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Author Topic: Tool to convert HTML pages website into a secure EXE  (Read 5354 times)
forkinpm
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« on: January 12, 2009, 10:57:00 AM »

Hallo!
And this is my second post today.
I have developed a platform for users to create a personal knowledge management application.
The material and methods are unique and the whole is built from generally freeware or open source tools.
It is the methods and model techniques which are unique.
I wish to publish the platform as a set of tutorials and will sell it for a modest sum.
The revenue of Euro 30,00 per licence will be donated to a charity we are to fund.
To protect the material against download or illicit copying I wish to use a secure method of compiling
the HTML pages into an EXE.
Who has such, knows of such, has experienced the use of such or can program such?
He or she can please take contact with to discuss the method or tool.
I look forward to any good propositions.
Kind regards, forkinpm.
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Veign
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 11:36:45 AM »

Like this:
http://www.htmlexe.com/
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app103
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2009, 05:13:27 AM »

There is something you need to know about any of the html2exe tools you may find.

In almost all cases they are using IE's browser engine to display the contents (I can't think of any that doesn't), which means the actual files get extracted from the .exe into IE's cache folder. It is quite easy for anyone to copy those files from their cache and have a version of your files independent of the .exe.

Another thing you have to worry about with using any of the html2exe tools is that there are people that use these tools to package up stuff containing malicious scripts (As a user, I am also a bit nervous to trust any ebook that comes in .exe for that reason.), and antivirus companies are likely to flag all things packaged with the same tool as malware (I had this happen to some of my stuff before).

You would probably be better off creating a DRM protected .pdf, .lit, or some other standard protected ebook format if you want any real protection without the troubles of malware false positives.

ReaderWorks can be used to convert html to .lit, and .lit can be protected and tied to a single user. MS Reader is used to view the books and it is available in both a free desktop reader for Windows and for PocketPC. When installing the reader software, you are asked for your Windows Live ID (email address). You are not allowed to change the email address in the software, once you have entered it. All DRM protected files that you try to open in the reader MUST be registered to THAT email address or it will fail to open.

You can also create non-protected books with it as well, and there is a free version of the software if you'd like to try it and see if you like the results of how it makes books before deciding to take it any further than that. It's free for personal and non-commercial use, you are allowed to distribute the books made with it for free, but if you decide to sell the books, you have to get the pro version.
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raybeere
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2009, 11:56:40 AM »

ReaderWorks can be used to convert html to .lit, and .lit can be protected and tied to a single user. MS Reader is used to view the books and it is available in both a free desktop reader for Windows and for PocketPC. When installing the reader software, you are asked for your Windows Live ID (email address). You are not allowed to change the email address in the software, once you have entered it. All DRM protected files that you try to open in the reader MUST be registered to THAT email address or it will fail to open.

If I understand this correctly, I don't see how there is much protection in this scheme. Just download a new version of the free Reader software, install it in a new user profile (if you even have to do that), and set it up with a new e-mail address. Use your friend's address - the one who shares his files with you. Not legal, not honest, but there's nothing to stop someone from doing it, is there? All the schemes I've seen are either: trivial to get around, or so hideous for even a legitimate user to make use of they are unreasonable. As a writer, I'd love to see a solution for e-books that worked well, but I haven't found one yet.
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app103
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2009, 11:02:55 AM »

Well you aren't going to find your book on some download or torrent site with 1000's of people downloading it every day. It's just not practical for book pirates to create a new account on their machine and install a new copy of Reader every time they want to grab another pirated book to read.

And I am not even sure you could install more than 1 copy on a machine without having to have more than 1 copy of windows too. So it is quite possible that someone having a collection containing 1000 pirated .lit books would have to have 1000 user accounts on their machine, or 1000 copies of Reader installed, or 1000 copies of Windows installed to be able to use them all. Not only that, but it would be really easy to track it down to the source with the email address provided.

And if I remember correctly, there may also be a limit on the number of machines that an email address can be used on with the Reader software, and that after I think 5 uses, you can't use it any more. This would limit the original purchaser to 5 machines, pda's, or whatever, over the course of their lifetime, with the need to repurchase all of their books if they exceeded that. (not too good for the consumer that formats his machine and reinstalls every 6 months!)

