Sunday, December 11, 2011

DRM makes criminals of us all.

I recently found myself in a position where the only practical solution for me to enjoy ebooks I had legitimately purchased (would have been) to engage in the highly illegal pursuit of using a drm removal too. The cause was a clash of software upgrades and activation limits with a healthy dose of misunderstanding from me thrown in.

I am not a lawyer and the law on drm circumvention is pretty confusing at the moment. There is an EU treaty from 2001 which appears to makes it highly illegal to even think about anti drm but it hasn't been transcribed into my own countries national law yet and I believe there is still some discussion over possible exceptions (ie fair use provisions). 

Well I am not going to admit to breaking the law but I will say that Google informed me that there was a very easy to use open source, community supported tool available to perform drm removal  (if I felt so inclined). I quickly realised that this tool (if I were to use it) would make the whole process of managing and reading ebooks a lot more robust and future proof as well as making it more enjoyable by allowing me freedom to choose whatever reader I liked best.

A curious thought struck me as I was thinking about this drm removal tool.  A genuine criminal I wouldn't need this apparently highly illegal piece of software. A criminal would just download a pirated version without drm. The only people who need to use drm removal are those who have already acquired (presumably legally) a piece of drm protected content.


Stabs said...

IP law is a minefield. Best is just to do what you have to do and don't get caught.

As a librarian I was vaguely aware that anyone using the photocopier was probably breaking the law. There's a guideline from the Publishers Association that you may copy up to 5%. However that's not in any way supported in law and there have been cases when more has been copied but fair use has been accepted and cases where less has been copied but fair use was not accepted.

Just be very careful if you download and use DRM cracks. I'd suggest at least using a proxy.

mbp said...

Hi Stabs, I didn't know you were a librarian. I guess that puts you straight in the firing line for copyright and similar issues.

Azuriel said...

While Steam has made me a reformed PC gamer, the original tipping point for me was when I bought C&C3 and it would not run out of the box. To fix whatever the issue was, I had to download a No-CD crack to play the game I bought for real dollars. A similar event occurred with my Day 1 purchase of Fallout: NV on Steam, wherein I had to install a fan-based mod to fix the graphical issues that made it unplayable (until Bethesda patched it two weeks later).

As far as the criminality of it all, I think the whole scheme is asinine. Is it against the law for my friend to come over and play my game? What if I uninstall the game and give him the CD? What if I sell it on eBay? And so on.