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Re: "How to Crack Open an E-Book", Wired article by MJ Rose

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  • Brian
    Listen folks, if the information is true, Gemstar will develop a new device and the current devices and formats will be obsolete. Have you seen where the
    Message 1 of 16 , May 1, 2001
      Listen folks, if the information is true, Gemstar will develop a new
      device and the current devices and formats will be obsolete. Have
      you seen where the Rocket-Library has been taken off-line. That is
      because someone has posted COPYWRITED MATERIALS. Now with this
      information, I seriously doubt that Gemstar will ever bring Rocket-
      Library back online due to the "hackers" lazy, I want everything for
      free and not have to work for it (welfare recipient), attitude.

      Lets understand that if you made your living from writing or singing
      etc. you want to be compensated for your creativity and talents. With
      any investments, when you die your children inherit the investments.
      The same should hold true with your creative talents. Your
      investment is your creative ability and no one has the right to steal
      your talents from you. Lets also remember that the United States is
      country based on laws and not what is fair. This person has already
      broken the law by posting information regarding a proprietary
      device. Second, he/she is promoting a way to break copywrite laws if
      he/she's demands are not met. Guess what, if that information is
      posted then they will be traced and arrested. Gemstar has a history
      of suing on a heartbeat and they will do it again. It's not worth
      killing a promising industry.

      If this whole "capabilitiy to download your own materials" is such a
      big deal...Then someone needs to start a company and compete directly
      with Gemstar. They are not going to change their business model.
      Gemstar only owns the rights to the encryption. Develop your own
      compete head to head with Gemstar, that is Capitalism at its best.

      I will tell you from experience that people like this hacker are
      going to ruin the eBook industry. People like you who keep this
      information are going to ruin the eBook industry.

      Take the devices for what they are worth, a proprietary read only
      device. Don't attempt to make any changes to your device, because
      Gemstar will change the devices and formats if this gets out of
      control you will have a useless device.


      --- In ebook-community@y..., Mary E Tyler <dejah@s...> wrote:
      > >"But sometime in the past two weeks post No. 6933 was
      > >deleted from the files of the listserve at
      > >Yahoogroups.com. The manager of the list has declined
      > >comment."
      > >
      > >Um hm. I wonder how many folks (besides myself)
      > >archive the whole of TeBC?
      >
      > I do.
      >
      > dej
      > --
      > --------------------------------------------------------------------
      ----------
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      http://www.dejahsprivateice.com/PIshop/OTE_order.php3
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      > between love and lust, despair and determination, a golden boy and
      a
      > troubled man, Elayne is On the Edge.
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    • William Thomas Quick
      ... Brian, if this is directed at me, you should note that I, as a much published writer in the print world (30 some books) and one who is also bringing out
      Message 2 of 16 , May 1, 2001
        > From: Brian [mailto:bmv74137@...]

        > I will tell you from experience that people
        > like this hacker are
        > going to ruin the eBook industry. People
        > like you who keep this
        > information are going to ruin the eBook industry.

        > --- In ebook-community@y..., Mary E Tyler
        > <dejah@s...> wrote:
        > > >"But sometime in the past two weeks post
        > No. 6933 was
        > > >deleted from the files of the listserve at
        > > >Yahoogroups.com. The manager of the list
        > has declined
        > > >comment."
        > > >
        > > >Um hm. I wonder how many folks (besides myself)
        > > >archive the whole of TeBC?

        Brian, if this is directed at me, you should note that
        I, as a much published writer in the print world (30
        some books) and one who is also bringing out his OP
        backlist as eBooks, have been a vociferous proponent
        of authors' IP rights here on this list, and I have
        made many of the points you make.

        By noting that I do have a copy of the missing post,
        because I archive the entire list automagically, I am
        merely making the point that once the information is
        out there, it stays out there. Attempts to censor
        information on the Internet are usually doomed to
        failure, for perfectly legitimate reasons, mainly,
        "one copy = infinite copies."

