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We have the pirates. Now where are the e-books ?

By Builder in Technology
Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 07:55:23 PM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

I'm rolling out a project in Zope, which means that I need to learn Python fast. I bought a copy of Programming Python 2nd Edition, and find it good.

My quest for an e-book started because I'm about to leave on a trip to South Africa, and we're on a deadline, so I need to keep working while I'm away. The Programming Python book is NOT small. So no problems, I thought. Let me just find an e-book or a pdf of this.

Hunting around for a while led me to Safari tech books online. They seem to have hooked up with O'Reilly to provide electronic copies of O'Reilly books. The problem is that these can only be read online.

I personally favour dead tree format books, but in this case I'd like something electronic. While Safari attempts to provide that, it doesn't help when you're in a country like South Africa. Broadband is almost non-existant and local phone calls to connect to your ISP have just gone up by something like 27%. This makes reading books on the Internet a VERY expensive exersize.

With all the recent furor over the e-book tool produced by Dmitry Skylarov's employers, I thought that there were loads of these things out there that were at risk from Evil Pirates.

So two questions...

  • Where can I buy or rent a copy of the programming python book ?
  • What is all the fuss over the e-book copy protection tool about ?


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Would you use electronic books?
o Yes 46%
o No 22%
o When I'm travelling 15%
o Never - The publishers are evil spawn of satan 15%

Votes: 89
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Related Links
o Safari tech books online
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We have the pirates. Now where are the e-books ? | 21 comments (21 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
irc.bookwarez.net (3.55 / 9) (#1)
by bc on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 07:45:48 AM EST

You should try #bw on irc.bookwarez.net. They have just about everything (they are especially comprehensive with technical books) and the bots are easy to use. I really reccomend it for all your ebook needs.

♥, bc.
Don't want Warez (3.00 / 2) (#2)
by Builder on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 07:51:38 AM EST

I'm looking for something a bit more legit, but thanks for the post :)

Be nice to your daemons
[ Parent ]
Well (4.25 / 4) (#3)
by bc on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 07:53:30 AM EST

Buy the hardback, then get the warez. what's wrong with that?

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]
RE: Well (4.33 / 3) (#4)
by Builder on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 08:08:47 AM EST

I'm still trying to work out how I feel about that. On the one hand I've already bought the product in one format, so why not. On the other hand, if I download warez, then the publisher has no incentive to work with me to supply content in a format that I want.
Be nice to your daemons
[ Parent ]
What's the problem? (4.60 / 5) (#10)
by Guncrazy on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 09:46:32 AM EST

I have no problem with owning "warez" if I own the original. If I own a CD, I rip it to .mp3 or .wma. I've converted a lot of the movies I own on laserdisc and VHS to Divx or .wmv. If I have a program on CD-ROM that I need to use frequently, I dupe the CD with CloneCD and use the copy. I'm currently converting several books of mine into .pdf format.

Owners of intellectual property want to prevent copying to prevent loss of revenue due to piracy. I can understand that.

However,as a consumer who has paid to use that intellectual property, I want to be able to copy to prevent loss of use due to damage or format obsolesence.

Finding the balance between these two needs is a conundrum that has stumped smarter people than me. Personally, I think the best system is the one we've always had in place: copy protection is invented, cracked, reinvented, recracked, ad infinitum. For this reason, it is my fervent prayer that every congressman have a herpetic hemorrhoid for each letter in the DMCA, until it is repealed or found unconstitutional.

Race is irrelevant 99.999% of the time. And the 0.001% of the time it is relevant, someone is looking for a donated organ.
[ Parent ]

And they have it now? (4.50 / 6) (#13)
by Pac on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 10:41:38 AM EST

The incentive, I mean.

Lost in their mortal fear of millions upon million of dishonest consumers ripping them off, the content guardians does not seem so eager to "work with you" now. The only way to educate them on new technologies is by example, as Napster did and the Gnutella nets are doing for music.

