Is there a way to share Play Books within a company who uses Google Apps for work?



  • We at the company have Google Apps for Work so we get to share documents as expected. That said, there are some nice ebooks we would like to have as "the company's reference library" just as hardcover books. However, any mention of Play Store assets within the GApW environment is conspicuously absent and a quick overview of Google Play for Work suggests it only lets people to get the apps, but not the content.

    If there isn't any way to do it, it will be rather disappointing, considering that online collaboration and sharing is all the rage within Google. Do you know an alternative? So far the closest thing would be to download it via Kindle since books can be shared via a corporate lending plan, but that involves adding Kindle accounts for everyone involved on top of the already existing Goggle accounts.



  • My guess: download the epub or pdf version and share it like any other document.

    Download & transfer books to eReaders

    You might have to figure out how to break the DRM, though.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    A year or two ago I looked in to this same thing for the same reason and I could not find anything (legally) available that would do so. I checked with the Google Play and Amazon Kindle team and no go. They told me it was not even on the roadmap.

    As an employer with a decentralized office arrangement (my employees work from home or wherever they want to) it would have been great for our usage. No go though. Hopefully that has changed though.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    legally

    If you obtained the ebook legally, and your intended use of the ebook doesn't violate your license (e.g. home vs. professional use, single person vs. distributed to multiple people simultaneously) then converting them into any format that you can use, including removing or cracking any DRM that prevents you from using them, falls under fair use.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @anotherusername said:

    removing or cracking any DRM that prevents you from using them, falls under fair use.

    Are you certain about that?



  • @anotherusername said:

    If you obtained the ebook legally, and your intended use of the ebook doesn't violate your license (e.g. home vs. professional use, single person vs. distributed to multiple people simultaneously) then converting them into any format that you can use, including removing or cracking any DRM that prevents you from using them, falls under fair use.

    That's not true in the US. I don't think it's clearly untrue either, it falls into that nebulous area of, "not tested in enough court cases to be sure". Time-shifting is certainly Fair Use, the US Supreme Court has ruled on that. Format-shifting, what you're proposing, is not.

    In any case, if the format-shifting involves breaking a copyright-enforcing device, the DMCA comes into effect and there's another hurdle. The DMCA makes bypassing a copyright-protection technology for any purpose illegal.

    This site seems to have a good overview of the issue.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @blakeyrat said:

    Format-shifting, what you're proposing, is not. In any case, if the format-shifting involves breaking a copyright-enforcing device, the DMCA comes into effect and there's another hurdle. The DMCA makes bypassing a copyright-protection technology for any purpose illegal.

    Even that is not entirely true. Some cases have ruled that ripping DVDs (bypassing their DRM in the process) is fair use in that you are making a backup of something you own.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    Are you certain about that?

    @blakeyrat said:

    That's not true in the US.

    You're probably referring to...

    **17 U.S. Code § 1201(a)(1)(A)** No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

    ...which appears to be a blanket ban on circumventing any DRM, for any purpose at all. But look a bit further...

    **17 U.S. Code § 1201(c)(1)** Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use, under this title.

    There you go. Nothing in 17 U.S. Code § 1201 affects your right to fair use.

    Now, that doesn't say for sure that courts will see it that way, but it's right there in black and white text.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    Even that is not entirely true. Some cases have ruled that ripping DVDs (bypassing their DRM in the process) is fair use in that you are making a backup of something you own.

    The "you're allowed a backup" thing is widely-repeated among software pirates, I've never seen an actual citation of it being true. This page says that it is not. EDIT: Oh in the comments, the author points out it's legal to circumvent DRM in order to back-up computer software. But only software, not ebooks. Also LifeHacker points out that virtually every court decision in the past has ignored 1201c1 about Fair Use.

    There is a verdict that consumers can legally edit-out scenes of movies they own, which implicitly requires breaking DVD DRM. So.

    @anotherusername said:

    There you go. Nothing in 17 U.S. Code § 1201 affects your right to fair use.

    Well fair enough, but since format shifting isn't considered Fair Use that doesn't really help us, does it?

    I mean, do what you like, but.



  • Well, there's this:



  • Look.

    People have to make their own decisions.

    I don't want to be Super Legal Debate Man because that's fucking boring.



  • Actually the really weird part of that whole lawsuit was that it apparently took place in some bizarre alternate reality where cracking DRM for the purpose of fair use is not the least bit controversial at all.

    Nowhere did anyone, at any point, apparently try to argue that Abbey House's users were cracking DRM and that's illegal all by itself. The lawsuit contended that:

    1. Oh noes, you told the users how to crack the DRM and now they'll be able to illegally share those files because now they're no longer protected by DRM! You're helping them infringe copyright! And...
    2. You signed a contract saying that you were going to DRM-encrypt our intellectual property so that your users couldn't do that, ever! You're in breach of our contract!

    And the ruling basically stated that:

    1. No, there is no proof of actual illegal sharing resulting from telling users how to crack the DRM, and if there's no evidence that any of the users actually did, then there can be no accusation that you helped them; anyway, you weren't telling users to illegally share the files, just to unlock them for fair use. But...
    2. Yes, you did agree to that, and yes, telling users how to crack the DRM is breach of contract.

    It's like everyone involved just assumed that cracking DRM for fair use is totally okay and legal. Which it should be, but there's enough legal controversy about it that it's hard to believe they didn't try for it.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @anotherusername said:

    It's like everyone involved just assumed that cracking DRM for fair use is totally okay and legal. Which it should be

    You get no argument from me on this one. I agree completely. But I am not willing to stake a lawsuit on it. For business purposes, I wouldn't think about it.

    For personal usage... That's a different story.



  • @anotherusername said:

    17 U.S. Code § 1201(a)(1)(A)
    No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

    ...which appears to be a blanket ban on circumventing any DRM, for any purpose at all.

    If a technological measure can be circumvented, how could anybody reasonably describe it as an effective access control?



  • Beca-HACKERS!-use th-TERRORISTS-e !*%&)#$ NO CARRIER



  • @flabdablet said:

    @anotherusername said:
    17 U.S. Code § 1201(a)(1)(A)
    No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

    ...which appears to be a blanket ban on circumventing any DRM, for any purpose at all.

    If a technological measure can be circumvented, how could anybody reasonably describe it as an effective access control?

    We're not going to enter "Well the door was unlocked so I should be allowed into your house to piss in the kitchen sink" territory are we?

    On topic:

    @Haloquadratum have you looks at https://www.safaribooksonline.com/enterprise/ ? I haven't convinced my company to get it for all of us but managed to expense the personal service for me. It's quite good actually. I think @loopback0 has something similar at his place of work.



  • If you don't want to break the DRM, you could look to see if the Play store has a rental concept. Then, you could reimburse employees for rental fees and your library would be a list of recommended book links. Hopefully the rental fee would be low enough such that the few times the books get read would roughly equate to buying one copy.


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