Feeds

Hackers take on MS on copyright protection for eBooks

Legally fraught

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

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

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
Was ist das? Eine neue Suse Linux Enterprise? Ausgezeichnet!
Version 12 first major-number Suse release since 2009
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.