Has Adobe ADEPT ePub DRM been cracked already?

adobelogo Remember that one of the problems with DRM is that it is all-too-easily cracked? And that cracks for the most commonly-used e-book formats (Mobipocket, MS Reader, eReader) can be found on-line in about five minutes of Google searching?

It may have happened again. Mobileread reports that a cracker claims to have figured out how to strip Adobe ADEPT DRM from ADEPT-protected ePub files. "It is the real deal. I’ve done it and it works,” reports a Mobileread forum poster who tried it.

Although Apple famously updated its iTunes program to break cracks each time a new one surfaced to decrypt iTunes store music, most e-book vendors seem to have taken a lassez-faire approach—none of the e-book format manufacturers have updated to render cracks invalid, not even Microsoft. If this ADEPT crack is valid, it remains to be seen which approach Adobe will take.

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About Chris Meadows (4151 Articles)
TeleRead Editor Chris Meadows has been writing for us--except for a brief interruption--since 2006. Son of two librarians, he has worked on a third-party help line for Best Buy and holds degrees in computer science and communications. He clearly personifies TeleRead's motto: "For geeks who love books--and book-lovers who love gadgets." Chris lives in Indianapolis and is active in the gamer community.

5 Comments on Has Adobe ADEPT ePub DRM been cracked already?

  1. “laissez-faire” instead of “laissaiz-faire” 😉

  2. I’m sure Adobe has known all along how easily their DRM could be cracked. A while ago Adobe’s own Bill McCoy wrote in favour of DRM merely as copy deterrence of some sort ( If his colleagues think the same way, then it’s likely it was never their intention to create something uncrackable.

  3. @Arthur Attwell — I’m not sure he does agree. He discusses in the comments how current crypto is effectively unbreakable and the “weak point” of key management is easily changed to fix breaks in the system. This (a) is rather flip given than AFAIK the only DRM system ever broken via weak crypto was CSS, and (b) suggests that Adobe is quite prepared to tweak their key management to break this break.

  4. Good to hear. I don’t buy DRM’d stuff unless/until the DRM is broken. I prefer to buy non-DRM’d sources but if a DRM copy is the only choice, I go for whatever format I can unprotect. I’m not going to share the book around, but I don’t like being limited to what devices I can use, and being generally treated like a criminal.
    DRM doesn’t stop ANY illegal use, it just inconveniences legitimate users.

  5. JRR, DRM isn’t quite that useless, though it might often appear that way to the more technically inclined. There are a lot of advanced computer who know their way around their browsers, office suites, even CLIs, but who aren’t familiar with more complicated scripting or other “techy” computer skills. Some of them would certainly steal copyrighted material if it were an easy copy and paste, print off, or drag and drop. For the most part, it’s about letting the mostly honest people know where the line is. We had a similar goal when I taught at the local university. The cheaters *will* cheat; they’re rotten people, and they can only be eliminated by being caught and punished. But the average person—the “oh just this one time because of (whatever excuse)”—will stay honest when the line is clear.

    Now, music DRM never made sense because CDs were digital, non-DRM, and the main way consumers got music. Books don’t have that problem. Right now, the only digital copies of books are DRMed books. It’s still imperfect, time-, & resource-consuming to produce nonDRMed books from other media. I would like to get rid of DRM on books, but I understand why the big publishers would be cautious.

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