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Microsoft Reader Format Cracked 516

Anonymous Coward writes "Pocket PC Addict has a cool story about how some guy named Dan Jackson is distributing an unfortunately named program that will remove the security from Microsoft Reader ebooks. Once the security is removed, it then allows the book to be converted to html, text or any other format."
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Microsoft Reader Format Cracked

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  • Familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djward ( 251728 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:10AM (#4987099)
    Sounds like Skylarov all over again...
    • Re:Familiar (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah... but this software is produced by a foreign national in his own country (UK) so US law couldn't possibly apply... just like Skylarov, ohh!
      • Re: Familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Antity ( 214405 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @08:48AM (#4987463) Homepage

        but this software is produced by a foreign national in his own country (UK)

        I'm not sure about that. Although he claims to have (re)written parts of the code,

        • His page [] is only about this very program AND
        • He writes:
          One of the people I met while MUD'ing suggested that since I live in the UK, I could act as an agent for programmers who wish to remain anonymous but still want to release their software. I thought this would be a good idea and so this website came into existence...

        IMHO this program originated in the US, was exported to the UK, changed, and (re)published.

        P.S.: Of what .ZIP on the web do you want to make a backup copy today? ;-)

      • V. Probably illegal (Score:3, Informative)

        by dackroyd ( 468778 )
        From the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988:

        (2) The person issuing the copies to the public has the same rights against a person who, knowing or having reason to believe that it will be used to make infringing copies--

        (a) makes, imports, sells or lets for hire, offers or exposes for sale or hire, or advertises for sale or hire, any device or means specifically designed or adapted to circumvent the form of copy-protection employed, or

        (b) publishes information intended to enable or assist persons to circumvent that form of copy-protection,

        as a copyright owner has in respect of an infringement of copyright.

        And seeing as the UK has no provision for fair use with regards to space shifting copyrighted material, then this guy could be pretty boned if he's sued.
    • It sure does.

      It seems that this software can be used to copy or extract secured data. Which might or could be a little somewhat illegal. But hey, you can use a computer to crack software... So I guess they should lock me up because I own a computer.

      There is something I do not understand: if a vast majority of the public believes it is OK to copy software or electronic content, how can it be there exist laws to prohibit copying? I mean most of us live in democratic countries, don't we?

      • Re:Familiar (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Mac Degger ( 576336 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @07:16AM (#4987280) Journal
        Ah, but we live in a truly free county, where pot is legal-ish on the grounds that it's not a harmfull substance. Not all governments have that kind of common sence.
        Hell, on grounds of copyright, patent law and the odd belief that we should be able to do what we want with something when we've bought it (unless it happens to kill the neighbour or his cat), I think there's not a country on earth which has laws which enforce what the mayority thinks is right...wlecome to the real world, where justice is only blind to the laws being bought.
      • Re:Familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Huge Pi Removal ( 188591 ) <> on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @07:29AM (#4987316) Homepage
        There is something I do not understand: if a vast majority of the public believes it is OK to copy software or electronic content, how can it be there exist laws to prohibit copying? I mean most of us live in democratic countries, don't we?

        If absolutely every law was put to referendum, we'd essentially have mob rule. What "the majority" want and what's actually *good* for us/the country are not always the same thing. If it were, all you'd have to do in the UK is point at someone, shout "paedophile," and it would be legal to string them up from the nearest lamppost.

        The problem with the DMCA, etc, etc, is that it tries to solve a problem by brute force. A bit like trying to bomb other countries to get them to do what you want *ahem* :) In the UK, drink-driving laws were doing very little until, over several years of solid campaigning, drink-driving was made totally socially unacceptable, and the problem is now under control. Similarly, the problem with, say, CD copy-protection is that because the RIAA and the record industry as a whole are seen as being rich and nasty, people don't care about copying CDs to give to their friends or share over the internet. Hence, copy-protection is introduced, along with laws to stop you circumventing it, which stops *any* fair use at all.

