Recently I had to open a book protected by DRM. Despite DRM being universally hated and being one of the most stupid technology invented ever, there are still stupider people imposing it.

Personally I avoid buying DRM protected content unless I know I can easily circumvent it. Yes, for slightly advanced users, DRM are quite often ineffective, they are just an immoral loss of time, money, energy and a source of pollution.

Anyway, I got this book protected by Adobe Digital Editions DRM and I tried to open it the “official” way. Here is what I had to do:

  • Go create an account on Adobe website and give them some personal information (of course the website is not yet GDPR compliant);
  • Download a proprietary software;
  • Install that dodgy software. Why dodgy? Because on macOS it requires the administrator password to be installed, that’s a huge security issue for a software that’s supposed to be a book reader;
  • Run that software and enter the Adobe’s account login and password (that’s also a bit dodgy on a security point of view)
  • Click on a link to download a file that’s a descriptor/locator for the book;
  • Open that file with the software;
  • The DRM protected book is downloaded and installed with a bunch of other things in ~/Documents/Digital Editions… thank you for not asking me where I want to save that (and it can’t be changed);
  • Hooray, I can read the book with this software only on this computer only;

All that took me about 30 minutes and I’m pretty sure that a lot of people in the same situation will not manage to do all that to read the book.

Then I used my favorite search engine to find out how to remove the DRM protection and actually remove it. Searching for it and doing it took me about 5 minutes… now I can read the book with the applications I usually use, on all my devices.

If you are a software engineer and you are working on DRM, I suggest you read the Software Engineering Code of Ethics and adjust your career plan accordingly.

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