Adobe Cracks Down on Piracy with New ePub and PDF DRM


Adobe has just pushed out new Digital Rights Management encryption system for their entire line of publishing products. This was designed to make changes to the security of of ePub and PDF Files. Adobe is claiming that the new changes to one of the most popular electronic book formats in the world is the most secure they have ever produced.

The new set of DRM for ePub files has been pushed out to Adobe Digital Editions 3.0 and Adobe Content Server. Adobe has been working with their publishing and hardware partners, such as Sony, to refine the code before they released it to the public. This time around Adobe wants to keep the source code under lock and key to prevent people from writing decryption tools and plugins for popular conversion software like Calibre.

The new way to encrypt ePub and PDF eBooks will be up to the companies that distribute them. Companies like Sony are in a prime position to take advantage of the new technology because they sell books and also write the e-reading software. Other companies who write 3rd party reading software for iOS and Android are put on notice to incorporate the new systems in order to stay relevant.

When it comes to protecting eBooks, Adobe may not be the force in the industry, when it comes to encryption anymore. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo all have their own ways to encrypt eBooks. Amazon has their own proprietary format, while B&N and Kobo use schema. It is thought that the companies that actually use the stock Adobe version of DRM make up less than 5% of the total eBook market.

I was told by some members of the W3C that Adobe is planning a new online verification tool that queries a an always on internet connection. This is something that many game companies are employing to curb piracy, such as Electronic Arts. Likely, we will not see this “Always Online DRM” for another year or two. Companies need to adjust to the new higher form of encryption in the here and now.

Michael Kozlowski (5212 Posts)

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to

  • Albert

    So now one would need to be connected online to read a book?? Good luck with that. I am sensing a comeback for print….

  • Karen Myers

    Always on, eh? No more ebooks at the beach? Oh, yeah, that’ll work.

  • Argos

    Adobe can do whatever it wants. I never buy books with DRM anyway. I never will.
    No company can keep the books I paid for under lock an and key… ever.
    I bought over 40 ebooks last year. None of them had DRM.

    Some book publishers are making the same mistake the music industry did years ago. This will alienate and antagonize many passionate readers who spend a lot of money on books, who do not like the horrible restrictiveness of DRM.
    The publishers will lose this battle. There is no doubt about it.

    ┬┤Always Online DRM┬┤

    What a joke. These idiots really do not get it.

  • Ralf

    Always on? Jeepers. Okay, let’s think logically here. We have a technology that allows a device to maintain a charge for weeks at a time, which means that going on holiday to the “country” lets us bring our “books” with us. That was one of the selling points when this was getting off the ground!
    Hail DRM free books! You know, this piracy thing is getting silly.

  • Argos

    “You know, this piracy thing is getting silly.”

    Yes exactly, because DRM never hurts those who pirate books, as pirated books by their very nature have no DRM at all and are truly user friendly. If anything ‘Always Online’ DRM will force legit book owners to search for pirated versions.
    DRM will always get circumvented. You only need one buyer of the paper version to make a scan of the book and any DRM is useless.
    I am a librarian and a book lover. I have a huge paper library and also a huge ebook library. I am proud of my collections. I love to collect and maintain them. Personally I consider an ebook with DRM to be contaminated, infested, filthy, polluted. I do not want anything to do with contaminated books. And I know that many book lovers feel the same. Most of us want to pay for the books we love, but not for those that are contaminated with DRM.

  • Argos

    In fact I know about only one situation in which I would be prepared to own books with DRM: that is if they were free! I very strongly feel I need to be compensated for my willingness to put up with the hassle and restrictions of DRM. I certainly will not pay for such a damaged and contaminated book. But free books do not need DRM in the first place. The conclusion is simple…

  • Bill Peschel

    No, just for pirated books and books sold by indys that don’t use DRM.

  • Ros

    This is the STUPIDEST waste of money ever. I have no idea why publishers are so determined to make it harder and harder for people to buy ebooks. Unless they want to turn everyone to piracy? Seriously. Sell the books at a fair price, abandon geographical restrictions, and MAKE IT EASY for legitimate buyers. It’s not rocket science.

  • Albert

    I see. So they are going to find all the pirated books and stick DRM on them.

  • Elizabeth Drake

    This is ludicrous. I review books and when I get an EARC I use Calibre for two reasons: 1) so that the book doesn’t expire before I get a chance to review it (or go back to my notes if I read it a while ago) and 2) so that I can put it on multiple devices. Any chance we can avoid this by not updating Digital Editions?

  • Ralf

    Wait until forced to update. In the meantime if the plan down the road is that a connection is needed to open a book then spread the news far and wide that this is a non-starter. Period. Full stop. lol, I love doing that. :)

  • praxit

    I hear ya mate. With practices like this, its what makes piracy stronger.

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