        The problem is not that the majority want it but it's not happening. The problem is that there's nothing in place in corporate America (or most anywhere else) that makes people have a social conscience over screwing the companies (and hence, indirectly, those who depend on the companies' profits) around. Now there's a whole other debate about how we can change that, which I'm not going to get into here because I think 10 other people are going to do it further down...
        • Re:Familiar (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Sciamachy ( 198192 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <yhcamaics>> on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @09:15AM (#4987537) Homepage
          Democracy comes from two Greek root words, Demos, the people, and kratein, to rule or be strong. The idea is, the majority decide what goes. Is this actually any different from "mob rule"? Or is "mob rule" an idea put about by those in power who have a vested interest in seeing that the people do not in fact rule?

          The Athenian democratic system allowed all citizens to vote on all laws - granted, their cities were smaller then & their definition of a citizen was basically a free, able-bodied male who would fight for the city if it was attacked, but these days we have the technology to enable the much larger numbers of citizens in our cities to all vote. Remember also that the ability to vote doesn't neccessarily mean the voter will vote either - they'll tend to vote only on matters that concern them directly, much as US Senators and UK MPs do now, but at least then we'd have proper democracy - rule of the people by the people, instead of rule/(mis)representation of the people by a privileged minority.
          • Re:Familiar (Score:5, Funny)

            by phutureboy ( 70690 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @09:46AM (#4987610)
            Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to have for lunch.
          • Re:Familiar (Score:3, Insightful)

            What the greeks had can hardly be compared to what we have, our situation is very different to theirs.

            They didn't have tabloid media getting people in to a frenzy over, for example, paedophiles, where it even goes so far that people go and attack a paediatrician. This could happen with (almost) anything the red-tops decide to sink their teeth in to.

            It is true that what people want doesn't always equal what's good for the nation as a whole (and in the long-term individual citizens as well). If people were able to vote in anything they wanted, we'd have zero taxes and free money, but it wouldn't really work well for very long, or I at least wouldn't want to try.

            It is also true that the current system is not functioning as it should, it is still functioning and does a pretty good job of it and it's pretty much the best we have.
          • by jstockdale ( 258118 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @11:37AM (#4988222) Homepage Journal
            Actually that isn't quite true. Under the Athenian system of government, a lottery was drawn every few years where approximately 5000 of the citizens of Athens were selected to be the governing body. This governing body met regularly (and its members were paid to attend) so that they could pass legislation by popular consent. Although this true democracy does depend on the desire of the majority, its structure of representative governance holds a key difference. Such a system is, however, not what we think of as democracy today, as it is too much a pure implementation.

            Additionally, the definitian of an Athenian citizen was not as altruistic as merly being loyal and able to fight for Athens, rather, to be a citizen elegible to take part in the governance of the city-state, one must have both of their parents be Athenian citizens.

            The more accurate consideration when examining democracy of today would be to look to Rousseau or Locke, both philosophers of the 17th century. Under Rousseau's model, upon which much of the US system today was based, the body politic is ruled by the desire of the collective body not for individual gain but rather the good of the people as a whole. This is substantially different from mob rule in which each individual acts rashly for their own benifit.
          • Re:Familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jafac ( 1449 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @04:15PM (#4990278) Homepage
            Yes, I think it's time to put this "democracy" monster to bed.

            If there were TRUE Democracy, things would be very different.
            For instance: Look what "the people" have chosen in the past several years in the commercial marketplace. These are the kinds of decisions "the rabble" would choose - apply the same thinking to politics, and it yeilds a hideously frightening prospect:

            Microsoft Windows, 95% Marketshare.
            Titanic - Best movie of all time.
            Backstreet Boyz - #1 musical group of the 20th century.
            Harry Potter - #1 work of literature of the 20th(21st?) century.
            Coke or Pepsi - your choice.
            Ford Escort - #1 selling car in America.
            GWBush - 88% Approval rating, Oct 2001.

