Amazon blows the whistle against Kindle e-books from other vendors

[Source: CNET News] posted a letter this week that apparently sent regarding alleged copyright violations. This is an excerpt.

When President Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act into law 11 years ago, he predicted it will “protect from digital piracy the copyright industries that comprise the leading export of the United States.”

The DMCA turned out to be much broader than that. This week, an e-book Web site said invoked the 1998 law to prevent books from some non-Amazon sources from working on its Kindle reader.

Amazon sent a legal notice to complaining that information relating to a computer utility written in the Python programming language “constitutes a violation” of the DMCA, according to a copy of the warning letterthat the site posted. is an e-book news and community site. forum moderator Alexander Turcic said in a post on Thursday that although he did not believe the program violated the law, the site would “voluntarily follow their request and remove links and detailed instructions related to it.” Turcic said that, contrary to Amazon’s claim, his site never “hosted” the software.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The author of the software in question, titled, is listed as Igor Skochinsky, a hardware hacker whoperformed a remarkable analysis of the Kindle and described in December 2007 how he was able to gain access to the device.

It’s unclear why Amazon waited so long to respond with a legal threat, and why the company targeted Skochinsky’s original blog post about is dated December 2007, and the copy of the software hosted at the Web-page posting site is still available for download at and a related piece of accompanying Python code don’t allow piracy. Rather, they accomplish something akin to the opposite: they allow legally purchased books from other e-book stores to be used on the Kindle. (Amazon owns MobiPocket, one of those stores. Another would be, which counts schools and libraries as customers.)

In theory, at least, this could threaten Amazon’s business model, which provides wireless connectivity through Sprint’s EV-DO cellular data network and covers the cost through items purchased from the Amazon Kindle Store. Kindle customers can also e-mail themselves documents to be converted at 10 cents per conversion.

A copy of a wiki page–now empty–saved in Google’s cache says allows you to “obtain books from sites that use DRM (Digital Rights Management – encryption) on their books for specific devices. This includes book sellers and public libraries.” It provides instructions on how to install and use the software. readers with Kindles were not pleased with Amazon. “What this script does is make the Kindle more useful,” wrote one reader. “With Amazon using the DMCA to get rid of this, they are alienating their customers and causing prospective customers to purchase a different device.”

And the code is already being mirrored, including in a post on

Section 1201 of the DMCA says: “No person shall… offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology… is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.”

One exception to the DMCA’s general rule, however, comes a few paragraphs later. It says circumvention is permissible for “interoperability” of computer programs, with interoperability defined as the “ability of computer programs to exchange information, and of such programs mutually to use the information which has been exchanged.”

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About The Author

Jamie is a co-founder and senior editor at Technigrated, covering all facets of the tech industry. In addition to working at Technigrated, Jamie is a Founding Partner of NBR Design Studio, a graphic and web design and hosting firm headquartered in Bethany Beach, DE.

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