        I've been doing a lot of research into DRM and IP
        rights for a book I'm doing now on ePublishing for
        Writer's Digest Books. The research has altered my
        original hard-line position, in fact, softened it.
        The truth is, nothing is uncrackable, and every DRM
        scheme will be cracked. That's fact, and we need to
        deal with it.

        Now, there are a myriad of shades to the arguments,
        and I don't want to reprise them here. Let's just say
        that it seems to me that the major print houses, with
        their huge backlists and their Napster-based
        reluctance to enter ePublishing without iron-clad DRM
        (when there ain't no such beast) are putting concerns
        over IP protection far above concerns over the
        consumers they hope will buy their eBooks.

        I think this imbalance of priorities does as much, if
        not more, damage to the growth of ePublishing as any
        hacker/cracker can. Now, I'm not smart enough to come
        up with an ideal solution. But as you also note, the
        market probably is. I don't know what it will look
        like, but it will come. Eventually. The economics
        for all involved are just too potentially compelling.

        That said, I doubt you'll get very far with the notion
        that those who archive TeBC are somehow accessories
        after the fact to illegal activity. This is the
        Internet, not a police state.

        Bill

        William Thomas Quick : Iceberg
        Productions
        iceberg@... :
        http://www.iw3p.com
        Science Fiction Writers of America
        http://www.iw3p.com/pgp.htm for PGP
        Public Key
      • Ebook Account
        I somehow doubt that this hacker will kill the eBook industry. Look at the Sony Playstation, you can buy a hardware mod for about $15 to bypass the copy
        Message 3 of 16 , May 1, 2001
          I somehow doubt that this hacker will kill the eBook industry. Look at the
          Sony Playstation, you can buy a hardware mod for about $15 to bypass the
          copy protection on it. But since most people don't care or don't want to
          modify their original unit it's not a big hit to Sony's market.

          Right at the moment most people with eBook's are PC literate, slightly
          techno-centric gadget freaks. The kind of people Guy Kawasaki would call
          "Low Hanging Fruit", the people who will buy any new gadget no matter how
          new or useless it might be (to begin with, not in the long term). They are
          an easy target for technology marketing, but not really a sustainable
          market. These are the same people who owned cell phones when you could only
          use them in a few places in the US. These are the same people who bought
          the first PC's, when the only software was MS Basic.

          This means there is a higher impact from these kinds of hack things right
          now. Since the people who own the devices aren't afraid to install new
          firmware and hack around a bit. But eventually it'll fall into a different
          market (maybe not the current eBook devices, but next generation or beyond).
          Those will be the people like my Mom and my Grandmother, people who buy them
          to READ, not to surf the Internet for "free" content. That market is huge
          and THOSE people don't give a crap if this hacker or a hundred like him can
          give you special firmware to "modify" the eBook to read free stuff. My Mom
          is not going to unencrypt content and try to copy it to others, she's
          CERTAINLY not going to install some older firmware and play games to do this
          stuff. So in the end, it DOESN'T MATTER.

          But, and this is the key point, it DOES matter to publishers right now. So
          the only way Gemstar (or Microsoft or Adobe) can convince them to put stuff
          on an eBook reader is to assure them that it is secure enough. So this
          hacker has basically been doing free engineering for Gemstar, not the eBook
          community. Whatever holes he's found Gemstar is now aware of, so he's
          helped them to make a more secure product.
        • Trabar
          Your points were all valid but I wonder if you are talking about print publishers just now getting into the ebook business in the paragraph below? If you
          Message 4 of 16 , May 1, 2001
            Your points were all valid but I wonder if you are talking
            about "print" publishers just now getting into the ebook
            business in the paragraph below?

            If you are, they need to understand -- no amount of encryption
            is going to do any good. And the sooner they get off their
            tushes, quit being paranoid and just put their stuff out there,
            the sooner their ebooks will take off and make them money.

            This DRM stuff is just delaying what could otherwise be a very
            lucrative business for us all.