            I came to accept this fact long ago. People are frickin idiots. True Democracy would be a very scary world.
      • Re:Familiar (Score:2, Informative)

        by Sparr0 ( 451780 )
        live in a democracy? not me, I live in a republic (USA)
      • Re:Familiar (Score:4, Insightful)

        by perfects ( 598301 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @09:30AM (#4987578)
        There is something I do not understand: if a vast majority
        of the public believes it is OK to copy software or electronic
        content, how can it be there exist laws to prohibit copying?
        I mean most of us live in democratic countries, don't we?

        The vast majority of the public would like to see taxes abolished as well, but the tax laws are not likely to be repealed any time soon.

        In a way, democracy (as it is currently implemented) simply gives us the right to elect people to act in our collective best interest. We hire them to research topics, develop informed opinions (well beyond the depths that most of us are willing to plumb), and write laws to point society in the right direction.

        You and many others may disagree, but it is believed by nearly all governments that copyright laws are important society overall, and to the economy. They are no more likely to disappear than taxes. Or speed limits.

        You may not like them, but they are good for us in the long run.

        P.S. I also disagree with your original premise, that "a vast majority of the public believes it is OK to copy software or electronic content". Well over half of the public doesn't even understand the question and its full implications. Half of those that do, don't care one way or the other.

        I'll agree that a majority of those under 25 probably feel that way, because of Napster and its descendents. But in the 60's that group wanted to abolish war. And when they grew up they realized that You Don't Always Get What You Want. But if you try sometimes...

        • Re:Familiar (Score:3, Informative)

          by colmore ( 56499 )
          America isn't a democracy. It's a republic (In the Locke/Rousseau sense, not the Rome/Machiaveli sense) organized around democratic principles. Elected and appointed (Senators were appointed by State governments until the Progressive Era in the early 20th century; the Supreme Court isn't elected; insert your own election-2000 joke here) representatives act in the interest of, but not necessarily according to the will of, the people. Or at least that's how it's supposed to go.
    • Re:Familiar (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stephanruby ( 542433 )
      Hopefully this guy didn't have any plans to travel to the US.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:11AM (#4987102)
    Wow, this might double the number of ebook readers from 1 to 2.
  • uhm... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    has this guy been watching any of the news lately. People are being sued and going to prison for this stuff. Release the software, just don't make it known that you wrote it.
  • The Name (Score:5, Funny)

    by richie2000 ( 159732 ) <> on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:12AM (#4987108) Homepage Journal
    I guess it won't be long before free software activists and feminists around the world will join in the battle cry: Free clit!

    Seriously, Microsoft will go after him, just like Adobe tried with Dmitri.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:14AM (#4987112)
    Heheheh... You have to admit... the names they came up for their programs have a much more memorable, ummm.... ring to them than, say, DeCSS.

    (Insert joke about "rolling off the tongue" here)
  • The DMCS takedown (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lonath ( 249354 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:15AM (#4987116)
    Betting pool. I predict that the DMCA takedown notice will occur 34 hours from the first posting of this story on ./
  • Copying e-books (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:17AM (#4987125) Homepage
    e-Books are one of the last remnants of the Internet hype. People already discovered that you can easily copy the contents of the e-book displayer window. There was a story on /. about a company or a person that wrote a program to automagically copy a whole e-book that way. I can imagine that MS will sue this guy but that will only be one more example of the stupidity of the DMCA.
    • In theory, yes. I tried it on a .lit copy of the Necronomicon I had gotten (got the deadtree version too, but I didn't want to lug it along), but it effectively crashed trying to copy/paste 1200 pages to notepad to transfer to my IIIc.
  • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:26AM (#4987150) Homepage Journal
    ... because I just finished on a program I've been making. Transform Watermark, or "Twat.exe", will allow you to unencode watermarked e-books in addition to this!
  • by itsnotme ( 20905 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:27AM (#4987152) Homepage
    You can download the code from his homepage here: []

    And obviously his homepage is: []
  • by troll ( 593289 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:27AM (#4987154) Journal
    I doubt this site will make it till morning, so just incase..