The real problem would be using Reader to create audiobooks, using an accessibility option provided in the Reader software for the visually impaired. Or copying & pasting the text to create an unprotected document. But there are controls available in the Pro version of Readerworks so when you create your book you can limit those things, by not allowing copying, printing, audio, etc.

I never registered my copy of Reader and associated it with an email address, since I only deal with things like public domain works that are totally legal to do whatever you please with, CC licensed works, and GFDL. My converting them to .lit means people can read them on their PocketPC's, and as long as I comply with the licenses of the Readerworks software and the books, I am allowed to do that, and distribute them, legally.

Any other copying and conversions I do is for personal use, and only when a .pdf file is in a very old format incompatible with the PDF reader software on my PDA. (it requires pdf files to contain special tags, or it has to be converted, resulting in a pdf file 2-3x the original file size. Converting to .lit keeps the files small)

I also don't have more than 1 user account on my PC. So I have not tested whether you can use it with more than one account/email address easily. I was warned before my first install of Reader NOT to enter an email address unless I was totally sure I wanted to be stuck with that one for life, and not to enter it till I have purchased my first .lit format ebook. I think the warning was due to the 5 machine limit.

A person giving a copy of an ebook to their friend or family member is much less damaging than some of the other sharing that goes on. How many friends could you safely give something registered to your email address before you'd have to worry about it getting out on the web onto a download or torrent site and you getting caught or massive amounts of spam? Once or twice maybe? With each person the risk increases.

And with each friend you give it to, you'd use up one of your 5 installs of Reader. Give one book out to too many people (1 person could be too many), and you will have to repurchase your entire collection. It would be cheaper to just buy your friend a copy.

And we are talking about a book in which the original poster stated that all profits are being donated to a charity. Is this the time to be greedy and worry about losing a little money from the small amount of copying that goes on between friends & family? It would be much more important to control/prevent the mass distribution on download & torrent sites, where the real damage is done to authors.

And here's a bit of food for thought when it comes to DRM and sharing between family & friends:

I could go to a book store and buy a paperback or hardcover book dirt cheap off the clearance table, take it home, read it, and then loan it to a friend who reads it and returns it to me. And I can keep loaning it out until every friend & family member I have has read it.

I can then take that book and sell it on EBay (possibly for more than I paid for it, and thereby making a profit on it) and the buyer of the book can do the same, loaning it to all his friends & family, and then either sell it like I did or donate the book to a library where 1000's more people get to borrow and read it...all without the original author, publisher, or distributor receiving any additional compensation beyond the original discounted purchase price I paid when I bought the book at the book store...AND THAT IS LEGAL.

What I don't understand as a consumer is how anyone can possibly think it's fair to stop me from doing the same with a digital product I have purchased. Why can I not give it away after I have read it or listened to it, like I can with a physical copy? Why are my rights to pass it on when I am finished, or loan it out, or sell it, or donate it to a library, being trampled upon? Why has there not been a way for people to be able to do this, built into any existing DRM scheme yet?

I don't think I would be so against DRM if it were possible for me to do the same with a digital product as I can with the physical version of the same product. And it is for this reason why I will not buy an ebook or an MP3, rather than a physical book or CD. I would be paying the same money but getting less rights, as a consumer.

It's not just the authors, artists, publishers, and distributors that have rights. Consumers do too. DRM only thinks about and addresses the rights of the first group and does not even consider the rights of the second, at all.
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steeladept
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2009, 12:38:48 PM »


I could go to a book store and buy a paperback or hardcover book dirt cheap off the clearance table, take it home, read it, and then loan it to a friend who reads it and returns it to me. And I can keep loaning it out until every friend & family member I have has read it.

I can then take that book and sell it on EBay (possibly for more than I paid for it, and thereby making a profit on it) and the buyer of the book can do the same, loaning it to all his friends & family, and then either sell it like I did or donate the book to a library where 1000's more people get to borrow and read it...all without the original author, publisher, or distributor receiving any additional compensation beyond the original discounted purchase price I paid when I bought the book at the book store...AND THAT IS LEGAL.

What I don't understand as a consumer is how anyone can possibly think it's fair to stop me from doing the same with a digital product I have purchased. Why can I not give it away after I have read it or listened to it, like I can with a physical copy? Why are my rights to pass it on when I am finished, or loan it out, or sell it, or donate it to a library, being trampled upon? Why has there not been a way for people to be able to do this, built into any existing DRM scheme yet?


