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Old 11-27-2015, 12:18 PM   #1
jackie_w
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[GUI Plugin] ScrambleEbook: Getting help with copyrighted books

Purpose:
This plugin will read an un-DRM'd ebook file (EPUB/KEPUB/AZW3) and create an external copy with scrambled content.

The aim is to create a book sufficiently obscured to allow a full upload to the MobileRead (MR) forums without breach of copyright. It should make it easier for MR members to request and offer help with problematic ebooks.

The book can be either:
  • in your calibre library
  • on an ereader device whose contents are visible to calibre

N.B: This plugin has been sanctioned by the MR Moderator Team who were instrumental in setting the rules about what must be scrambled and what can remain intact for upload to be permissible. The rules are subject to change if circumstances change.


Background:
No-one likes to see an MR member, especially a brand-new member, being issued with a severe warning from a Moderator because they uploaded a copyrighted book to the forum due to ignorance and desperation for help rather than malicious intent.

In addition, I have seen the frustration which can occur on both sides, when a knowledgeable user tries to talk a novice user through the non-trivial process of creating a short extract of their problematic book which won't fall foul of MR copyright considerations.

Anyone interested can read more in this thread Scrambling copyright ebooks to help troubleshoot problems ??? .


How to install: Preferences - Get plugins to enhance calibre Select Scramble Ebook then press Install

Configuration: None

How to use:
Spoiler:
  1. Select a single non-DRM'd book in calibre. Either from:
    • the Library view
    • the Device view of a USB-attached device
  2. Select ScrambleEbook from whichever calibre toolbar/menu you added it to
  3. Press the Scramble now button. You will see a brief description of what was done in the large box, top-left.
    (See attached image, ScrambleEbook.jpg, below)
  4. When scrambling has finished, press the Preview content button to view Original and Scrambled content side-by-side.
    (See attached image, Preview.jpg, below)
    This step is optional, but advisable, just to double-check that the text is well-and-truly obscured.
  5. Press Save scrambled book & Exit. You will be prompted to choose the directory/folder name where the scrambled copy of the book will be saved.
    Please note that AZW3 books take a little longer to process than EPUBs because of the necessary AZW3 repacking.
  6. Create your MobileRead post explaining what problems you are seeing with the original book and attach the newly-created scrambled ebook file.
  7. Hope for a speedy response from a willing and more-knowledgeable helper

Limitations:
  1. The selected ebook file must have a filetype of one of the following:
    • .epub
    • .azw3
    • .kepub
    • .kepub.epub (USB-attached Kobo only)
  2. There are some languages for which the scrambling algorithm is not effective.
    This currently includes: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, but there will be others.

    The rule-of-thumb about which languages are 'safe' is that if both of the following are true then it's safe:
    • ALL alpha chars of ALL alphabets used in the book have 2 different unicode versions, an uppercase and a lowercase
    • All numeric chars used in the book are standard 0-9
    You are encouraged to use the included 'Preview content' button to double-check that copyrighted content has been properly obscured before posting to MobileRead.

Acknowledgements:
Thanks to RbnJrg, BetterRed and eschwartz for beta-testing and, as always, to kovidgoyal for help with all things calibre-code-related.

How is the book scrambled?
MR default settings are:
Spoiler:
  • Book content:
    - alpha chars - replaced with random choice a-z
    - digits 0-9 - scrambled to another digit
    - UPPER/lower case retained. Paragraphs look "realistic" but meaningless.
  • Hyperlink anchors: Any which do not contain any alpha chars are unchanged
  • TOC ncx: alpha chars replaced with random choice a-z, digits 0-9 unchanged
  • Punctuation, spaces: unchanged
  • Images:
    - .jpg .gif .png (including cover image) : all replaced with dummy image of same dimensions/filetype
    - .svg : all replaced with dummy .svg image
  • Embedded fonts:
    - non-obfuscated fonts removed
    - obfuscated fonts unchanged
  • OPF file: some descriptive metadata text removed (description, calibre-specific items)
  • CSS files: unchanged


Version History:
Spoiler:
  • Version 0.4.1: 23 Oct 2019 - Preview feature working again for books located on a connected device.
  • Version 0.4.0: 4 Oct 2019
    • Updated to work with calibre 4.0
      N.B: If trying to scramble a book physically located on a connected device, rather than in your calibre library, then the Preview feature has been disabled (hopefully temporarily). However, you can still create the scrambled book.
    • Added a command-line option.
  • Version 0.0.5: 19 Jan 2017 - Remove extra calibre-specific metadata from EPUB3 books
  • Version 0.0.4: 27 Nov 2015 - Initial release
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	ScrambleEbook.jpg
Views:	833
Size:	39.3 KB
ID:	144115   Click image for larger version

Name:	Preview.jpg
Views:	878
Size:	232.1 KB
ID:	144116  
Attached Files
File Type: zip ScrambleEbook_v0-4-1.zip (113.2 KB, 4520 views)

Last edited by jackie_w; 10-23-2019 at 10:58 AM. Reason: update v0.4.1 - Restore Preview feature when book is on connected device
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Old 11-27-2015, 12:19 PM   #2
jackie_w
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Reserved in case anything needs more detailed explanation.
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Old 11-27-2015, 03:12 PM   #3
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Excellent work!

I've included this in my quick-fire template for responding to inadvertent copyright-infringing uploaders.
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Old 11-27-2015, 03:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
Excellent work!

I've included this in my quick-fire template for responding to inadvertent copyright-infringing uploaders.
Thank you That should help.
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Old 01-19-2017, 08:35 AM   #5
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update v0.0.5

  • Update v0.0.5 - remove extra calibre-specific metadata from EPUB3 books

The update should show up via the calibre Plugin Updater later today.
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:09 PM   #6
JSWolf
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I have a request.

Would it be possible to allow ScrambleeBook to save the scrambled eBook back to the directory the eBook came from and have Calibre create an Original_ePublike it does with Modify ePub? Thanks.
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
I have a request.

Would it be possible to allow ScrambleeBook to save the scrambled eBook back to the directory the eBook came from and have Calibre create an Original_ePublike it does with Modify ePub? Thanks.
No, I don't think so. I don't want to facilitate storing a scrambled book anywhere near a user's real library in case they end up accidentally destroying their original.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackie_w View Post
No, I don't think so. I don't want to facilitate storing a scrambled book anywhere near a user's real library in case they end up accidentally destroying their original.
Or it could be done like the ePub Merge plugin and make another database entry. That would work as well.

Either way can be done as an option with the option defaulting to off.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:20 AM   #9
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I'll bite. Why do you need a 'file copy' of a book that is unreadable?
AFAIK the only purpose is to allow developers to debug code using one of YOUR books without violating copyright
I don't even think it matters that you sent 2 different scramble runs on the book to others. The tagging should be the same
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Old 10-11-2019, 02:11 PM   #10
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@JSWolf,

This plugin doesn't currently have any config options and I don't see the point of adding config for the purpose you suggest. It's meant to be very easy to use for it's target audience, i.e. those who know very little about ebook internals and need help diagnosing a problem. Why confuse them with an option which, at best, is an accident waiting to happen?

If you really want to store a scrambled book in your calibre library just drag-drop it in there as you would with any other new book.

In a nutshell, I don't consider this request a good use of my free time.
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