    Microsoft Reader format CRACKED!
    Date: Monday, December 30 @ 22:19:50 EST
    Topic: Breaking News!

    Frustrated by the tight security and lack of interoperability of Microsoft Reader eBooks, a programmer named Dan Jackson obtained the source code for a command-line program called Convert Lit and made it available to the public. Convert Lit or "Clit.exe" is a command line utility that can downgrade the DRM5 security to DRM1. From there, the formerly encrypted Lit book can be converted to HTML, text, or any other format.

    In a blatently open move, Mr. Jackson announced via his website a willingness to improve upon the original code of his program (that is reportedly less than 1 month old), in addition to providing more capabilities to the program itself. "I wish to provide an all-in-one solution for the recovery of data in the MS Reader .lit file format. If there is interest, I am also open to creating a .dll to make it possible for others to implement a LIT conversion utility from their ebook applications."

    Other Internet hackers have already captured this code and provided a Windows 9x front-end that illiminates the need to know and understand command-line functions. This addition is called cuntlits.exe and contains nude buttons and offensive language.

    Pocket PC Addict obtained independent verification that these utilities do in fact remove the encryption and security from Microsoft Reader books.

    It remains to be seen what kind of impact an already hesitant eBook market. By removing the security of the Reader books, formerly encrypted eBooks can be traded and downloaded free of charge on the Internet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:31AM (#4987163)
    There's been a Windows macro [] floating around for a long time that converts lit to text. It basically sends window events to the MS Reader program to scroll through the e-book, and more windows events to dump the text to Wordpad. It's just a few dozen lines long and isn't much of a jump in sophistication over taking screen shots. Face it Microsoft, as long as the book content is displayed on the screen where people can see it, there's no way to stop it from getting captured.
    • It gives another way to read lit files.
    • isn't that where microsoft moves from the secure-audio-channel system to a secure-video-channel, with the hope you won't be able to extract the video back out of the video card itself ... and instead have to take a video camera to the screen, the way you'd take a tape recorder to your audio-out?
      yes, it's always accessible. but they'll hope to make it hard to copy -- for example, don't use functions that allow copy-pasting (just draw to a canvas, such that you have to do the screenshot thing) then modify the text so ocr software can't make it out (antialias a bit, change the colors randomly ... do what some sites are doing now to prevent scripts from creating accounts -- put broken text on even more broken backgrounds with filters applied so only the human eye can really tell what's there ...) this would at least prevent plain-text/html renderings of the original text, and force you to distribute images ... which won't work any better with text-to-speech or other plugin/filter/layers you might want between you and your book.
      it's actually much easier for them to render text readable to the human eye but not to software than for them to make music that can be even remotely enjoyed whilst not being recordable ...
      • Personally, I won't be bothering with eBooks until I have a 300DPI+ A4-sized display*, but anyway:

        Of course "readable to the human eye" is not the same as "pleasantly readable to the human eye" - you could just buy a print book if the ebook becomes too annoyingly full of wobbly characters.

        And also, researchers, spurred on by the challenge of descrambling those obfuscated text things, are already having some success. See
        "Breaking gimpy: Researchers crack Security System Designed to prevent internet Robots"

        * LCD Manufacturers: I want a high DPI screen, not a physically huge one. Why the hell can't I get a 15" 1600x1200 DESKTOP LCD Monitor???
        • * LCD Manufacturers: I want a high DPI screen, not a physically huge one. Why the hell can't I get a 15" 1600x1200 DESKTOP LCD Monitor???

