Posts in Category "General"

Further Info on Activation in 1.5

Adobe recently announced plans to support cross-machine portability of DRM-protected content in Digital Editions by allowing named activation. Since then we have received quite a bit of feedback on our plans. Much of the feedback is positive, but others have voiced concerns about some users (library patrons, minors) needs for privacy. An Adobe ID is a very non-intrusive way of identifying users – users need only provide a name, country and email address. Nonetheless, Adobe understands that some users and organizations are uncomfortable with even this minimalistic level of identification. Based on the feedback from users and partners we have decided to continue to support an option of anonymous activation.

We feel very strongly that content portability is a very important feature. These days, almost everyone (especially ebook users) has multiple computers and a handheld device or two. Without content portability that has been enabled by named activation, users cannot move their books around as they wish. Almost more importantly, Digital Editions will be introducing new social features in the future that will enhance the use and enjoyment of user’s ebooks, such as sharing annotations and reading lists. Use of these social features will require that the user have a personal identifier, even if they only use one computer.

Therefore our plan remains to promote named activation as the primary means of enabling DRM capabilities. Anonymous activation will be supported, but discouraged in order that users not be disappointed to discover that content they have purchased is inextricably tied to a single PC, or that they can’t participate in new social features. And the overall user experience of activation will be more integrated and seamless than the various DRM activation options that were present in Adobe Reader versions 6 and 7: we are working to keep it simple. We will post additional details about the new DRM activation coming in Digital Editions version 1.5 here on the blog soon.

Named Activation Coming in Digital Editions 1.5

“Named Activation” coming soon to Adobe Digital Editions

Adobe wants your eBook experience to be as easy and seamless as possible. Naturally, this includes protecting your investment in eBooks from being lost or damaged. This is one of the key reasons why the upcoming release of Digital Editions 1.5 will feature “Named Activation.”

Some users have eBooks and other digital publications on their computers that have been licensed with Acrobat, Reader or Digital Editions using “Easy Activation.” These items cannot be moved to a new computer, essentially becoming locked on a particular machine. To solve this problem, Adobe Digital Editions 1.5 will convert items to a “Named Activation” license, enabling them to be backed up, copied and read on other computers. All items subsequently downloaded with Digital Editions 1.5 will be licensed using Named Activation. This change will also enable a new breed of mobile devices designed to be used with Digital Editions. However, note that your content will not be portable if the content distributor has specified a more restrictive setting, in which case you will need to re-acquire the content directly from them.

How will “Named Activation” work?

The first time you run Digital Editions 1.5, you’ll be prompted to activate the application by entering an Adobe ID. If you don’t have an Adobe ID, you’ll be provided with a link to get one. Then, when you purchase an item online or borrow one from the library with Digital Editions 1.5, the item will automatically be “tied” to your Adobe ID, rather than to your computer. This way, you’ll be free to move your items to other machines where Digital Editions has been activated with your Adobe ID.

What about the eBooks I already have?

Once you’ve entered your Adobe ID, Digital Editions 1.5 will look for eBooks already on your computer. It will first back up the items it finds, then convert copies of the items to a new “named activation” license.

IMPORTANT: Digital Editions 1.5 will convert eBooks that have been purchased or borrowed with Acrobat, Reader or earlier versions of Digital Editions. However, items that were licensed using Easy Activation can only be converted on the same computer with which they were originally purchased or borrowed. If you are contemplating buying a new machine, please consider keeping your old machine intact unless you bought all of your books with Acrobat or Reader using Named Activation.

Is Easy Activation still an option?

Adobe introduced the Easy Activation option in Acrobat and Reader 6.01 (and it was the only activation option previously supported in Digital Editions). This option made it easy for users to get started with eBooks, as users did not have to go online and get a Microsoft Passport or Adobe ID. The downside of this convenience is that the books could not be transferred to another machine or device.

Based on feedback from our customers, the Digital Editions team has decided that the benefits of content portability outweigh the inconvenience of the user ID and activation processes. So the next release of Digital Edition will use only Named Activation.

The Digital Editions team understands that some users may be uncomfortable at first with the need to obtain an Adobe ID and activate their machines. But we are convinced that everyone will quickly see the value of safeguarding their investment in eBooks. We’re working hard on this new release and look forward to sharing it with you soon.

For further info on this topic, please also see this post.


Hello – my name is Peter Sorotokin and I along with other engineers on the Adobe Digital Editions team are going to use this blog to talk about technical details, tips and tricks which are relevant to the electronic books. There are a lot of things to cover, so please use this entry to ask questions – this way I know what people are interested to know.