Feeds

Hackers take on MS on copyright protection for eBooks

Legally fraught

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Irked at his inability to read Microsoft eBooks on his older Win CE device, UK programmer Dan Jackson has set up a project to improve file conversion tools.

Jackson obtained the source code of a program called Convert Lit (or clit.exe, no sniggering at the back there) from its developers and posted it on his Web site.

He wants to canvass the community about the development of Convert Lit, so far available only as a command line utility which removes DRM5 copyright protection from Microsoft Reader format files.

Jackson's aims, to allow MS reader files to be converted to formats supported by text to speech conversion programs or PDAs not running Redmond's Pocket PC software, have something in common with that of ElcomSoft, the developer of Advanced eBook Reader.

In developing its software, ElcomSoft landed itself with a prosecution under America's controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Elcom was subsequently acquitted, but we feel that Jackson and the developers of Convert Lit are straying into risky legal territory, regardless of their motives (Jackson is clearly states that he wants to develop tools only for those who've obtained legitimately purchased Microsoft-format eBooks.)

Jackson believes what he's doing is legal. "As far as I am aware, it is, as the Berne Convention appears to explicitly allow fair use," he states on his site.

The Berne Convention also explicitly gives moral rights to authors of copyright work, a principle written into UK law, through the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. This gives copyright holders the legal tools in the UK to pursue action against copyright crackers, however benign their intentions.

And new laws will make it even easier for copyright holders. The Copyright Directive expressly prohibits the creation or distribution of tools that bypass copyright protection (for whatever reason). The UK is still consulting over how best to implement the European Commission's Copyright Directive (AKA Europe's DMCA), but legislation will pass through Parliament this year. ®

Related Stories

Greece, Denmark (and no-one else) make EC copyright deadline
UK's DMCA: there ain't no sanity clause
So sorry Adobe urges more DMCA busts
Elcomsoft not guilty - DoJ retreats from Moscow
MS eBook cracker keeps findings secret

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.