Today is the International Day Against DRM, the unofficial holiday dedicated to making more people aware of DRM and how it affects their lives.
DRM, or Digital Restrictions Management, is the practice of imposing technological restrictions that control what users can do with digital media. When a user is unable to play a DVD bought legally in another part of the wold, play a game without an internet connection, or read an ebook on a different device, they are being restricted by DRM.
It’s been nine years since the first Day Against DRM, and very little has changed in that time. The hot button issues on that day in October 2006 were DRM on music, videos, and games (no one was thinking of ebooks or audiobooks yet). In the 9 years since then music has mostly gone DRM-free, but that’s the only type of content to escape its clutches.
In fact, the exact opposite has happened. DRM has spread far beyond content to infect all types of products, including cars, coffee, and ink cartridges (which have in fact had DRM since long before the first Day Against DRM).
At the same time, the rights of users are curtailed left and right. In the past year we have seen multiple examples of the perils of DRM, including the closure of Diesel eBooks and Sony ebook stores. (Even though Sony promised a smooth transition to Kobo, many readers still lost ebooks in the process.)
But aside from actively protecting yourself, there is little that users can do to stop the encroaching tendrils of DRM. With that in mind, here are a few tools that will help you free your ebooks and audiobooks.
Amazon likes to pretend that they are DRM agnostic, but in reality they insist on DRM on audiobooks. This app can reportedly remove the DRM automatically. I haven’t tried it, so I cannot confirm that.
This is a FREE 1 step removal tool for Epub and PDF encumbered by Adobe Adept DRM. It can also remove the DRM from Kindle ebooks as well. I haven’t tried the Kindle tool yet, but I think it’s worth your time to take a look.
That tool is based on the work of Apprentice Alf, the patron saint of ebook DRM-removal tools.
How would you like to remove the DRM from ebooks ought from iBooks? Requiem can do that.
And for those who use calibre, did you know that you can install a DRM-removal plugin? I’ve posted instructions that show you how to configure a plugin to remove Kindle, Nook, or Adobe DRM. The same plugin now works for all 3 types of DRM, though setting it up for the Nook does require an extra step.