            Judith
            Writing Site: http://www.agoodread.com
            Functional Art Site: http://www.trabar.com

            From: "Ebook Account" <ebook@...
            <snip>
            But, and this is the key point, it DOES matter to publishers
            right now. So
            the only way Gemstar (or Microsoft or Adobe) can convince them
            to put stuff
            on an eBook reader is to assure them that it is secure enough.
            So this
            hacker has basically been doing free engineering for Gemstar,
            not the eBook
            community. Whatever holes he's found Gemstar is now aware of,
            so he's
            helped them to make a more secure product.
          • Jim Drew / Ciao! Publications
            From: Trabar ... Yes and no. These people are paranoid as hell and in some cases, rather technophobic. They are terrified of the
            Message 5 of 16 , May 2, 2001
              From: "Trabar" <trabar@...>

              >If you are, they need to understand -- no amount of encryption
              >is going to do any good. And the sooner they get off their
              >tushes, quit being paranoid and just put their stuff out there,
              >the sooner their ebooks will take off and make them money.
              >
              >This DRM stuff is just delaying what could otherwise be a very
              >lucrative business for us all.

              Yes and no. These people are paranoid as hell and in some cases, rather
              technophobic. They are terrified of the potential for hackers, feeling
              that it's a slippery slope: one successful hack leads to 10, 100, and the
              end of the world as they know it. At the same time, these are the same
              people whom the focus-on-popular-reading-consumers folks need to have on
              board. (If you don't have everyone or at least almost everyone, you fail,
              because then consumers look at their reading material, see significant
              portions which are paper-only, and stick with paper.)

              Strong DRM is needed to allay the fears of the most scared. Such DRM isn't
              (or may not be) needed for the eventual market, but those people are, and
              they won't come along without it.

              Jim
            • Erik Walter
              ... The big players in the eBook world (MS, Adobe, Gemstar) are mainly concerned with the print publishers. That s where the largest segment of the market
              Message 6 of 16 , May 2, 2001
                >Your points were all valid but I wonder if you are talking
                >about "print" publishers just now getting into the ebook
                >business in the paragraph below?

                The big players in the eBook world (MS, Adobe, Gemstar) are mainly
                concerned with the "print" publishers. That's where the largest
                segment of the market is. Perhaps with time electronic only
                publishers will replace that, but for now they need to play ball with
                "print" media to be successful.

                I'm not saying I like that model any more than anyone else does, but
                to get the costs of readers down and to create a platform that
                EVERYONE uses, print media is the necessary ingredient. It's a
                difference of many factors of 10 between the number of copies a
                typical "Best Seller" sells and what a typical eBook might sell. And
                even at pennies a copy that's where the big bucks are.


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • wxs12345@yahoo.com
                ... I think we should be grateful to Brian Vierthaler of Gemstar for a position statement on where the company stands on Rocket Library. For the suspicious,
                Message 7 of 16 , May 2, 2001
                  --- In ebook-community@y..., "Brian " <bmv74137@y...> wrote:
                  > device and the current devices and formats will be obsolete. Hav
                  > you seen where the Rocket-Library has been taken off-line. That is
                  > because someone has posted COPYWRITED MATERIALS. Now with this
                  > information, I seriously doubt that Gemstar will ever bring Rocket-
                  > Library back online

                  I think we should be grateful to Brian Vierthaler of Gemstar for a
                  position statement on where the company stands on Rocket Library.

                  For the suspicious, read the quite similar screed by "Brian" on
                  Wired regarding this article at
                  http://www.wired.com/news/commentarySection/0,1292,43479,00.html
                  A google search on his name turns up:
                  http://207.155.231.25/results00/00div6_volley.html
                  where he is shown as working at TVGuide Inc. in Tulsa, OK.
                  I won't further shred Brian's privacy as anyone else can do the same
                  search.

                  > I will tell you from experience that people like this hacker are
                  > going to ruin the eBook industry. People like you who keep this
                  > information are going to ruin the eBook industry.

