Commercial e-book DRM-cracking apps charge for what is freely available on-line
May 14, 2012 | 11:15 am
As I was browsing through Zite last night to find more stories to blog, I came across what was effectively an advertisement (though Zite apparently considered it a blog article; clearly the program needs some fine-tuning) for an EPUB DRM removal tool. I’m not going to link to this advertisement, because I don’t want to provide it with even a smidgin of search-engine-optimization respectability.
Suffice it to say this program, “ePub DRM Romoval,” sells for $29.95 and offers “easy access to DRM-free ePub ebooks for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, NOOK, Sony Reader and more ebook reader with fast conversion speed.” And it very probably does so using source code from extant DRM-removal plugins for the Calibre e-book conversion tool, which are provided on-line completely free. (Though not linking them either, since I could get in trouble for it under the DMCA.)
I can’t say for sure whether this particular app does or not, but I’ve seen reports of other pricey commercial DRM-removal apps that did so. I would be surprised if it didn’t; when the code is out there for free already, it makes more sense to grab the low-hanging fruit than to reinvent the wheel.
I’ve already discussed at length how consumer-unfriendly DRM is, and I don’t feel the need to rehash those arguments here. But as applications such as this one prove, another problem with DRM is that it provides ways for sleazy app repackagers to scam consumers with ripped-off-and-repackaged source code. If you know anyone who might be considering buying one of these, warn them away!
(I have actually mentioned these apps before, but it’s worth bringing up again just to make sure people are warned anew.)