Audio Books Moving Away from DRM

The New York Times reports on a growing trend for book publishers to move away from content protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM). Instead, Random House and Penguin Group, the two largest U.S. publishers, will begin offering audio book content in unprotected MP3 formats.

The recent move by the recording industry towards DRM-free content was part of the movtivation behind the move.

Publishers had traditionally looked to DRM to help combat illegal copying of their content, however, a recent experiement by Random House disproves this notion that DRM necessarily prevents widespread piracy. In a trial run, Random House released watermarked DRM-free audio books on eMusic and monitored file sharing networks. They found that the pirated copies of their audiobooks primarily came from Audio CDs or DRM-decoded sources, and not from the DRM-free sources.

As a result, Random House's Madeline McIntosh said, "Our feeling is that D.R.M. is not actually doing anything to prevent piracy".