                  Brian, in your (at most) 6 years of experience at Gemstar, can you
                  please elaborate on the threat posed by one hacker to Gemstar's
                  business models? Are you referring to VCR+ by any chance?

                  > Lets also remember that the United States is
                  > country based on laws and not what is fair. This person has
                  > already broken the law by posting information regarding a
                  > proprietary device.

                  A pity for Gemstar that posting information on a propietary device is
                  not illegal. Brian and the rest of Gemstar will see the same
                  enlightenment that Netpliance experienced.
                • Erik Walter
                  First off, I agree that Brian s statements in Wired are a bit harsh and perhaps not well thought out. But I certainly see equally emotional responses from
                  Message 8 of 16 , May 3, 2001
                    First off, I agree that Brian's statements in Wired are a bit harsh and
                    perhaps not well thought out. But I certainly see equally emotional
                    responses from other posters on this list. No one faults others for
                    saying the things they do simply because of who they work for.


                    > I think we should be grateful to Brian Vierthaler of Gemstar for a
                    > position statement on where the company stands on Rocket Library.
                    >

                    Brian doesn't speak for Gemstar, I seriously doubt he's even involved in
                    the eBook effort at Gemstar. This would be like accusing some RCA or
                    Sony employee of making a company statement just because they're in
                    favor (or against) something the company also believes in. Gemstar is a
                    large company and people involved with one part don't necessarily have
                    anything to do with the other parts. Just because someone works for a
                    company doesn't mean they don't have their own opinions and thoughts.

                    > A pity for Gemstar that posting information on a propietary device is
                    > not illegal. Brian and the rest of Gemstar will see the same
                    > enlightenment that Netpliance experienced. 
                    >

                    Information on a proprietary device is not illegal, but passing on
                    company confidential information or backward engineering patented
                    information IS illegal. Especially if that information involves
                    encryption technology. That being said, the best thing you can do for a
                    "secure" system is publish the system and let other's find the holes.
                    Our hacker is doing more good for Gemstar than bad in this regard
                    (perhaps he works for Gemstar too).

                    And I think one thing to understand is that the people at NuvoMedia and
                    later Gemstar put a lot of time and energy into the REB1100. Seeing
                    someone jeopardize that work (whether real or perceived) tends to create
                    emotional responses. Try not to let THEIR comments speak for the entire
                    company.

                    And in case folks on the list DIDN'T know, I DO work for Gemstar
                    (previously Softbook Press). I'm not ashamed of that, nor am I trying
                    to hide it. But I speak for MYSELF, NOT FOR GEMSTAR. Gemstar might not
                    even like many of the things I say. Feel free to bash me for what I
                    say, but don't interpret it as a "company statement".


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Trabar
                    The way to get around a perceived view that posts are not company policy and your personal thoughts is to put a disclaimer (statement) at the end of your
                    Message 9 of 16 , May 3, 2001
                      The way to get around a "perceived" view that posts are not
                      company policy and your personal thoughts is to put a
                      disclaimer (statement) at the end of your posts. Then nobody
                      would take it any other way :-)

                      Judith
                      Writing Site: http://www.agoodread.com
                      Functional Art Site: http://www.trabar.com

                      From: "Erik Walter" <ebook@...>

                      <snip>
                      And in case folks on the list DIDN'T know, I DO work for
                      Gemstar
                      (previously Softbook Press). I'm not ashamed of that, nor am I
                      trying
                      to hide it. But I speak for MYSELF, NOT FOR GEMSTAR. Gemstar
                      might not
                      even like many of the things I say. Feel free to bash me for
                      what I
                      say, but don't interpret it as a "company statement".
                    • Erik Walter
                      ... Certainly true, but it seems to me that that should be the default. Unless something is in a company press release, the default impression should simply be
                      Message 10 of 16 , May 3, 2001
                        > On Thursday, May 3, 2001, at 09:06 AM, Trabar wrote:
                        >
                        > The way to get around a "perceived" view that posts are not
                        > company policy and your personal thoughts is to put a
                        > disclaimer (statement) at the end of your posts.  Then nobody
                        > would take it any other way :-)

                        Certainly true, but it seems to me that that should be the default.
                        Unless something is in a company press release, the default impression
                        should simply be "hey, here's this person posting to the e-book
                        community mailing list, this is what HE/SHE thinks"

                        In fact I should have to go out of my way to make "company" statements.
                        Saying something like "Gemstar's official position on that is..."

