How to: Copy text in iBooks [DRM be damned]

April 10, 2010

When it comes to digital right management (DRM), where there’s will, there’s a way. Given the contempt most people have this disruptive technology, folks can be quite focussed in keeping content owners on their digital toes.

MacFixIt reports that, because iBooks uses Apple’s FairPlay DRM to “protect” eBooks, text cannot be copied and pasted into other apps at least directly. Happily, there is a work around:

From your eBook, copy the text as you had before. Next, use the search function on the book. Paste the text into the search field and tap Search. You should come up with one entry (the one you highlighted). In the search field, select all the text and tap Copy. Now, go to Pages and you will be able to Paste the quoted text in your document.”

I don’t have any DRM’d books in my library, but have confirmed that one can freely copy and paste from Gutenberg Project ePubs titles, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Little Women, both of which are available free in the iBooks Store.

Of course, Apple will quickly block this work around and, probably just as quickly, fair use advocates will find another way to copy and paste from DRM’s ebooks.

Power to the people?

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