Beatrice Otter beatrice_otter at zoho.com
Thu May 13 17:27:03 BST 2021

---- On Thu, 13 May 2021 06:15:10 -0700 Harvey Fishman <fishman at panix.com> wrote ----

As a practical matter, why should I worry about DRM? I read on 1.5 
devices (my Kindle and VERY occasionally on the PC). I do not lend or 
give away books. My Kindle has plenty of storage (32 GB.) so I am not 
too worried about running out of room, and in any case there is the PC 
for backup with terabytes  of storage space. I do not see any advantages 
to me for removing DRM other than as an intellectual exercise that 
frankly I am just too damned lazy to engage in. Comments, please. 

Beatrice Otter:

Amazon can delete DRM-ed documents at will. They rarely do, but they *have,* and each time they say "oh, but we had a really good reason and we'll never do it again!" Besides stuff where there was a copyright infringement, there was also a case where they decided that a particular work of pornography was too weird for them. And then the case of the guy who moved to Canada, and found that once he had updated his address, a good share of his library disappeared (because they were not licensed to be sold in Canada, so the fact that he had bought them while living in the US was irrelevant).

Also, it seems unlikely with Amazon, but even MAJOR ebook retailers occasionally go under or stop selling ebooks. When that happens, cracking the DRM can be harder ... and if you don't crack it and the files become corrupted, the book is useless because you can't go to the retailer and download a working copy. (This is the one that's happened to me personally--thankfully, I had already cracked the DRM, or I would have lost that book.)

And the thing is, removing the DRM is very simple, and 9/10 of the time requires no more effort from me than I would have been expending *anyway*. I would be using Calibre no matter what; I have books from many different retailers going back two decades. Calibre is the only easy way to have them all in one library so I don't have to go "now, where did I purchase that from again?" Also, Calibre has a nice tagging system, so if I want to look for things by subject, I can. So I would be using Calibre anyway. And once you have the Apprentice Alf plugins installed (which only takes a minute or two to find them on Apprentice Alf's blog, download them, and install them, Calibre will crack the DRM of any book you add to it automatically, without you having to do anything. I import the book to Calibre *and that's it*. Done!

Now, occasionally, it will require more effort than that; every so often the encryption changes and the existing De-DRM tools don't work, in which case I go to Apprentice Alf's blog, download the newest version of the plugin, add it to calibre, and try again. Not more than a minute or two of effort. (Sometimes they haven't quite cracked the newest encryption, yet, and I have to wait a few weeks, but it's not like that's a major problem. I can still read the book in its DRM state while I wait.

There was a period where you had to have an older version of kindle-for-PC for it to work, but Apprentice Alf laid out the steps clearly, and I actually already had the installer for the older version, it was simple and quick to uninstall kindle, reinstall the old version, and set it to not update.

For me, it's partly contrarianness (who are they to tell me what I can and cannot do with books I have legally purchased, as long as I'm not pirating them?!?!?), partly I don't trust Amazon or Apple or Google or any of the other large internet corporations and believe in firm backups I control, and partly that it's simple and easy and minimally inconvenient. YMMV.

Beatrice Otter

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