Tuesday, January 13, 2009

ebook drm provider goes dark

Cory is reporting that an ebook drm provider, Overdrive, is going dark. Fictionwise, which sold the drm crippled ebooks has a set of faqs for affected customers. Sample:

What is the eReader Replacement File Program?

Fictionwise obtains "feeds" of eBooks from several different content aggregators, and these aggregators use their servers to deliver encrypted files to our customers. One of these aggregators, Overdrive, recently gave Fictionwise notice that they would cease serving files to Fictionwise customers as of January 31, 2009...

How many purchased eBooks were affected by this?

Approximately 300,000 eBook units purchased by Fictionwise customers were delivered via Overdrive...

How can I tell which of my eBook purchases might be from Overdrive?

In your bookshelf, go to the DISPLAY menu and select Overdrive Expiring then click UPDATE. You will see a list of just those eBooks that were purchased via Overdrive. After January 31, 2009 those books will "expire" and will no longer be downloadable. We suggest you download those eBooks one last time to make sure they are up to date for your current devices, and store them in a safe location, making backup copies where possible. Please download them one by one, do not use "Bulk Download" because that does not work for every type of Secure content, and it can have problems if you try to download a very large number of files at once...

What if I prefer a format other than Secure eReader?

It is not contractually possible for us to substitute the original format you purchased; ...

I thought Fictionwise guarantees all eBooks will remain on my bookshelf forever?

Fictionwise strives to maintain backup copies of your purchases available for re-download indefinitely, but our terms of service do not guarantee that they will be available for re-download forever. For all formats other than Mobipocket, a re-download is not necessary to transfer the file to a new device. Forever is a long time. We have control of our MultiFormat files and we have control of the Secure eReader format, so that gives us the ability to ensure we will continue to be able to deliver those formats to you. However, as noted above, other formats are delivered through third party aggregators. We do not have legal control of those third party servers. If those third party servers "go dark" for one reason or another, we have no way to continue delivering those files. It is important to note that other eBook retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Gemstar, and Amazon.com's original eBook store circa 2004 did not make any effort to maintain long term customer access to purchased material when they shut down their eBook operations in the past. They announced a time period for final download then shut down the servers."
I ask again: how can anyone believe that drm is a good idea?

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