Stripping DRM From OverDrive Media Console EBooks


[Armin Tamzarian’s] local library recently started lending eBooks via the OverDrive Media Console system. He checked out a couple of books, which got him thinking about how the copy protection scheme was implemented. He wondered what recourse users had if they wanted to view a book they have already checked out on a different, or unsupported piece of hardware.

His research centers around Adobe’s ADEPT digital rights management scheme, which is used to protect the books offered on loan by OverDrive. The topic is broken down into three parts, starting with an introduction to the EPUB file structure, the OverDrive Media Console, as well as the aforementioned ADEPT DRM scheme.

The second part takes a close look at the OverDrive Media Console itself, where he uses the ineptkey and ineptepub utilities written by [I♥CABBAGES] to pull the RSA cipher keys from the EPUB data he uncovered. When he then tries to strip the ADEPT DRM layer from his books however, he discovers that OverDrive is using a non-compliant version of the ADEPT standard, which renders existing tools useless.

The final part of [Armin’s] discussion digs even deeper into the OverDrive Console’s inner workings, where he finds that the OverDrive Media Console stores quite a bit of information in an SQLite database. After a bit of digging, he finds all the data he needs to strip the DRM from his books. [Armin] also took the time to wrap all of his findings up into a neat little tool called OMCStrip, which as you may have guessed, strips the DRM from ADEPT-protected eBooks with ease.

18 thoughts on “Stripping DRM From OverDrive Media Console EBooks

  1. Right on! I’ve wanted to take advantage of the ebooks at the library for ages, but the Overdrive crap and Linux don’t get along. If I can download the books on a Windows box and strip the DRM, it might finally be a reason to buy an e-book reader!

  2. I use overdrive a lot, and I toyed with the idea of doing this myself. But, I think overdrive as an idea is great, and even if it isn’t as convenient as it could be, it will only be able to keep existing if publishers feel that it works. As soon as the system becomes worthless, you won’t be able to get books from your public library anymore because the publishers wont be willing to play ball. I, for one, didn’t want to be the guy to ruin the party, so I just read my books and “return” them when I’m done. If you really want to keep reading it after the return date, you can just change the date on your reader to 2010, and you have another year to read. Most e-readers (mine at least) judge wether or not you are allowed to read the book by comparing the “return date” in the file against the system clock.

  3. 1. Removing DRM is illegal ( so what)
    2. There’s scripts available online that’ll remve DRM in a matter of second.
    3. The upcoming DMCA takedown order along with the associated press it’ll generate will be sufficient to make this one of the most viewed pages online.

    The DMCA’s attempts to silence this stuff only makes its sou d resonante even louder. DDMCA, don’t bother fighting. You may win the battle, but you will lose the war.

  4. This is really cool if you have one, but really sucks if you make a living off book sales..

    I’m sure I’m clueless though…Nobody loses money when their works just get copied and distributed..that makes a lot of sense..

  5. Problem is ebooks are horribly overpriced. technology removed the cost of printing,binding,shipping,and stocking books yet the price does not go down. And the ones that are the publishers have the gall to tell us that printing,binding,shipping and stocking is only $1.00

    Stuff it in your bums! 50% discount. THAT is what the greedy butt-hats at the publishers need to start at. Plus I’m restricted to what devices support it… No thanks.

    so I rip all DRM off. It gives me freedom. Like the last ebook I bought, I read it and I’m done with it. if I did not crack the DRM I would not have been able to give it to a friend.

    DRM is not designed to stop copying. It’s designed to stop freedom, stop lending, and stop the Used book market.

  6. What baffles me is how shortsighted the e-book publishers are. Physical book publishers get into the e-book business, but then they realize they’re competing with themselves. Then, rather than jumping wholeheartedly into their best chance for leaving expensive physical supply chains behind, they approach this new revenue stream with such lack of enthusiasm it threatens to abort the baby before it’s conceived.

    Meanwhile, the only people with the technical knowledge to understand how dumb DRM is waste time bleating about corporate greed. Maximizing value to shareholders is literally their only purpose; they have no responsibility to do what’s best for the public. The invisible hand of the market is supposed to take care of that. Your outrage is better directed at the politicians who turned this country into a corporate oligarchy, or the economic system used to justify doing so.

  7. This no longer seems to work, as the ZLICENSESTR data in the SQL database is no longer a straight bit of XML, it is a block of ASCII data, probably an encrypted or otherwise processed version of the original XML data? Anyway, I haven’t had much luck in decoding it at all.

  8. It seems to be easy to strip Adept from ePubs. What about PDFs? “I love cabbages” did it and posted the result on his blog, but he then it all disappeared. It appears that the long arm of Adobe reached out and squashed him. Is there anybody talented and brave enough to find a way to strip Adept from PDFs?

    1. One could simply copy the text from a pdf, paste it to new text file, html, latex, lyx, writer document, or other, then repeat with images, captions, quotes, etc., creating a new file with no DRM, then print as a PDF. It’d be a bit of work for files with many hundreds of pages, but a replicated PDF would not have any DRM.

      I’ve done it with OCR PDF files which have no highlightable text to copy, so I had to type it out manually. It’s a bit of a chore, but great for boning up one’s typing skills :o) … and the new PDF, when printed, is minuscule in size compared to an OCR version.

  9. Does anyone know where Overdrive (web version or app) stores downloaded files? The web version usually allows me to get the acsm file (and then all is good); but some books don’t seem to offer that option?

  10. hi!

    SO THIS ARTICLE SAYS ” [Armin] also took the time to wrap all of his findings up into a neat little tool called OMCStrip, which as you may have guessed, strips the DRM from ADEPT-protected eBooks with ease.”

    But i can’t find this tool here, or on any page the links lead to.
    Can anyone please direct me?

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