back to article No more DRM-free downloads as Amazon's ComiXology app set to disappear inside Kindle

Worrying changes are afoot for e-comics vendor ComiXology as Amazon finally gets round to asserting copy control – meaning no more downloads of unprotected comics, even if you've paid for them. It looks as if Amazon subsidiary Iconology Inc – which trades as ComiXology – is finally being subsumed, eight years after Bezos' …

  1. ShadowSystems

    I always keep local copies.

    I paid for it, I'm keeping a copy of it, and there's SFA the other party can do to prevent me from using my property as I see fit.

    Plug in the archive drive, copy files to primary drive, unplug archive drive, move copies from primary to SD card/other device, then start listening.

    I use a rather well known bit of FOSS software to strip out the DRM, save the final version, and consume my purchased media any damned way, on any damned device, at any damned time I choose.

    I'm not selling copies of my copies so you don't get to say what else I do with my copies. Now take your DRM & piss right off...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I always keep local copies.

      It's calibre and DeDRM, FFS!

      Downvoted for your consume my...

      1. CrazyOldCatMan

        Re: I always keep local copies.

        It's calibre and DeDRM

        Seconded. I never upload the files anywhere so why shouldn't I convert them to a form that's more usable? (Ebooks in general I mean - I buy Kindle books, de-drm them and convert them to epub using Calibre).

        Ironically, I then read them on my Amazon Fire tablet but using FBReader rather than the Kindle app - transferred using the Calibre Companion app from my Calibre library on my Mac..

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: I always keep local copies.

      It's a good thing you do, how long before Comics as a service rears it's ugly feckin' head?

      It seems to me that one of the aspects of the New Normal is that you will never own anything but just keep paying for it forever.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: I always keep local copies.

        Marvel already offer a digital-subscription service.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I always keep local copies.

          Is that bit of Marvel also owned by Disney now? If so, no surprise.

    3. Trixr

      Re: I always keep local copies.

      But will that work with the comics? Since it's a different file format, it may well not work so well.

      I do the same backup/copy-to-ereader (I prefer Kobo) process with my regular ebooks, although Amazon are making it increasingly difficult.

  2. Mightyflub

    Easy to download your drm free backups

    Grab the browser extension Downthemall. Go to your first backup page on the Comixology website and hit the downthemall button.

    In the downthemall window there's a box labelled "fast filtering". Put either cbz or pdf (Depending on your preference) and hit the download button. I think it downloads to the default download location for your browser by default. Once it's done check the download folder to make sure it's worked and if it has repeat for every page.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy to download your drm free backups

      This might be worth a go as well: https://github.com/Cortys/comic-backup

      1. Long John Silver
        Pirate

        Re: Easy to download your drm free backups

        Github is fast becoming a no-go area for anything copyright rentiers choose to find objectionable.

        It's time for extensive use of Darknets for storing backups. Live versions of code repositories might be mirrored using onion sites. It's to be hoped the entire open source movement regarding tools inimical to rentiers and/or viewed with disfavour by governments migrated from the open Internet.

        1. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

          Re: Easy to download your drm free backups

          It's been taken down once (I gave a talk for Open Rights Group about it at BarCamp).

          It got put back up fairly quickly.

          It does require the web based viewer though, and I'm unsure how much longer AWS will keep it around.

          So, no more money from me !

        2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

          Re: Easy to download your drm free backups

          Of course it is. GitHub is owned by Microsoft, and they've long been against anybody doing anything, anywhere that they're not paying somebody for (and, for preference, that someone should either be Microsoft, or someone Microsoft can claim an intermediary fee from).

          That's just the nature of capitalism though, sadly.

  3. Dwarf Silver badge

    DRM

    Why is it that Digital Rights Management, never considers the rights of the customer. After all, without customers, they don't have a business.

    1. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: DRM

      The customer has the right to pay for the license. If you want to own a book and not care about DRM then buy it in paper form. Or print it.

      Before the downvote brigade comes, I hate DRM as much as any Reg reader, but there's a clear distinction between licensing and owning something. With digital media (software, music, movies, books and such) you just buy a license, you don't own said media.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: DRM

        And some of us refuse to license such material. Point blank.

        Sometimes to the extent of scanning and OCRing books *they already own*.

        Of course, you may prefer to license something which can be taken away from you at the whim of the publisher/distributor, even though you thought you bought it. Your choice.

        1. Alumoi Silver badge

          Re: DRM

          Where did I say I prefer to license? I just pointed out the elephant in the room which everybody seems to ignore: you don't own digital media . It's your fault if you think you own it. And by the number of downvotes (so far), many people think so.

          Let me quote myself: If you want to own a book and not care about DRM then buy it in paper form. Or print it.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: DRM

            Sadly, English English fails to differentiate 'you, the person to whom I am responding' and 'you, a generic group of people'.

            I was agreeing with your point, Alumoi, and from me you get an upvote.

      2. Long John Silver
        Pirate

        Re: DRM

        The distinction exists only in the realm of physical goods. I am not discussing law but instead reality.

