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    I had a somewhat similar experience accessing the acm website last week, which seems to block my IP. I emailed them since this must clearly be some mistake, and after some back-and-forth about clearing browser caches and such it turned out that “we cannot remove the block because your IP address is Infiltrated by sci-hub”

    I just have a residential IP address which changes frequently; I guess some previous owner did some scraping with it – I think that’s what they mean with “infiltrated” anyway. I suppose I could restart my router and maybe get a new IP address, but it’s easier to just go sci-hub and get the paper, which is exactly what I did. The paper is freely available on the acm website by the way, and it was the first time I had looked up anything on sci-hub 🤷‍♂️

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      Good for you! The ACM would be rediscovering the Streisand effect, if they could see clearly. Paywalling academic research is a shameful practice.

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      I won’t buy a DRM’d eBook, that’s for sure. I’ve bought one or two DRM-free ebooks before. A few weeks ago I had a similar experience. I wanted to read a particular book and I bought it knowing it was DRM’d. I couldn’t get the thing to work after spending two hours with tech support. I ended up cancelling the order.

      My wife recently bought a kindle and reads lots of stuff on it, and she understands that she doesn’t really ‘own’ the books, but the value is just to tear through lots of content, not to keep the pages forever. I suppose if you understand what you’re buying, and it works, it’s fine.

      But really, DRM sucks. I thought we nailed this down several years ago?

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        Calibre is a godsend for us Kindle owners.

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          I wanted to read a particular book and I bought it knowing it was DRM’d. I couldn’t get the thing to work after spending two hours with tech support. I ended up cancelling the order.

          I’m impressed that you managed to cancel the order. Most e-book stores I’ve seen have a policy along the lines of, “you’ve downloaded it, you can’t ‘return’ it or prove you haven’t kept a copy, so we won’t refund you, regardless of whether you are actually able to access the content you supposedly ‘bought’”. I guess maybe devoting two hours of your time to the issue convinced them that it really didn’t work.

          Like you, I never buy drm-encumbered e-books. I don’t think I have the necessary devices capable of running the stuff required to open them (As I understand it, the calibre workaround referred to in the article requires windows or OS X). By contrast, I happily buy drm-free e-books from publishers such as Manning.

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          Ditto. I’m happy to buy DRM-free books, games and music (needs to be FLAC too, else I won’t bother and just buy a CD and rip it).

          But I’ll never shell out a cent for anything DRM encumbered. It’s simply not worth spending money to then having to spend time and effort to get rid of the DRM.

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            needs to be FLAC too,

            You must be one of those guys that can hear about 30khz. Do dog whistles annoy you?

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              You must be one of those guys that can hear about 30khz.

              I stated I am happy enough with buying CDs and ripping them myself, which would limit me to 22050Hz (Audio CD sample rate is 44.1KHz, applied Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem). I have no idea how you jump from my comment to me being able to hear 30KHz or not.

              My point is that lossy codecs are ill-suited for preservation, and archival of whatever music I care about in lossless formats is very feasible with current storage technology, and preferred as it puts me in control, rather than relying on the availability of third party services.

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                Flacs are good for archival purposes too.

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              What is z-lib.org?

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                It is the website that the article is actually promoting, through a layer of indirection in order to prevent sites like this one from censoring the link on legal concern grounds.

                A really useful website, I have to admit.

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                  It looks like the latest incarnation of Library Genesis, a massive pirate ebook library.

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                    Why “incarnation”? Library genesis is alive and kicking!

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                      Is it really? It seems there’s some kind of limit which might have been raised because of the pandemic. I’m still trying to get a clearer understanding though.

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                    It is crazy with e-publishing and digital editions. Are they not aware how in academia it is common knowledge to recommend llibgen and Sci-Hub, even when they have some journal access it is still preferable to use libgen?

                    Literature is probably the most encumbered with DRM (of all major media) as majority of the eBook market is boomers buying on amazon, and their entire pipeline is pro-DRM. In my opinion that will soon lead to collapse of the market as millennials do not prefer ebooks.

                    I have honestly never bought an ebook, and I can barely find cases in which I could consider it. I think the nature of the fact is in the era of post-scarcity, we should aim at supporting artists through UBI and/or other grants. For such reasoning, I want to refer to this quote by Schopenhauer:

                    Writing for money and reservation of copyright are, at bottom, the ruin of literature. No one writes anything that is worth writing, unless he writes entirely for the sake of his subject. What an inestimable boon it would be, if in every branch of literature there were only a few books, but those excellent! This can never happen, as long as money is to be made by writing. It seems as though the money lay under a curse; for every author degenerates as soon as he begins to put pen to paper in any way for the sake of gain. The best works of the greatest men all come from the time when they had to write for nothing or for very little.

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                      I think boomers are in for some hard lessons, as soon as some reasonably big ebook publisher shuts down (or is sold) and takes all their licensed works with it.

                      It happened with Microsoft’s eBook shop, but let’s be honest, no one used that anyway.