                        I guess what bothered me was that the original reply had an air of
                        "witch-hunt" to it. As if someone were saying "hey, you can't trust
                        this guy because he works for Gemstar." I don't use my Gemstar mail
                        address precisely for that reason, this is a PERSONAL thing for me. I
                        don't HAVE to read this list, I don't HAVE to post. As an engineer, my
                        job doesn't require that I have anything to do with this.

                        Okay, the disclaimer ;-)

                        <anti-witch-hunt disclaimer>
                        And in case folks on the list DIDN'T know, I DO work for Gemstar
                        (previously Softbook Press).  I'm not ashamed of that, nor am I trying
                        to hide it.  But I speak for MYSELF, NOT FOR GEMSTAR.  Gemstar might not
                        even like many of the things I say.  Feel free to bash me for what I
                        say, but don't interpret it as a "company statement".
                        </anti-witch-hunt disclaimer>


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Jim Drew / Ciao! Publications
                        From: Trabar ... That doesn t do it, either, because then everyone is constantly encouraged to read between the lines of everything you
                        Message 11 of 16 , May 3, 2001
                          From: "Trabar" <trabar@...>

                          >The way to get around a "perceived" view that posts are not
                          >company policy and your personal thoughts is to put a
                          >disclaimer (statement) at the end of your posts. Then nobody
                          >would take it any other way :-)

                          That doesn't do it, either, because then everyone is constantly encouraged
                          to read between the lines of everything you say, trying to figure out what
                          you mean, what you are alluding to, and what you are covering up. You then
                          cannot speak on *any* subject with freedom.

                          Put most simply, if a person doesn't identify themselves as working for a
                          company, then what they say (which could still be allusions and cover up,
                          of course) should obviously not be "speaking for the company". (The
                          exception being if the person is an officer or formal spokesperson for the
                          company: if Henry Yuen posts about Gemstar eBooks, you know *he* is speaking
                          for the company, even if he doesn't want to. When Erik Walter posts, he's
                          effectively a nobody in the greater scheme, so anyone reading the weight of
                          the company behind anything he says is being at least a little bit foolish.)

                          Jim

                          ...who knows whereof he speaks, given that he also works for Gemstar, and
                          certainly never speaks for the company, nor would he want to...
                        • Trabar
                          Then I m glad I m a peon because the views expressed (right, wrong or otherwise) are mine and my companies. Judith Writing Site:
                          Message 12 of 16 , May 3, 2001
                            Then I'm glad I'm a "peon" because the views expressed (right,
                            wrong or otherwise) are mine and my companies. <grinning >

                            Judith
                            Writing Site: http://www.agoodread.com
                            Functional Art Site: http://www.trabar.com

                            From: "Jim Drew / Ciao! Publications" <ciaopubs@...>
                            To: <ebook-community@yahoogroups.com>


                            From: "Trabar" <trabar@...>

                            >The way to get around a "perceived" view that posts are not
                            >company policy and your personal thoughts is to put a
                            >disclaimer (statement) at the end of your posts. Then nobody
                            >would take it any other way :-)

