Special Podcast from FriendsInTech - "Island Of Misfit Geeks"
Warning: Stone 10th Aniversary India Pale Ale

Stupid DRM Photos From JC Penny

I was shocked to learn that our 2006 family and kids Christmas pictures we took at JCPenny have digital rights management (DRM) features that makes it relatively impossible to scan into a visually usable graphics file using a recently purchased scanner.

When I scan them on my HP C3100 I end up with a grainy, very unattractive picture.  I was getting all mad at the scanner for sucking until I read the back of the pictures with the following warning: "Kodak Professional Endura Paper - Professional Images Are Copyright Protected - Do Not Copy."

Darn right frustrating! :-(

If there is a DIY hack, please let me know.  I'm off to investigate, and I'll keep you posted.


Mad Marv

Are you sure its copy protection? That line sounds like a "Do not remove label from mattress" warning.


Steve Holden

I think it is copy protection. I can't copy my pictures that I paid for my own use. Seems like a violation of Fair Use.

From the JCPenny website:

"Portraits -- All images created by JCPenney Portraits are the property of Lifetouch Inc. and its subsidiaries (collectively "Lifetouch"), our licensing partners, or are used with permission."


Mad Marv

Well, how about asking them directly for the jpgs / negatives? You have a right to those images since you paid to have the photos taken.


Steve Holden

Apparently you can for an extra fee get access to their website and get digital images. But that is an extra cost. So, the DRM is a way to encourage (ie. extort) additional revenue.


Tom Sidock


I feel your pain. I ran into this last year at work. This is really a disclosure issue. The thinking is that you are paying for the photographers time and finished prints. The proofs are a vehicle to get the customer to the final purchase. I do agree, it is very much like DRM. The special surface creates specular reflections back to the scanners camera. This makes the resulting scan useless.

I did manage to defeat the reflections by puddling some lighter fluid (Naphtha)on the scanner glass and placing the proof in the puddle while scanning. It still required some Photoshop work, but the result was pretty good.

While Naphtha is a great solvent, it is very specific about which molecules it dissolves, mostly oils. It is also great for removing salad dressing from that new shirt and removing labels from gifts.



Unfortunately its popping up all over the place, I even heard that they might (if they haven't already, who knows how old what I read is) lower the sound quality of the line in on the sound cards upon the creation of DRM USB music devices such as mic's, electric piano, etc. They want everything to be controllable, its the new digital revolution but....

Bottom line is for whatever we buy and sell, these companies can protect their stuff to charge whatever they want but people who feel they can do better, cheaper, who are frustrated with these games can come up with amateur setups and offer all cheaper and minimally protected - competatively.

Example: Suppose I say, ok I hate this lockdown stuff, come to me and ill take the photos (im not saying this, im just making an example) and I will offer you the pictures and open scanning rights for 1/2 the price. Now JCPenney just lost customers, now maybe JCPenney wants to remove all that lockdown and lower their prices.

Microsoft has to make sure everyone has lockdown protection, that doesn't mean everyone has to use it but here is the problem, these people are laughing at us, I don't think they believe they will see an amateur competitive market emerge.. another words, where is the competitive.. amateur music performer, movie creators or in your case, photographers. We have the power to compete but i fail to see these competitors emerging. As long as people go to the higher cost options is as long as we will be controlled by them.

A great idea online would be, for instance, the independent media sales site, it would host and randomly (in a fair and even way) allow you to play trailers from amateurs who want to make their own movies or music, you would see the costs and the permissions for the material you'd buy. For example: I'd go on this site, check out what I think is a cool love story and it would say, Create DVD Copies = Yes (No Limit), maybe its $4.95 to own and only $0.50 to rent, no movie companies are like, oh no, we have to lower our prices but it would really take people to be frustrated enough to say bend or where gone no matter what the media is, in your case, a photo scanned.


Hello, I did a google search on the paper that you mentioned, and from Kodak's site:

Do I need to use a scanner target when scanning images on ULTRA ENDURA Paper?

The imaging dyes in the ENDURA Papers peak at different wavelengths from those in the previous generation of papers. This affects the way print scanners see the various colors. Therefore, you should calibrate your scanner with a scanner target produced from ENDURA Papers—KODAK PROFESSIONAL Q-60 Color Input Target / Q-60R2.

I don't have a scanner, so I don't know if all scanners have the ability to change the target. I hope this was helpful.


This was fun.. I just scanned some holiday pictures and you're right.. i've got white pixelation everywhere. I've scanned plenty in the past, oh well. If anyone has a "work" around to defeat this Special Paper, please let us know. Because i paid the extra 5 bucks for the online access and they are very low res, they are only to help you re-order and share with friends and family, but you couldn't print those for anything, maybe a wallet size.


I successfully removed the white specks using the 'Salt and Pepper Filter' in Paint Shop Pro.


I just scanned my jcpenny portraits onto a cd at walmart with their kodak scanner. Turned out as clear as the original.

Does anyone know if JC Penny still owns the copyright after 90 days when the proofs are no longer available for reorder???

The comments to this entry are closed.