Lawquake! Judge rules that explaining jailbreaking isn't illegal


Worth noting that the EFF writeup kind of elided over part of the ruling in which Cote did not dismiss Simon & Schuster’s charge of contract violation against Abbey House. Telling people how to break DRM might not be a copyright violation, but it still violated their contract with the publisher.

As I noted in my writeup for TeleRead, I’m not sure whether this is really the step forward that it appears. After all, the DMCA does still outlaw circumventing DRM, or “trafficking in” anticircumvention, and it’s not clear how that is affected by this ruling. As far as I could tell from the opinion, the question of the DMCA simply never came up. I wonder why that is?

I logged in in the hopes that perhaps the article could be made a little more accurate. Calibre by itself does not remove DRM. There is a plugin for Calibre that removes DRM. I would hate for the Calibre developer to get heat from the publishing industry for something his software DOES NOT do.

Well, they wouldn’t want it to come up. All of the dodgy things that purveyors of DRM do could possibly be overturned or made weaker by court challenges. So they tend to avoid and/or settle when those things come up.

Sorry - don’t mean to spam things - even the boing boing platform warned me about that - I’ll try and make sure not to do it again.

Anyway, I went and read the EFF page and I’m curious about something. The judge seemed to be saying it was OK because this company did not remove the DRM. It just told people - “hey if you use Google you can see how to remove it.” Having been bitten by this with Microsoft’s eReader and a bunch of books I bought and can no longer open, I think this publisher made the right moral/ethical move. HOWEVER, it seems if they’d removed it, they’d have gotten into trouble. Valve has always promised that if Steam goes under, they’d un-DRM all the games people bought on there. But, I think they couldn’t?

I didn’t really think it was worth quibbling over semantics. Even if a plugin does the actual work, it’s still Calibre that uses the plugin to do it. I’ll wager if you google “remove DRM with Calibre” you’ll find clear instructions on how to do it in the first result. And you can’t use the plugin without Calibre. So if they said enough that people were able to figure out what they meant and do it, why complain they got it wrong?

Anyway, it’s common usage to say that you’re going to do something with the overall program, rather than with a plugin. If I’m going to watch a movie on my computer, I’ll say “I’m going to watch [movie] in VLC.” I don’t say “I’m going to watch [movie] with the DIVX codec,” though it is, in fact, the codec plugin that does the actual work of translating the movie so VLC knows how to show it. I’ve seen plenty of people talk about “removing DRM with Calibre” and I always knew exactly what they meant.

Actually, in this case, the plugin is a bunch of Python scripts that CAN run on their own. It’s just easier to do it in Calibre. Especially if you’re already using it to manager your ebook collection.

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