I have ripped almost every CD I own and found elsewhere mp3s and oggs of every vinyl I own. Now I can listen to my own music in my own computer. And all that without taking anyone's money, since have already paid the artists for their music (and they haven't had to perform any additional service for me, I translated the format all by myself).

I think that what is being suggested is equivalent of you buying the book, deciding you like it very much and a trip to South Africa will probably ruin its cover, photocopying it and bringing the copy with you. If you don't give the copy away, what harm has been done?

Evolution doesn't take prisoners

[ Parent ]
Supply and Demand (5.00 / 5) (#14)
by csmacd on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 10:47:52 AM EST

Vendors (like this publisher) can be a very funny beast.

Large numbers of people downloading electronic copies of a book suggests to me that there is demand for electronic copies, or that the book is overpriced.

However, I was in a meeting with RandomLargeCorporation(tm), and I asked about multiplatform support for one of their products. "I've been hearing that question for 4 years, and nothing has been done yet, so I don't think we will support it..." was the response. My thought is if he has heard that question that much, there must be demand, demand equals potential sales.

Apparently they didn't go to the same business school I did....

I would go find the warez copy. You own the book, the publisher hasn't lost any profits, since the publisher doesn't offer an electronic product. IANAL, but this sounds a whole lot like a "fair use" situation to me. You have demand, they won't supply. You have the right to view the information because you purchased the book. Go find the supply or create it by scanning the book into a .pdf :-).

[ Parent ]
if you can find it there (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by Pink Daisy on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 01:08:27 PM EST

It will probably include information like who published the electronic version. If they exist but you don't know that, or if you are having difficulty tracking down who provides the electronic versions, that could help.

[ Parent ]
also #bw on irc.nullus.net (nt) (2.66 / 3) (#16)
by Woundweavr on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 01:09:42 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Thinking In Python (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by zephc on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 08:19:27 AM EST

try "Dive Into Python" at http://diveintopython.org/ and "Thinking In Python" http://www.mindview.net/Books/TIPython (though this latter link seems to have wigged out, some proxy error).

As far as i can tell with e-books, they tend to be encrypted PDFs (latest use 128-bit encryption I think). I have an e-book - of sorts - of the LotR trilogy + The Hobbit that I'm reading =] Writing to the file is off, but reading and printing are allowed.

also (none / 0) (#6)
by zephc on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 08:22:59 AM EST

I downloaded and tried out Skylarov's company's software on my LotR PDF, and it was able to get about 150 pages of well over 1300, before it started producing blank pages. Oh well =\

you can get the PDF cracker at elcomsoft.com. They also have tools that recover passwords for a LOT of other file types (.DOC, .XLS, and so on)

[ Parent ]
Silly (none / 0) (#19)
by maarken on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 01:29:55 AM EST

I have no idea why people leave printing on. It's really pretty simple to print out to a generic postscript driver, get a postscript file, and re-create the PDF out of that. *POOF*, I now have a fully usable PDF, no "hacking" software involved. Silly people...

Flip the symbols in my email.
[ Parent ]
Zope (none / 0) (#7)
by wiredog on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 08:36:17 AM EST

I'm working on a Zope project myself. Don't have to know much, if any, Python to do most anything in Zope, although it is nice to be able to read the source code. Zope is fun. Heck, even Slash has been (partially) re-implemented in Zope.

But, yeah, that Programming Python book is a monster, suitable for household defense.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"

Python bits (none / 0) (#8)
by Builder on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 08:46:27 AM EST

We're going to need quite a few python modules to accomplish what we're trying to do. It's all stuff that our team could readily produce in perl, but integrating perl into Zope seems a bit more klunky from what I've seen so far.

Zope seems to be a fairly cool product so far. I'm hoping I'll still like it when the project is over :)

Be nice to your daemons
[ Parent ]
Need for python programming. (none / 0) (#12)
by jolly st nick on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 10:32:30 AM EST

ZClasses with DTML and page templates eliminate probably 90% of the need for python programming.

