View Full Version : Q. Audible DirectShow specifics

10-03-2005, 11:19 AM

Audible Inc. issued a DMCA Cease & Desist (http://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread.php?t=12620) notice against this very forum thread. This thread contained pinned messages from dBpoweramp&*blooper*8217;s forum, from independent people, these messages were in effect Audible's own customers. The thread contained step by step instructions on how Audible&*blooper*8217;s directshow filter codec could be used with dBpoweramp. To protect these individuals from being sued by Audible (and ourselves) we have removed the posts, Illustrate are complying under Safe Harbor provisions.

Safe Harbor works like this: one of our users posts instructions, or a link, Audible can issue a DMCA request once they find such a post, we must then act in a timely fashion (a couple of working days) to remove such.

Illustrate does not agree with the DMCA&*blooper*8217;s wide ranging ambiguity, the posts on this forum were similar to issuing a message to &*blooper*8216;Hold the left shift key when inserting a copy protected audio CD&*blooper*8217;, such simple instructions are not allowed with the DMCA, as it provides details on how to circumvent copy protection.

Our Thoughts

It is incredible that Audible would issue a DMCA notice about instructions on how to use one of their own programs (to be clear Illustrate have never created Audible book cracking software). It is also quite timely that a week after Apple has announced it is to remove the DRM from their iTunes Music Store catalogue, freeing audio from DRM chains and anti-fair use provisions, Audible is doing the opposite &*blooper*8211; stepping up their protection of DRM, thoughts of Dinosaurs trying to survive in a changed environment spring to mind.

Illustrate also notes the double standards at play here (where Audible&*blooper*8217;s own program will burn an unprotected Audio CD from protected audio content, which can be ripped to any unprotected format), yet if our own CD Writer (http://www.dbpoweramp.com/cdwriter.htm) was used to do the same (with instructions from this thread), then Audible class it as a DCMA / copyright violation...hypocrisy.

Around 3 years ago, Illustrate implemented an iPod plug-in for Sveta Portable Audio (http://www.dbpoweramp.com/sveta-portable-audio.htm), the iPod is able to play Audible books without modification, all it needs to know is the length of the book (in seconds), we emailed audible many times asking for code to do this, we were stonewalled by audible, despite them at the time giving this simple code to one of our competitors, effectively locking us out of the iPod audio book market. By removing these messages, once again we are unable to offer audio book support on the iPods.

It could be that Audible are just using Chilling Effects to stifle this free speech, we are not going to throw $xxx,xxx at it to find out, supporting limited closed formats are not high on Illustrate's agenda.

It is Illustrates view that copyright protection laws have skewed too much in-favor of copyright holders, with little or no fair use doctrine, these are 'bought' laws from big corporations, bought by party contributions. Audible&*blooper*8217;s locked books will not fall into the public domain after copyright has expired, copyright grants temporary protection, yet, Audible&*blooper*8217;s DRM does not automatically switch off after this time has elapsed. Those files remain locked forever. DRM offers nothing to the customer (stopping fair use), vendors use it to lock customers into their technology, whilst at the same time, all DRM protected tracks are available in pirated form, which is proof enough that DRM does not work, Apple figured it out, when is Audible going to?

Crux of the Matter

Audible created a DirectShow filter for audible books (.aa), it was called AudibleMediaPlayerFilter.exe (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=AudibleMediaPlayerFilter.exe&aq=f&oq=&aqi=), this filter worked in DirectShow, primarily aimed at Windows Media Player. What is DirectShow?, it is part of DirectX and allows filters to be written that will work in any audio program, most filters have to be installed separately. Microsoft designed DirectShow to be open and allow one filter to work with any DirectShow compatible program (such as Windows Media Player, or even dBpoweramp: [ we have our own DirectShow Codec (http://www.dbpoweramp.com/codec-central-directshow.htm) ].

This Audible Media Player Filter, was written by Audible, Illustrate never hacked this software, or changed it any anyway, we use DirectShow filters as they were designed by Microsoft to be used. Illustrate have never hosted any of Audible&*blooper*8217;s copyrighted programs.