April, I am sure you already know the answer to this, but for the benefit of readers, I will give you the simple answer.  The reason is because your distribution to others deprives you of the benefit of the book; whereas doing so digitally does not.  It is not difficult, even with copy prevention, to spawn another copy that others can use while you still reap the benefits.  Until respawning and distribution can be prevented, you will never have the same rights to digital media as you do for physical media.
 
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raybeere
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2009, 05:21:04 PM »

Well you aren't going to find your book on some download or torrent site with 1000's of people downloading it every day. It's just not practical for book pirates to create a new account on their machine and install a new copy of Reader every time they want to grab another pirated book to read.
[....]
And if I remember correctly, there may also be a limit on the number of machines that an email address can be used on with the Reader software, and that after I think 5 uses, you can't use it any more. This would limit the original purchaser to 5 machines, pda's, or whatever, over the course of their lifetime, with the need to repurchase all of their books if they exceeded that. (not too good for the consumer that formats his machine and reinstalls every 6 months!)
[....]
And here's a bit of food for thought when it comes to DRM and sharing between family & friends:

I could go to a book store and buy a paperback or hardcover book dirt cheap off the clearance table, take it home, read it, and then loan it to a friend who reads it and returns it to me. And I can keep loaning it out until every friend & family member I have has read it.

I can then take that book and sell it on EBay (possibly for more than I paid for it, and thereby making a profit on it) and the buyer of the book can do the same, loaning it to all his friends & family, and then either sell it like I did or donate the book to a library where 1000's more people get to borrow and read it...all without the original author, publisher, or distributor receiving any additional compensation beyond the original discounted purchase price I paid when I bought the book at the book store...AND THAT IS LEGAL.

What I don't understand as a consumer is how anyone can possibly think it's fair to stop me from doing the same with a digital product I have purchased. Why can I not give it away after I have read it or listened to it, like I can with a physical copy? Why are my rights to pass it on when I am finished, or loan it out, or sell it, or donate it to a library, being trampled upon? Why has there not been a way for people to be able to do this, built into any existing DRM scheme yet?

I don't think I would be so against DRM if it were possible for me to do the same with a digital product as I can with the physical version of the same product. And it is for this reason why I will not buy an ebook or an MP3, rather than a physical book or CD. I would be paying the same money but getting less rights, as a consumer.

It's not just the authors, artists, publishers, and distributors that have rights. Consumers do too. DRM only thinks about and addresses the rights of the first group and does not even consider the rights of the second, at all.

Although I'm a writer, I did use the word "unreasonable" to describe many of the existing schemes, in the sense that they were unreasonable to the consumer.

Example: Five installs? I once went through that many just to convince tech support it was their hardware and not my software causing problems. I prefer a solution that works for both parties. I don't want to get ripped off, and I don't want to be forced to rip off my audience in an effort not to be ripped off. That was really my point: any of the existing solutions are either too weak, or too strong. One side or the other suffers.

As for your other points, true, a little sharing with friends isn't a huge problem - but the real point, which I didn't think I needed to spell out, is that if ordinary people can get around a scheme in order to share once with a friend, pirates will have little trouble figuring out ways to make copies to share with millions.

One of my online posts was the victim of a scraper, thanks to my use of a certain keyword. If I'd discovered someone reposted it on their personal blog, I wouldn't have a huge issue with it - but a scraper? Scrapers are just the pirates of web content, and I don't like pirates at all. But, see, that's why DRM can never work. If it is weak enough to allow enough loopholes you could share with a friend, the pirates will leap through those loopholes and bore them wide open. If it is closed up so tight you can't share at all, it isn't fair to you. (Even if you can't copy or print, I've seen software that lets you run OCR from a bitmap - in other words, a screen shot - and who is more likely to have that type of software, and misuse it, than a pirate?)

Consumers and people who create content need to work out a completely new model, because making the old model work with DRM will screw over one side or the other.
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bfcbfcbfc
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2009, 06:21:11 AM »

Have a look at Webcompiler 3 (http://www.x2net.com/webcompiler/index.htm)

I used an earlier version and it worked well. They do a trial version - "Presentations produced by the trial version of WebCompiler are identical to the licensed version, except that an additional licensing screen appears at the start indicating the use of the trial version. "


Regards



Brian
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