Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What if you threw a "break-the-Kindle-DRM" party...

...and nobody came? As noted in this post on the GalleyCat blog, a well-known pirate is apparently looking to crack the Kindle's DRM and Napsterize the platform.

The GalleyCat post goes on to quote another Kindle blogger who says that "I really think we are going to see the napster of books - sooner or later." This has already happened with sites like Scribd, for example. What we haven't seen yet though is a bunch of hacked Kindle editions floating around on these sites. I tend to agree with that same Kindle blogger who said that the lower Kindle edition prices (vs. print prices) makes piracy less attractive. IOW, why steal the content when the price is already quite reasonable?

As both a publisher and a Kindle owner I hope this proves to be true. Authors still need to be able to earn an income from their efforts.


RedZeppelin said...

I can understand the fear of making the Kindle format wide open, but they need to loosen up DRM a bit to at least allow sharing a book once or twice. I'm guessing a lot of authors get exposure that way.

Also, with Wal-mart shutting down the servers that handle its mp3 drm recently (and therefore making the music worthless for everyone who purchased it legally from them) it makes you wonder what would happen if Amazon did the same thing someday with Kindle books.

Nicole said...

How would you, or anyone else, know the difference? If someone cracks a Kindle book (which is easy enough -- it's the same process, more or less, as cracking a mobipocket book) and puts it out on usenet or a torrent site as a .txt, unlocked .mobi, .doc or .html file, how is anyone going to know it was a Kindle file in the first place? It's certainly easy enough to edit out all the stuff at the beginning that would make that obvious.

There are thousands, if not millions, of hacked/scanned ebooks out there, and that's the precise reason that publishers *should* publish and offer ebooks. Most of us would far rather pay a reasonable price for a perfectly formatted, easily obtainable book then download illegally. It's unfortunate that holdout authors/publishers have left ebook fans with no other options. It boogles my mind that they don't realize the best solution to "piracy" is making a legal copy available for a fair price.