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                      Well, I was about to recommend the Kobo store for providing DRM-free EPUB ebooks, but… now that I check back to my account, the few ebooks I’d bought there from a particular author are no longer available.

                      So I guess they exist in my Calibre library alone. Let this serve as an object lesson, I suppose. The Kobo e-reader itself is pretty darn nice though.

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                        That doesn’t seem like a very reasonable conclusion, IMO. One bad experience with one book from one vendor, and now he’s never buying an ebook ever again?

                        I almost exclusively buy ebooks nowadays, and I’ve never had a problem. For me, the benefits far outweigh any of the (often hypothetical) downsides.

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                          You can still buy ebooks. Just make sure to buy non-DRM ones…

                          I understand the case against DRM, although, the article feels like the author isn’t of good faith.

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                            99% of the market is DRM’d. Majority of works are not available, it is not bad faith, it is a result of terrible practices for years in the era of post-scarcity. The publishing market is extremely conservative and unwilling for any change, unless forced by giants like Amazon.

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                              What market are you referring to specifically? Here in Poland, for example, fortunately the standard approach in online shops is to provide non-DRMed epubs (& don’t-know-what-kind-of mobis, as I avoid Kindle on principle). I saw a DRMed one only once, hope it stays so. The posted article seems to refer to France; are you also referring to the French market?

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                                Primarily English speaking. I am also Polish, and as person in humanities academia, there is scarcity of translations and even then, English language version are vastly preferred.

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                            1. Related article: The Right to Read by Richard Stallman
                            2. Even in 2020, printed books (or audio CDs etc.) make sense.
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                              I love printed books, and I agree to some degree with purists who say ‘ebooks are just not the same’ but the convenience of an ebook reader being the size and weight of a slim paperback, and being able to contain the entire bibliography of my top 50 favourite authors is too good to pass up. I read while travelling and the pain of finishing a book and realising your don’t have another one to start is something that I struggle with in a big way. Maybe I am addicted to non-stop information input and I should try to do something about that, but for now, I need my portable library and reflected light rendering device.

                              Having said that I have also never bought a DRM ebook and never intend to.

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                              I wish I read this earlier, as I went through the same experience with a book on fnac.com a few days ago. It was mainly a test to see if they actually offered DRM-free books or not but I wasn’t even able to get the book since I’m on Linux and I don’t really want to mess with a virtual machine for the sake of a simple book.

                              I sent them an email to complain, and I hope in the near future we’ll be able to enjoy ebooks without worrying. Same as we do for music nowadays (and some games).

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                                Similarly I bought a book on bol.com and the only option I had was to read it on my phone. Like the author, I decided it is better I avoid DRMed ebooks.

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                                  I love my e-ink ebook reader. It’s convenient, lightweight, it can be read one-handed or easily propped up when I’m cooking or standing on public transport. I don’t have to worry about books being damaged in a bag while I’m travelling.

                                  Barring books where I really want the physical item to keep (and some reference books), I will often buy an ebook over physical copy because I know that honestly I will find it harder to make space for reading a physical copy.

                                  But I agree that the current options for buying ebooks are largely predatory and that DRM offers an incredibly bad user experience for most people. I try to buy DRM-free where I can, and sadly I do sometimes buy and jump through hoops to remove DRM where I can’t find content another way.

                                  My normal trick is to look directly at the publisher’s site for DRM-free copies. Does anyone have any good recommendations for stores which only offer DRM-free content?

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                                    My pipeline for ebooks is a Kobo reader (Forma), and Calibre with the Obok DeDRM plugin (running on Linux). I buy a book on Kobo.com, it automatically downloads to my reader, and next time I connect the reader to my computer I can import the book to Calibre and strip the DRM with a single click.

                                    For music I buy CDs and rip them myself or less frequently buy DRM-free MP3s. For movies I buy Blu-rays or DVDs and use MakeMKV and Handbrake to rip and compress them to my Plex server.

                                    Building a DRM-free media library is not terribly prohibitive if you are somewhat technical and willing to put in the work, but DRM-locked ecosystems and streaming services make it so appealing to the casual masses who are more concerned with ease of availability that I don’t see them ever going away or getting better. On the contrary I think it’s more likely that artists and movie studios will shift more and more to digital-only releases and we’ll slowly lose the option to buy and rip physical media.

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                                      somewhat technical and willing to put in the work

                                      With drm-free e-books, I just buy them and read them. I have already put in the work to earn the money to buy books. I do not wish to put in any more work to maybe be allowed to read the book I’ve bought. Even if I’d already got the DeDRM thing working, I would never be sufficiently confident that it would definitely work on a new drm-encumbered e-book I was considering buying.

                                      The worst thing about the whole DRM experience is that the two main groups that it punishes are the people who pay for a legitimate copy and have to jump through hoops to read it, and the authors, who lose sales because even when you are willing to spend the money, ‘piracy’ is a much easier, safer, route to getting something you can actually read.