Kindle/Mobi DRM Circumvention

Another program’s out there; this one written in python.  The source is available from pastebin and I’m sure the usual IRC-type places as well.  It’s unlikely that even 1% of Kindle owners know what I’m talking about.

Interestingly, Mobi’d previously given funny messages if you tried to use pdbshred, an older security-stripper for Mobi and Ereader files, on their DRM, so probably they or Amazon’ll refine the encryption/security algorithms to protected Mobi files, as well as the Kindle variant.  But I wouldn’t expect another Dmitry here.

Class 4 of the anti-circumvention exceptions to the DMCA is still in effect, allowing circumvention should an ebook not be accessible for screen readers (the way all Kindle books are), and while Amazon is no doubt contractually required to offer solid DRM to at least some of their publishing partners, given the audience of Kindle, they’re way, way too smart to care. Besides, even the most optimistic bettor would take the over on just how many years it’ll take for the average Kindle user to discover the free Mobipocket library.

Related, somebody should do a thesis or something on just what percentage of Bookshare titles were originally commercial ebooks.   Probably not too many, the Bookshare folks pride themselves on getting new releases into their lawful system of free titles for the visually impaired as quickly as possible, but it’d be an interesting study nonetheless.

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  • Charlcs Wilkes

    Good information. Of course I know about the free out-of-copyright or otherwise in the Public Domain ebooks on, and the many many more on I have downloaded several hundred of them for my Kindle, which has an 8GB SDHC memory card to hold them.

    Personally as a some-times author of ebooks and an always reader of ebooks, I think DRM should be outlawed as an infringement of the public’s right to copyrighted information. This is in process in the European Union Common market, which is much more protective of the public’s rights than ever found in this country, where we have the best government that a lobbiest can buy. And our publishers can afford the best. Just look at the situation with school textbooks, as well as everything else of course.

    Charles Wilkes, San Jose, Calif.

  • dmoynihan

    Yeah, you’re never gonna get rid of DRM here. It’s not so much the authors, but when you’re talking heirs and corporations, etc.–they’ll want it even if they know it doesn’t work and costs them money.

    Saddest part is, the right to circumvent–and it’s proscribed, Larry Lessig told me I couldn’t host the file–but anyway, we have to keep fighting for that right. It’s only a 3-year exemption, so it expires in next year, unless they again protect our right to our content on a technicality.

    Thankfully, the blind/visually impaired are a protected class in this country. But god knows we can’t look to our leaders for support.

  • dmoynihan

    And I should add, I don’t mean to imply that Kindle owners are stupid. They seem to be higher-income people, with perhaps a higher degree of education, and an upper-income person’s interest in reading material.

    Not that there aren’t rich folks picking up scifi or romance. The instapundit’s a huge SF fan, and he’s a millionaire law professor. But, Kindle is a different market that popped up overnight and didn’t migrate from Palm-based reading.

    If you’ve not been around ebooks for a while, Project Gutenberg’s been buried in the press for so long, you wouldn’t know it exists, and that its books can be read, free, on Kindle. (The Mobi library’s just an automated conversion of the texts on Gutenberg’s first DVD, but power to ‘em. Some of our Mobi’s are even nicer.)