Site removes ebook script reference after Amazon threat

Amazon has asked a forum to remove references to a program that lets people buy books from stores other than Amazon and load them on their Kindles.

Amazon asked an online forum to remove links to software that lets people load ebooks they buy from sources other than Amazon onto their Kindles.

The MobileRead forum removed references to the software but doesn't believe the program violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as Amazon charges.

Amazon introduced the second version of the Kindle in February. The devices are wirelessly tied to the Amazon store, where users can buy books, newspapers, magazines and other content. Users are restricted from loading ebooks that they buy from other sources onto the Kindle.

MobileRead had offered instructions about how to use a small script called kindlepid.py that the site didn't host but directed readers to. The script lets users of Kindles discover their device's personal ID. Many ebook sellers require the PID, but Amazon does not disclose the PID to Kindle owners, according to the instructions that were posted on MobileRead.

Armed with their PID, a user can buy an ebook on a site other than Amazon and the book will display on their Kindle. Users can also download books to their Kindle from some public libraries, many of which now offer digital books.

"Although we never hosted this tool (contrary to their claim), nor believe that this tool is used to remove technological measures (contrary to their claim), we decided, due to the vagueness of the DMCA law and our intention to remain in good relation with Amazon, to voluntarily follow their request and remove links and detailed instructions related to it," wrote Alexander Turcic, a forum moderator, on MobileRead.

Amazon's letter, which MobileRead has posted, implies that the software lets users circumvent DRM software. "At the above-mentioned URLs, there is computer code and instructions that purportedly allow removal of technological protections that prevent copyright infringement," the letter reads, after listing several links to pages on MobileRead.

MobileRead has removed the pages, which are still available through Google's cache.

As many people commenting on the MobileRead post note, kindlepid.py is still widely available on many Web sites. It was first posted by its creator, Igor Skochinsky, in late 2007.

Other people posted comments on the forum expressing their disappointment at what they regard as an attack by Amazon on its customers. "What this script does is make the Kindle more useful. With Amazon using the DMCA to get rid of this, they are alienating their customers and causing prospective customers to purchase a different device," a forum member called Jon wrote.

In addition to using the program to load non-Amazon ebooks onto the Kindle, users can buy ebooks from Amazon purportedly for their iPhones but transfer them onto readers other than the Kindle. Users of the iPhone application are supposed to be able to only transfer books to Kindles.

Amazon did not reply to a request for further comment.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags amazon

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?