A university professor just figured out a way to bypass Amazon Kindle’s digital rights security with his laptop, a set of LEGOs, and a little ingenuity.
Vienna University of Technology associate professor Peter Purgathofer built a device capable of automatically photographing the pages on an ebook and uploading them to the Internet using his Macbook’s built-in iSight camera and a robotics-based LEGO Mindstorms kit.
The LEGO kit holds the Kindle in front of the iSight camera and uses an automated hammer to press the spacebar-shutter button on the Macbook. Its next automated function presses a button on the Kindle to flip the page, where the process repeats itself. After each picture is taken, a program on the computer could automatically upload it to a cloud text-recognition program and build an entire book in a plain text document.
Any book downloaded via Amazon Kindle could then be made freely accessible to anyone interested free of charge – after a little bit of time.
“It ended being a reflection on the loss of long-established rights when you buy an e-book,” Purgathofer said in an email to All Thing D. “You make a copy of that book, but at eye-level, so that the result is not a stack of paper, but another e-book.”
“The owner isn’t even an owner anymore but rather a licensee of the book,” Purgathofer said.
Purgathofer states he hasn’t actually uploaded any pictures for fear of the legal implications, and that it was a private project unrelated to his academic work.