        Try as people might, digital sequences cannot be forced to behave as if physical entities. Business models based on that assumption eventually shall fail.

        The alternative is abandonment of the spurious notion of 'intellectual property" and replacement by entitlement to attribution. Under this regimen, people believing they can produce something other people might find informative or entertaining must seek patronage from anticipated admirers. In days gone by, e.g. the time of Leonardo da Vinci, patrons were exclusively wealthy individuals and institutions. The Internet makes patronage in small gobbets from ordinary people accessible. Crowd funding is one means. Its reach is global.

        Reputation, this suggesting ability to produce pleasing works, becomes the only commodity regarding digitally expressible culture. People creative within a particular cultural genre compete with each other in an open market. Completed (digital) works have no definable monetary value. Yet their cultural worth - on metrics beyond the ken of copyright rentiers - assists building reputation and funding to support further works.

        For instance, a would-be author must offer up his works freely in hope of gathering a following of patrons. A publisher is not necessary but specialist skills may be hired to assist. The facilitator would have no claim of ownership over the finished work.

        The present tangle of ownership claims and distribution rights would collapse. No longer can supposed 'ownership' be protected. Anyone may derive from another's works. Thus it is reputation which needs protection from unscrupulous operators. With little, if any, change current laws can protect against misrepresentation (e.g. absence of attribution) and offer civil law succour and in some instances the weight of criminal law.

        Thereby, a host of rentiers living off past glories (generally in fact those of others) and distributors enjoying monopoly rights would disappear. Cutting out middlemen would hugely reduce costs of accessing digitally expressed culture. From thence it follows that individual and national discretionary disposable income would no longer be taxed by an idle rentier class of businesses. Released funds not only provide scope for offering patronage but also many other opportunities cultural and otherwise.

        There would remain a modest place for some distributors. Although not possessing exclusive rights they could draw income from offering 'added value' services and goods connected to the free-at-source digital cultural artefacts they hold. Some such might be extensive annotated archives and reliable high speed Internet access. No great imagination is needed to come up with more add-ons tailored to specific cultural niches.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: DRM

          What about one-hit-wonders, one-and-done? Can still happen, but crowd will be pissed once baiting by a hit lured their patronage, with no future media of worth generated.

        2. The Basis of everything is...
          Holmes

          Re: DRM

          If I write a book, in all honesty nobody is going to read it, even for free.

          But if through some curse/miracle I become an author, then I have two choices:

          1. I write maybe a book or two every few years while doing other jobs to earn money to live. And the books provide an occasional bonus, but not one I can rely on.

          2. Somebody pays me to write, which means I can now write maybe four books a year as it's now my job. And for me to get paid to write, other people need to pay money to read my books.

          As a reader, if I buy a real book, I can sell it. I can lend it to friend. I can eat or burn it if I so choose. Either way, it's mine to do what I like but once it's gone it's gone. If I want to give it away again and read it again I have to buy another one, thus paying the author again. And the printer, bookshop etc. My generosity it truly out of my own pocket and not at the expense of anyone else.

          With PDF and the like, I can make as many copies as I like and still do what I like with every copy, at no cost to myself. I am of course ignoring copyright and courts in this example, but they only act after the event and the author still doesn't get any money after I'm sent down. If this is taken to the extreme, any author will only ever "sell" one copy.

          Whoever can solve this problem to allow you have digital versions of books (with all the advantages of surviving being dropped in puddles or just plain worn out) with the simple ease of use of the genuine dead tree article and none of the customer unfriendly DRM / rental schemes we have now is going make a fortune.

          Charlie Stross did a good series of articles [ see www.antipope.org - the domain is a typo and long-running joke and nothing to do with popes] on the real world of being an author, the effort involved and the whole process from idea to print and the full reasoning I've attempted to paraphrase from memory above. He also hates DRM, has free stories as well as info on the ones he'd really like you to buy - and I'd recommend you do too. Preferably from your local bookshop.

          And if you think authors could live off voluntary donations and good karma, just look at all the people who wrote shareware or write free software today and how few of them can actually do it without being employed to do so - another very topical discussion in these august pages. I'm not a programmer either.

          1. Trixr

            Re: DRM

            Tor Books does non-DRM publishing, and they use Amazon as one of their distributors. They may not be the hugest publishing house, but they seem to do fine. There are other small "indy" publishers that do similar.

            Certainly not disputing it'd be harder to turn a profit, but I don't think it's all doom and gloom either. For example, even though I know Tor don't DRM stuff, I also don't go torrenting their works, both for convenience and the fact I want to pay people for their labour.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There's a clear distinction between licensing and owning something

        You're right, and most visitors to this site will understand that.

        The problem arises with less technical people who see a button labelled "Buy" and assume that is what they are doing.

      4. Trixr

        Re: DRM

        While this is accurate in a factual sense, it's ridiculous in a practical sense.

