However much they spend, Microsoft don’t seem to be able to fend off the hackers. A new version of its Reader — designed to allow users of the handheld device to read copyright protected versions of ebooks, while ensuring they don’t copy the ebooks or do thing with them they’re not supposed to — has been hacked within days of its release, according to my friend Jerry Justianto, who runs a blog on the subject.
He says the digital rights management scheme (DRM for short) was a major upgrade, but has gone the way of its predecessors, courtesy of an updated version of Convert Lit, a very small program (32K), which was sent to him anonymously. The program, he says, will either remove the DRM encryption or it will explode the ebook into an unprotected version or an HTML file that can be read in a normal browser, complete with pictures.
Jerry is scathing about the update. He points out that Microsoft are effectively forcing users to get the upgrade even though it includes no major new features — except the security ones — and will require many users to re-register their hardware in order to keep using it. Check out what Microsoft itself says of the upgrade. Neither Jerry or I condone breaking the law, but this tug of war between producer and hacker has got to stop. It’s a waste of time for everybody, and the money could be better spent not trying to limit what we users do with our possessions. Your views, as ever, are welcome.