Hoist the jolly roger


The easiest way to strip DRM from Kindle books (and Barnes and Noble, Adobe Digital Content, etc) is with the free ebook software Calibre, DRM removal plugins, and a copy of the Kindle desktop software (PC/Mac). These directions are for Kindle, but will work with Barnes and Noble, Adobe Digital Editions, and older formats. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download Calibre, the the plugins, and the Kindle Desktop software.
  2. Unzip the contents of the plugin directory.
  3. Open up Calibre and click on “Preferences.”
  4. Navigate to “Plugins” under the “Advanced” section.
  5. Click “Load Plugin from file,” and select K3MobiDeDRM_v04.5_plugin.zip from the directory you just unzipped.
  6. Load up the Kindle app on your Mac or Windows computer and download all your books from Amazon.
  7. Navigate to either C:\Users\[your username]\Documents\My Kindle Content on Windows or [your username]\My Documents\My Kindle Content on Mac.
  8. Your books aren’t named in any meaningful way, so just drag all the *.azw files into Calibre.
  9. After a short wait (depending on the size of your library), Calibre will finish importing the books. Now you have a DRM-free backup of all your books on your computer.

It’s a little convoluted, but once you get the hang of it, Calibre is a solid way to backup all your purchased ebooks.

How to Remove DRM from Movies and TV Shows

Movies are slightly easier to remove DRM from then ebooks, but the process isn’t free. For this, we like Tunebite ($25) on Windows, or Noteburner M4V Converter ($50) on Mac. Both will cost you a little money, but removing DRM from video files downloaded from the likes of Amazon or iTunes is an incredibly simple process.

Alternately, you can record directly from your computer using a screen recording tool (any of these five will do). You will, of course, have to wait for the entire movie since it operates essentially like dubbing, but if you already use screen recording tools it’s a free option for backing up your movies.

As a few commenters have noted in the discussion, Requiem is also an excellent way to remove DRM from iTunes downloads. The process is pretty self-explanatory. Download a version of Requiem that corresponds to your version of iTunes, and open up the video files you want to remove the DRM with.

5 comments for “Hoist the jolly roger

  1. ivan
    November 8, 2012 at 16:25

    I should mention that Calibre is also an extremely good program for cataloguing all your e -books and, being open source, is free and you are also free to make donations.

    A good general e-book reader that will read ePub books, text files and html based books is CoolReader – another open source project.

  2. November 8, 2012 at 16:54

    Amazon give Kindle publishers the option of adding DRM to a book or not. I never bother.

  3. The Underdoug
    November 9, 2012 at 05:57

    More recent kindle publications don’t use straight-mapped characters in the sense of 1-byte of data = 1 discernible letter. Rather, they use glyphs (characters decomposed into constituent strokes) that are put back together to form a representation of a character. The upshot is that de-DRMing a kindle book for use on another device is a complete bugger and consequently I will only use open source or de-DRMed epub. I use a non-mainstream e-reader device that guarantees that someone 5000 miles away in Obamaland or wherever can’t tamper with my legitimate book collection at their convenience.

    The kindle may be a good package, but you are ceding control of your reading to Amazon. Amazon of course, know everything that you read because of intentional leaks (actually, a user feedback ‘feature’) in the OS. I don’t have Sky for the same reason: I am not prepared to have nice Mr Murdoch knowing what I choose to watch (mostly conspiraloon stuff these days since the ‘news’ is only notable for what it conceals, rather than what it reveals – a good trait in a woman perhaps, but not in information).

  4. The Underdoug
    November 9, 2012 at 11:00

    Kindle DRM is not always a simple matter to remove. More recent kindle publications use a glyph format (a glyph is a stroke of a definable shape on paper – multiple glyphs can be put together to form a character/letter) which also has to be OCR’d after decryption, with mixed results.

    I personally prefer legitimate epub on a non-mainstream ereader (PocketBookPro, thanks for asking) since it stops some remotely located admin halfway across the world deleting what’s mine (I won’t tolerate a situation where I do not have ultimate control of what’s on my device under any circumstances: so, no iphone, no Sky, no Kindle)

  5. November 9, 2012 at 19:46

    I too won’t put up with control of what I read and though I know Apple is an offender, for what I use the Mac for, it does not control my choice in any way.

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