Archive for the ‘howtos’ Category


Here’s another talk from the re:publica 2012 conference in Berlin. In this one, Rick Falkvinge elaborates on how the Pirate Parties organise themselves in a swarmlike fashion.



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ACTA update

Polish parliamentarians protesting against ACTA

The dreaded Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) nudged forward on Thursday as the governments of 22 EU nations, along with the EU itself, signed on the dotted line in a ceremony in Tokyo (I posted an introductory video about the agreement earlier here). The remaining governments are expected to sign in the near future, after which all the major negotiation parties have signed the treaty.

This does not, however, yet mean that the agreement will take effect, as it still needs to be ratified in both the national parliaments and the European parliament. The vote in the European parliament is expected to be held in June, and a “no” in Brussels would apparently moot any decisions made in national parliaments. So, this gives us still some time to rally against the agreement. In Poland, tens of thousands of people have already taken to the streets earlier this week to protest against the signing of the treaty (this, of course, did not stop the Polish representative from going ahead and signing anyway).

In other interesting news, a French MEP in charge of investigating the agreement for the European parliament has resigned from his position, denouncing the non-transparency of the negotiation process, calling the whole process a “charade”. It looks like significant opposition to the agreement is finally rising in Europe. What we need now is relentless campaigning to push ACTA into the mainstream political discourse. The copyright industry and their stooges have done their utmost to slip the agreement through without anybody noticing, but we can make sure this is not going to happen. We won the SOPA/PIPA battle and we can win this one too.

As Rick Falkvinge points out, the promoters of the agreement have shown to be perfectly willing to lie through their teeth to push it through, so we need to counter this by distributing correct information in the media and also straight to the relevant parliamentarians. Here are some useful sources on ACTA:

EDRI has also put together a good howto for campaigning against ACTA with contact information for MEPs:

For those who are on Twitter, here’s an easy tool for tweeting MEPs:

La Quadrature du Net also has a howto:

Stopacta.info offers an infobox on ACTA for your website:

Then there’s this site set up by Polish activists:

Finally, there’s this petition that you can sign:

And another petition:

And yet another petition for the British:

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A number of high-profile websites, including Wikipedia, Reddit and BoingBoing, are going to black out on Wednesday, January 18 to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill that is currently in the US House of Representatives (and its Senate version). If you want to join in the protest, here’s a code that will allow you to easily black out your WordPress.com-blog. Simply add a Text-widget anywhere in the blog and paste the code below as its body text. This will place a black bar on top of the blog content with a link to americancensorship.org. You can adjust the size and the position of the bar to cover the area you want covered. If you want to black out your whole blog, put “100%” as the width and the height.

<a style="width:400px;height:100px;vertical-align:middle;text-align:center;background-color:#000;position:absolute;z-index:5555;top:0;left:0;background-image:url('http://americancensorship.org/images/stop-censorship-small.png');background-position:center center;background-repeat:no-repeat;" href="http://americancensorship.org"></a>

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Nina Paley has put together this excellent and practical guide for those who want to release their work, be it text, audio or video, Freely on the Internet. She argues that:

“Copy restrictions place a barrier between you, the artist, and most forms of support. By removing the barriers of copyright, you make it possible to receive money and other kinds of support from your audience, both directly and through distributors, thereby increasing your chances of success.”

And remember, by freeing your work, you also free yourself from the clutches of the copyright industry!

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This howto shows how to download eBooks using Adobe’s ADEPT DRM (Digital Rights Management) scheme on Linux and how to decrypt those books so that you can use your eBook viewer of choice to read them and copy them to any device you wish.

  1. To download content protected with ADEPT, we need the Adobe Digital Editions eBook viewer. Sadly there is no Linux version, so we need to run the Windows version with Wine. Get the Windows installer from here.
  2. Go to the folder where you downloaded the installer and run it with the command
    wine setup.exe
    After the installation, run Adobe Digital Editions straight from the installer or with the command
    wine ~/.wine/drive_c/"Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Digital Editions/digitaleditions.exe"
  3. In order to access DRM-protected content, you need to “authorize” your computer using the Adobe ID. You can get the ID by creating an account at the Adobe website here. Then in Adobe Digital Editions select “Authorize computer…” from the Library-menu and enter the ID and password.
  4. Now we can actually download the book. For this we need a file with the .acsm-extension. This file contains the necessary information for Adobe Digital Editions to locate and download the book. You’ll probably get this file by clicking on the download link your eBook vendor provided. Save the file to disk. Now load the file by dragging its icon on the Adobe Digital Editions window. Adobe Digital Editions should now start downloading the book. After the download has finished, quit Adobe Digital Editions.
  5. The DRM-protected pdf- or ePub-file should now be located in the folder ~/My Digital Editions. Next, we decrypt the DRM scheme. For this, we’ll use two Python-scripts: the key retrieval script ineptkey.pyw and the decryption script ineptpdf.pyw or ineptepub.pyw (depending on the file format). Copy the scripts into the same folder with the book. Unfortunately, as these scripts are for Windows and OSX only, we’ll again have to use Wine. To run the scripts, we need the Windows version of Python (get it from here) and the cryptography package PyCrypto (from here). The Python version should be at least 2.6 (I use 2.7 here, newer versions might work as well). Make sure that the PyCrypto version matches the Python one. Run the installers with the commands
    wine msiexec /i python-2.7.2.msi
    wine msiexec /i pycrypto-2.3.win32-py2.7.msi
    Now, go to the folder with the book and the scripts and run the first script with the command
    wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Python27/python.exe ineptkey.pyw
    This will create the file adeptkey.der in the same folder. Now, run the second script with
    wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Python27/python.exe ineptpdf.pyw
    wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Python27/python.exe ineptepub.pyw
    In the dialogue select the book as input file and name the output file what you like. Click on “Decrypt.”
  6. Voila! You should now have the decrypted pdf- or ePub-file in the ~/My Digital Editions folder.

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