        A) the cost of a "licensed" ebook is not significantly cheaper than a paper copy, factoring in printing and shipping and distribution costs. In fact, I'd guess there is likely no actual cost differential applied to the book based on its licensing at all. Not that they provide a breakdown, of course.

        B) The concept of "licensing" with no specified period also strikes me as ridiculous. I wonder how it works with author contracts - I presume they're not written with "Amazon gets to license this forever". If not, then the license interval should be no greater than the period that the publisher has licensed it to Amazon, and that should be stated clearly up front.

        I'd even be fine if a work was released with DRM, which was then removable after, say, five years. Most profit in a book is generated within a year of its release - people go nuts over new books by favourite authors (I'm guilty myself - I have three authors who I effectively "autobuy" as soon as a new book of theirs comes out). Especially if you look at it in terms of the secondhand book market - no profit there, except for secondhand book dealers. People would still buy non-DRMed books - they do already, from some publishers - because they would not be bothered with the hassle of obtaining them by "other means" if they're already in their favourite app.

        In any case, I pay about the same for DRM vs non-DRM ebooks (e.g. Tor books) distributed by Amazon, so I have zero qualms about stripping the DRM and transferring it to my own ereader. I personally get incredibly frustrated by book piracy, since I would actually like my fave authors (and the editors etc) to be paid for their work, but I feel like publishers get around that anyway in the same way that supermarkets mark up goods to cover "shrinkage". Ideally, of course, people would pay a fair sum for the books they own, and if more people did that, the less they'd cost for everyone.

    2. A. Coatsworth
      Unhappy

      Re: DRM

      What are these "customers" you talk about?

      In the brave new world of digital goods, there are only thieves, and thieves coaxed into paying. And thieves are not entitled to "rights", do they?

      (wish I could use the Joke icon)

  4. teknopaul Silver badge

    While we still let market leaders buy up the competition they can do what they like, because no alternative lasts very long.

  5. YetAnotherLocksmith

    Low cost NFTs minted on a 3rd gen blockchain and sent direct to customers. Theirs forever. Add a 2% kickback in the smart contract so the author/publisher gets a little money every time it is sold on.

    No more reliance on Amazon or whoever.

    (Notice: I'm involved with Cardano)

  6. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "the blog warns that the company's own app will be going away soon"

    The oldest book in my library is dated 1676. It's still in pretty good nick and I can read it any time I want without forking out any dosh or waffling over access rights. There's a lot to be said for good solid paper and print, even if it's 'legacy'.

    Oddly, although a legacy was once something you looked forward to inheriting, now it's apparently something you want to scrap.

  7. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    A counterproductive nuisance?

    DRM for eBooks is an irritation but nothing more than a circumventable nuisance.

    People parting with money to obtain access to e-publications ought refuse to regard their payment as nothing more than rent. Tools exist to liberate e-books. Sooner the broad population becomes aware of this, the better. Rental of culture (both 'high' and 'low') is a business model best relegated to oblivion via mass user disobedience.

    In another context, at least one leading publisher of academic journals offers non-subscribers an elaborate set of options. For a ridiculous sum they may purchase a copy and download it. For lesser sums they may 'rent' online access for specified times. Of course the savvy go off to Sci-Hub but presumably there are plenty of takers for purchase of ephemeral digital sequences and for the privilege of reading online.

  8. hitmouse

    Amazon and Comixology have not figured out how to deal with customers who have Comixology content from USA (odiginal sole option), and Kindle book content from anothrr Amazon store e.g. Amazon.co.uk

    Apparently they are unable to transfer content from one store to another.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      They probably haven't take into account Comixology account holders who neither have nor want an Amazon account either.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They’ll never catch me alive!

    I have archive boxes crammed with actual, vintage, printed comics going back to the 1960s.

    Bwahahahahahaaaaa.

    Mine, all mine!

  10. SuperGeek

    Ahem!

    *cough*getcomics.info*cough*

    Sorry, a frog in my throat there!

  11. itzman

    DRM effectively ruined ebooks

    I really wanted to have an ebook collection. DRM means all I had was access to someone elses collection until they revoked the privilege.

    I now am back to buying paper

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where there's a will

    Leaving aside "techno liberterianism" (if it's on the internet, it must be free), and the forced imposition of it where it once wasn't present.

    I'm no lawyer.

    But if you buy a song on Apple Music, or download an eBook from Amazon, you have absolutely no property right in that "thing".

    If you buy the physical book (I can't say CD because Sony), suddenly, DRM stops being a problem.

    There's two other reasons why, when costs to need balance out, to stick with analog imho.

    So Sony's eBook service went belly up a few years back. Those with hundreds of paid for "books", suddenly found that their "license to use" expired overnight.

    Second is one of the Beatles, McCartney possibly. So he had a library from Apple Music he wanted to bequeath to his daughter or somesuch. He was informed that the license was individual, couldn't be left in his will etc.

    Torrenting like it was '99 because it's "free" and you're "Sticking it to the Man" just doesn't wash. If you really value the thing, pay for the physical where possible. DRM remains the root of all evil.

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