          Isn't that the damned truth! I've had a Dell Inspiron for 3 years now that has 1600x1200 LCD screen that looks awesome! Why can't I get one on my desktop. 1280x1024 just doesn't cut it for an OS (*cough*Linux*cough*) with decent graphics in the desktop :) Only XP looks good at low resolutions :)

          Burn karma Burn!

    • That one supposedly only works with unprotected lit. I'm not 100% sure since I don't have a protected lit to test with.

    • And that's where Microsoft's Palladium will fit in.
      If they can encrypt and authenticate the entire path from bootup to what appears on your screen, this will be much less common.
  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:34AM (#4987168) Homepage
    Microsoft has promptedly responded to this breach of DRM5 security. That have released their new DRM6 format which contains the DRM5 file with the addition of a "Broadcast Flag" bit. When this bit is set to 1 the DRM5 security may not be copied or extracted. When the bit is set to zero you may freely copy or extract the DRM5 data.

  • source code? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ashish Kulkarni ( 454988 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:36AM (#4987173) Homepage
    I doubt that the source code has been made available to "Dan Jackson". Relveant quote from the post original program's author made on the newsgroup:

    Please note that right now this is VERY alpha. It's the first release. It also is available only as a binary, for Windows console. I wrote a GUI in ASM, but porting it to WINAPI is a pain in the arse... I won't bang on about it, but it's pathetic that it's easier to code in ASM than C on the Windows platform. The original was written under *NIX --- but I'm not willing to distribute the source just yet, for a variety of reasons.

    There WILL be a polished GUI, as well as a source release in the future. I am unable to post here anonymously (and hence using a public library system and some vulnerable machines for this post) so, updates will probably NOT be announced here, unless someone is willing to play proxy for me.

  • Very Mature (Score:5, Interesting)

    by z_gringo ( 452163 ) <z_gringo@hotmai l . com> on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:42AM (#4987191)
    from the article:

    Other Internet hackers have already captured this code and provided a Windows 9x front-end that illiminates the need to know and understand command-line functions. This addition is called cuntlits.exe and contains nude buttons and offensive language.

    I have no problem with nudity or offensive language, but all in proper context. The above paragraph just makes the whole thing sound like a stupid joke.

    • Re:Very Mature (Score:3, Interesting)

      by more ( 452266 )
      Perhaps it is their way in protecting themselves against legal action from Microsoft. How can Microsoft publicly attack something called clit or cuntlits? That would hit the news and would be remembered for a long time.
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @09:57AM (#4987659)
      exactly what eBook protection is, a stupid joke?

      I don't mean technically either, I mean in basic concept.

      I don't know about you, but I'm simply not going to participate. If I feel the need of an eBook I'll go to Project Gutenberg. I havn't yet read all of Dumas or Dickens, the worst of which is better than any of the crap being shilled by Oprah. Twain, O Henry, GBS, Thoreau, Kipling, Swift, Sir Richard Burton, Melville, Hume, London, Conrad. . . Jesus, the list goes on for miles, all free for the taking, distributing, printing, even selling if you want.

      I think it's somewhat ironic that one of the best uses of public domain eTexts is the ease with which specialty and art binders may now get source material.

      So be radical. Screw MS and Adobe. Download the entire PG opus and freely *pass it on to your friends.* Print the son of a bitch and hand it out on the street corners.

      Otherwise, if these people have their way, we'll have to start memorizing them and whispering them to our children quietly, in the dark, waiting for the "story police" to come and bust us.

    • and contains nude buttons

      Regardless how hard I'm trying, I can't figure out how a "nude button" would look like? Hmm... A button with no text inside? A button without a frame?
  • Bold Moves (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheoDiggers ( 607468 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:44AM (#4987197)
    I'm willing to give this guy some credit. He is willing to put his ass on the line to prove a point, THE point that we all (ehem) discuss and care about so passionately. In some form or another, the open source movement and perhaps the internet as a conglomerate whole is kind of like functional socialism. Its pretty slick. People working towards an ideal. In this case, its something like (my take ;) ): "You cannot force YOUR private agenda (and order) on OUR chaotic system. It is folly and will always fail." M$ gets so much flack for this because this is precisely what they do: force people to do it their way and only their way. I don't know why the feel that their survival is dependant on this, perhaps if they were competitive in their markets, they would meet with less opposition and more success (support). But, until that shift in their business model happens, they will be the target of mockery after mockery as the real collective genuis refuses to be oppressed.