                            That doesn't do it, either, because then everyone is constantly
                            encouraged
                            to read between the lines of everything you say, trying to
                            figure out what
                            you mean, what you are alluding to, and what you are covering
                            up. You then
                            cannot speak on *any* subject with freedom.
                          • Brian Vierthaler
                            No, what I want to say is that even though the information is out there on the net, companies like Gemstar will fight people who post this information. They
                            Message 13 of 16 , May 11, 2001
                              No, what I want to say is that even though the
                              information is out there on the net, companies like
                              Gemstar will fight people who post this information.
                              They will change their devices. Believe me, I know
                              the industry from the inside and I see what is
                              happening. My advice is this...keep posting and
                              reading information on how to crack the eBook and
                              eventually the new REB 1100 and REB 1200 eBooks will
                              be obsolete. Gemstar is not targeting those customers
                              who want to "upload" their own materials, and nothing
                              in this world is free. I am trying to tell everyone
                              that no matter what a hacker states, Gemstar will
                              change their device. If somebody does not like
                              Gemstar's business model, then start your own company
                              and compete directly with them, but right now Gemstar
                              has already taken care of the hackers alledged
                              encryption flaws.

                              --- William Thomas Quick <iceberg@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > > From: Brian [mailto:bmv74137@...]
                              >
                              > > I will tell you from experience that people
                              > > like this hacker are
                              > > going to ruin the eBook industry. People
                              > > like you who keep this
                              > > information are going to ruin the eBook industry.
                              >
                              > > --- In ebook-community@y..., Mary E Tyler
                              > > <dejah@s...> wrote:
                              > > > >"But sometime in the past two weeks post
                              > > No. 6933 was
                              > > > >deleted from the files of the listserve at
                              > > > >Yahoogroups.com. The manager of the list
                              > > has declined
                              > > > >comment."
                              > > > >
                              > > > >Um hm. I wonder how many folks (besides
                              > myself)
                              > > > >archive the whole of TeBC?
                              >
                              > Brian, if this is directed at me, you should note
                              > that
                              > I, as a much published writer in the print world (30
                              > some books) and one who is also bringing out his OP
                              > backlist as eBooks, have been a vociferous proponent
                              > of authors' IP rights here on this list, and I have
                              > made many of the points you make.
                              >
                              > By noting that I do have a copy of the missing post,
                              > because I archive the entire list automagically, I
                              > am
                              > merely making the point that once the information is
                              > out there, it stays out there. Attempts to censor
                              > information on the Internet are usually doomed to
                              > failure, for perfectly legitimate reasons, mainly,
                              > "one copy = infinite copies."
                              >
                              > I've been doing a lot of research into DRM and IP
                              > rights for a book I'm doing now on ePublishing for
                              > Writer's Digest Books. The research has altered my
                              > original hard-line position, in fact, softened it.
                              > The truth is, nothing is uncrackable, and every DRM
                              > scheme will be cracked. That's fact, and we need to
                              > deal with it.
                              >
                              > Now, there are a myriad of shades to the arguments,
                              > and I don't want to reprise them here. Let's just
                              > say
                              > that it seems to me that the major print houses,
                              > with
                              > their huge backlists and their Napster-based
                              > reluctance to enter ePublishing without iron-clad
                              > DRM
                              > (when there ain't no such beast) are putting
                              > concerns
                              > over IP protection far above concerns over the
                              > consumers they hope will buy their eBooks.
                              >
                              > I think this imbalance of priorities does as much,
                              > if
                              > not more, damage to the growth of ePublishing as any
                              > hacker/cracker can. Now, I'm not smart enough to
                              > come
                              > up with an ideal solution. But as you also note,
                              > the
                              > market probably is. I don't know what it will look
                              > like, but it will come. Eventually. The economics
                              > for all involved are just too potentially
                              > compelling.
                              >
                              > That said, I doubt you'll get very far with the
                              > notion
                              > that those who archive TeBC are somehow accessories
                              > after the fact to illegal activity. This is the
                              > Internet, not a police state.
                              >
                              > Bill
                              >
                              > William Thomas Quick : Iceberg
                              > Productions
                              > iceberg@... :
                              > http://www.iw3p.com
                              > Science Fiction Writers of
                              > America
                              > http://www.iw3p.com/pgp.htm for PGP
                              > Public Key
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >


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