The Fair Use Ebook Crack
Stupid me, I bought the ebooks I needed for a recent project through Apple’s iBookstore. That meant I couldn’t legally crack the DRM on them to copy passages as part of a fair use scenario.
Let me be clear, it isn’t the legal part of that previous sentence that is the issue. In this case, I believe it would be quite legal to crack the DRM on an ebook. If you read the law, the DMCA clearly makes it illegal to bypass DRM for the purpose of circumventing access controls. Bypassing for the purpose of circumventing copying controls, however, is legal because of fair use scenarios like the one in which I found myself this week.
And so here was my chance to stand up for my legal right to tear down that DRM.
I was all set to fire up Calibre, an open source ebook library, and then download a set of plugins that help bypass copy controls that were previously featured on Wired’s Gadget Lab.
In theory at least. I am not a lawyer, and this may be way out of line.
So there I was, ready to unlock my books and copy passages for my fair use, instructional purpose. And then I remembered. Stupid me, I bought the books from Apple’s iBookstore and they updated their security again. Curses, foiled again.
I’ll get you next time, DRM. Next time. . . .