    -10 for complete bullshit ;)
  • I mean.....does anyone actually *read* eBooks? Where on earth do you buy them in the first place?


    • The arguement can be made that due to the extensive DRM incorporated and incompatible file formats among readers that eBooks are just not as convenient as a regular book.

      One thing can be said for sure. Consumers did not see enough value in eBooks to purchase them.

      Not a surprise really, given the circumstances.
  • by spiro_killglance ( 121572 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @06:51AM (#4987211) Homepage
    and one important one is for search engines to
    be able to index ebook files.

  • He is soliciting suggestions for changes, but isn't giving out the source :-(

    I know the change I would like is to make it run on non-Windows operating systems.

  • It's a disconnect between legal protection and practical protection. Illegal or unauthorized distribution has always been possible, whether through transcription, photography, photocopy, whatever. But in the end, those aren't very practical or threatening.

    The sheer fluidity of the digital world makes almost anything practical. For instance, even if a security mechanism could be created by which a program or macro could not copy (either text or graphics) the contents of an ebook reader while scrolling through (erect a kind of region protection all the way through to the video card), it's not going to stop anyone.

    What about a cam pointed at the monitor? Either from the same computer or another one? Or just videotape separately as the ebook scrolls by, then have some ocr software decode it.

    I'm just having a hard time figuring out how ebooks will ever enjoy the same "practical" protection that wood books do.

  • So THIS is what he [] has been doing since he "ascended to a higher spiritual plane"...

    It does kinda make sense too, being able to translate all those languages so easily, I guess MS Reader isn't that much harder than Egyptian?

    (alright, alright... Not funny, I know)
  • It is a good thing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lfourrier ( 209630 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @07:28AM (#4987313)
    Microsoft Reader is so badly designed* that having the ability to compose a solution out of small efficient programs (the unix way) permit the user to manage a library, format text, and read it in the most convenient way.
    Of course, it doesn't help publishers to place restrictions on content, but we are speaking about reading ebooks, not preserving monopolies.

    * installing MR on a computer with a 1024x480 display ends with one page of text about 300 pixels wide: completly unusable.
  • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @07:30AM (#4987319)
    Companies have been known to release cracks of their own products to foster widespread adoption. The CEO of Macromedia almost admitted doing as much in an interview.

    Somehow, I doubt that Microsoft would have done such a thing, but you've got to admit, it's a sound business strategy. It gives a company all the benefits of having an open format, without making the commitment of an open format.

  • by krygny ( 473134 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @08:06AM (#4987378)

    A library that detects anything Microsoft doesn't like:



    "How perfectly Goddam delightful it all is, to be sure." - Robert Crumb

  • US (Score:2, Redundant)

    by den_erpel ( 140080 )
    I just hope this guy is not living in the US :(
  • by sarcast ( 515179 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @08:12AM (#4987384)
    MS doesn't seem to have the best QA department when it comes to names. I remember for that the longest time, what is now called "Automatic Updates" used to be called the critical update notification tool. I'll leave it to the reader to figure out the acronym.
  • by Corrado ( 64013 ) <rnhurt&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @08:43AM (#4987450) Homepage Journal
    According to this Usenet post [] it's available on freenet with a key of I knew freenet would come in handy someday. :)
  • Greed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theolein ( 316044 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @09:05AM (#4987507) Journal
    This simply points out the reason ebooks have, for the most part, failed miserably: Greed. The whole Software maker paranoia about controlling everything you do on a computer will always backfire in their faces. Not being able to do what you want, how you want with items that you spent your hard earned money on will always piss consumers off.
  • by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@g ... minus city> on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @09:14AM (#4987532) Homepage Journal
    Any form of media that goes via light or sound is impossible to protect. All you can do is play cat and mouse but in the end that is to expensive, both to the companes and the customers purchasing the products. I think most companies know this but they havent figured out how to stop widespread pirating.