For the rest, if you need to learn Python, the O'Reilly book is good, but you can also make good progress using the Python on-line docs.

The thing the book does better than the online docs is describe namespace issues. This is the #1 headache for both Zope and Python, so you will need to learn about it. Howevever, it is not complicated in priniciple, only in practice. So, I'd say you want to read the Python book sooner or later, but it doesn't have to be the first thing you do.

[ Parent ]

Safari ToS (5.00 / 4) (#9)
by FoxFireX on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 09:43:34 AM EST

I had looked at Safari earlier myself, and I think one part of the Terms of Service could help you out. From the You May section, item two reads: "download and store sections of a book's contents onto your hard drive or other storage device for your use only for as long as that book remains available under your current subscription, whereafter you shall delete any such portions off all hard drives or storage devices;"

Now, I'm no expert, but my interpretation would be that based on that, you should be free and clear to save at least some of the web page content and take that with you, so long as your Safari subscription is current. I don't use the service, so I could be totally off-base, but I think it's okay.

Yep, just "save as" (none / 0) (#17)
by cyberformer on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 02:56:51 PM EST

Safari doesn't use any kind of "copy-protection": you can simply save the relevant chapter(s) on to your hard drive as regular Web pages. And provided you maintain a subscription to that particular book, you're not even doing anything illegal. Of course, they might get suspicious if you start leeching entire books.

BTW, Safari is really designed as an online reference network, not for portable reading. When you're sitting at a desk, in front of a broadband Internet connection, it can be a lot faster to search for something on Safari than to get up and loook through several tomes of dead tree. It's also cheaper.

[ Parent ]

Pirates and Books == bookwarez? (2.50 / 6) (#11)
by X3nocide on Wed Feb 20, 2002 at 09:46:52 AM EST

Try #bookwarez, y0.

Forget IRC, go Usenet! (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by kingmanor on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 01:25:07 AM EST


nuff said

The fuss over e-book copy protection (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by 4iedBandit on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:34:22 PM EST

Others have already posted where to find e-books (pirated or otherwise)so I won't waste my time there.

Where the fuss over copy protection comes from is easey to answer. It comes from the same place it has in the music industry, (think Napster) and the same voices now expressing concern over video. The content creators are concerned that they are not going to be paid for all of the copies of their work.

This is most evident in on-line forums like The eBook Community mailing list. People in the industry are so paranoid of any percieved loss in revenue that they are willing to kill a market before it is truely born. You can even find quotes from publishers on that list who have said that they would not pay for any work that wasn't copy protected. In other words, they would willingly steal from someone in their own industry who did not use copy protection. It's really not all that suprising that the people who advocate copy protection are doing so because of their own nature.

What it all boils down to, is weather or not they believe that everyone is trying to cheat them. The end result: in trying to prevent a small portion of their market from pirating the work, they actually wind up encouraging piracy from the market segments that are willing to pay.

Buy a product that is inconvienient to use because of the copy protection, or grab a perfectly good, unprotected pirate copy for free?

Now this doesn't even address the issue of cost. I for one will not pay hard cover, dead tree prices for an eBook, yet that is exactly what some publishers are charging. The good news is that there are some publishers who understand the new medium and are willing to take a chance on it to grow their business like Baen Books. What's even more encouraging is that individual authors are starting to discover that they can sell directly to their audience and best of all, their eBooks never go out of print.

Buy it in South Africa (none / 0) (#21)
by I am Jack's username on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 04:10:25 PM EST

If you want to learn it from the book while you are here in SA, just buy it here. It should be easy to buy in local cities with international airports.

I'm about to leave on a trip from South Africa via Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, and Malii, to Senegal; and will be taking The pocket Green book; Let the people govern; Language, truth and logic; a French/English dictionary; and some sf. I should probably leave Gödel, Escher, Bach and The satanic verses for when I come back :)
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

We have the pirates. Now where are the e-books ? | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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