Copy protection on decks

Hii Damien

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the Anki application.

Thanks to you and good people like you, our interest and enthusiasm for learning is increasing day by day.

The Anki application you created is really a great application, we thank you for making our work so much easier, I have a problem and I ask you to listen to me patiently.

The Anki application and its employees are very well-intentioned and good people, but users who use the Anki application can be malicious. Malicious users in the Anki application of our books (Question Bank), which we, as publishers, have created with a lot of effort for many years, illegally add these books and distribute the decks, and this cannot be prevented in any way.

This will cause many people to lose their jobs over time because our book sales have come to a near standstill.

It can be very long and tiring for the Anki app team to find those malicious users sharing copyrighted decks.

Please hear our voice and show us positive solutions in this regard.

We want a dedicated server or a solution that will help us legally sell our decks within your app.

If someone has uploaded your copyrighted material to AnkiWeb, please let me know and I’ll take it down. As Anki is open source, it is not possible to control what users do with it on their own computers.

Dear Damien, they can share all the decks as they want by using the export feature in their own accounts, with the ability to export the decks before they are uploaded to AnkiWeb. There’s no way you can get past this.

This is how all our books are spread and distributed within your app. This had a negative impact on our book sales and caused many people to lose their jobs.

While you have my sympathy (I certainly do not condone copyright infringement), I’m afraid we do not have control over what other people do. The ability to export content is used by many users for legitimate purposes, and even if we removed the ability to export content (at great inconvenience to legitimate users), bad actors would easily be able to add such functionality themselves, or copy Anki’s data files.


Is there no way that you could allow for a unique code to be added to a new deck? Then the code would be copied to every copy of the deck and AnkiWeb could restrict access to it to users registered to use it. By default new decks would have no code and so no access check would be done (that would allow for seamless update of current decks).

I would suggest that as the use case for restricting access is for the benefit of commercial businesses the restriction of deck access could be charged for as a premium feature potentially giving you a bit more revenue. I’m thinking that it would be something like you only get access to the UI to register users for deck access if you’ve paid for the premium feature.

As an extension of this thought process could you also have AnkiWeb restrict access to a deck based on the client accessing it? I’m thinking that on iOS if you access the hardware unique id in the app you could restrict access to clients that have paid for a plan using that unique id. That way you’d be better protected from the Anki rip-off iOS apps.

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Anki is open source. If this kind of „digital rights management“ is enabled, people could create an Anki client that simply ignores it.

If rights holders are bothered by decks, there are ways to have them removed from AnkiWeb.

Anki itself should also not act as a gatekeeper over what content is usable through channels other than AnkiWeb. This would be overreach, costly and ultimately ineffective.


Anki may be open source, but as far as I know AnkiWeb is not. And the check would be within AnkiWeb tied to the user account.

And as for policy I think that if Anki is to grow outside of personal use towards being able to be used by content providers such a feature would be mandatory. And if Anki does not provide for such a direction then I think that it is only a matter of time until an alternative is produced that does provide it.


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