    One good start would be to NOT alienate customers and make it feel better to pay for the goods. That ofcourse means reasonable prices and good customer relationsships. Social protection is the only thing that helps fighting pirates in the long run.

    Start working on getting better PR and treat people nicer. Work with tha customers in getting better products instead of fighting them all tooth and nail. Make it shameful to fool those nice media companies. Then pirates will exist but at a much much lower scale.
  • NOT SO FAST! (Score:3, Informative)

    by mcgroarty ( 633843 ) <brian,mcgroarty&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @09:44AM (#4987601) Homepage
    Two very important things to consider about this program:

    1) This program will only remove the protection when run from a machine that has license to convert the book. Somebody's got to buy the book first.

    2) While the program removes the protection so that others can open it, it does not remove the purchaser information. If you share an unprotected file, you're pointing a finger at the purchaser.

    I'm not sure how to feel about the program. Part of me would love to grab and sample more books. I buy a lot of ebooks and I've been burned on a good many which turned out to be pure and utter crap. Being able to sample would probably up my buying just like downloadable MP3s have. But, on the flip side, I don't know that everyone operates the same way.

    • The program format-shifts .LIT files by UNPACKING them to a series of nicely formatted HTML files, complete with TOC and any images as JPGs. If you look at the .LIT with a hex viewer, you can see that the underlying structure is just compressed HTML -- there is even a readable listing of the original files used to make the .LIT file.

      Does CLIT need to break any encryption to do this unpacking? I don't know about that -- anyone with technical info care to step in?

      Point being -- the end result is just format shifting from .LIT to HMTL (everything in the .LIT is preserved, including all attributions). The real question should be, to what degree is this covered by "fair use"?? How does this differ from a format-shifted copy for personal use, frex from CD to audio cassette??

  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @10:49AM (#4987942) Journal
    Microsoft, realizing that even the graphic display of e-books can be hacked and copied has released G-SPOT: the "Graphical System [for] Protection Of Text".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @11:23AM (#4988135)
    It is pointless to put lock in software for books anyway if the books are being released to the public. Books are just text (and maybe some pictures) and are easy to replicate. Ie, if I can read it I might as well type it in manually. It wouldnt cost much to do this in the third world. If it takes a week of work, it still would cost less than 5 dollars , for a few dollars more you could do spell checking and formatting too.

    Contrast this with music where it is next to impossible to replicate the work

    If you remember the whole thing abt US-europe copyright rules which happened in early 1900s where european books had no protection in the US and vice-versa, it might be actually possible to do this alsmost legally. Just send a mail to somebody in say Tanzania (Just rendomly picked a country in Africa, nothing else) with the relevant document and send him a check. he converts it and sends it to you. He proly breaks the rules, but figures US govt wont put effort in extraditing an ordinary citizen.
  • by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @04:16PM (#4990287)
    Just practicing...
  • Source code is out (Score:3, Informative)

    by Danj2k ( 123765 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @07:01PM (#4991192)
    Okay, I've been getting lots of emails telling me the source and binary links on the site are 404, I know this, we were having some last minute trouble with the binary. Since so many people have asked for the source code, we've put it up anyway, but please be aware that you may have trouble compiling it under Windows. In case anybody forgot the site URL, it is []. Have at it.
  • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Tuesday December 31, 2002 @07:29PM (#4991342)
    Now thousands of geeks can finally say they've come in contact with a clit. Ya gotta figure it's about as close as most will ever get....

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle