resulting in millions of best-selling novels arriving full-blown and ready to rock, like Pegasus from the head of Medusa, now, has it?
I don't know. The internet is a pretty cool place.

* * *

Anyway, back to KFX-land.

Thanks for all the research, jhowell.

Just last night, I was ranting and raving and bringing a friend up to speed about this.

And I agree with your long-term/bigger-picture assessments of the KFX format (being pushed as DRM + stronger Amazon control over their ebooks).

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 05-02-2021 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 05-02-2021, 07:54 AM   #60
JSWolf
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What surprises me is that publishers that do not have DRM for KF8 eBooks don't make a fuss about the forced DRM on KFX eBooks.
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