Blackstone Audio phases out audiobook DRM


10 Responses to “Blackstone Audio phases out audiobook DRM”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m skeptical that this will work to stop pirates, since all imperceptible watermarks can be trivially removed through simple means like diffing two files

    No, they can’t, if you have a halfway decent watermarking scheme. Look up ‘spread spectrum watermarking’. Those remain embedded and readable as long as the data is readable, since the watermark is embedded in the most significant parts of the data.

    Still, you reach a correct conclusion: watermarks in open formats like MP3s cannot be used to stop pirating. Since you can copy an mp3 regardless of its content, and play it any of thousands of players out there, watermark in the content is irrelevant in that regard. Watermark can only be used to establish the ownership and, for example, to ease tracking of pirated material online.

  2. Townes says:

    From the previous story…


    “All the ‘freedoms’ your law guarantees us can be overriden by DRM, right?” (Prentice’s answer to this last one, “The market will take care of it,” is absolutely priceless.)

    So I guess Prentice was right?

  3. mblitch says:

    Thanks for actually saying “raises the question” instead of the often improperly used “begs the question”. The later term does not equate to the former as it is a logical argument.

  4. fxb says:

    Great news about Blackstone. They’ve got some fantastic titles, but I’ve never been able to stomach buying audiobooks through Audible.

    Naxos began selling their audiobooks as DRM-free mp3 downloads a while back. Like Blackstone, they’ve got an impressive selection of classical and contemporary literature.

  5. Doc Tourneau says:

    If Audible and Amazon stupidly continue to stick to their guns, they’re not going to have a lot of new content to offer in the near future.

    Time to revise your business models, folks, lest a new competitor shows up and eats your lunch.

  6. Robert says:

    BTW, this is the response I got from Amazon about Audible DRM:

    “Audible is DRM agnostic — our primary goal is to offer a great
    customer experience. Audiobooks purchased on can be played
    on over 600 AudibleReady devices, including Kindles, iPods and most
    other MP3 players, Tom Toms and other GPS devices, Sonos and other
    in-home systems, and all PCs and Macs. Unlike DRM-free MP3 music files
    designed for songs, audiobook files must deliver a unique multi-hour
    listening experience. Customers have recognized and appreciated
    Audible’s unique listening experience since the company’s inception in
    1997. Audible is committed to maintaining and improving the features
    that drive this experience.

    Audible recently announced that it is working to provide the option of
    DRM-free spoken word audio titles on for content owners
    who prefer this method and are committed to working with Audible to
    maintain a great customer experience.

    Thanks for your interest in and Audible.”

  7. Agent 86 says:

    Wow, the only positive grammar-nazi I’ve seen on the net!

  8. Takuan says:

    what about “frenching the question”?

  9. Agent 86 says:

    Only after a complete 7 course meal, with 5 different cheeses and 3 wines.

  10. Will Shetterly says:

    You could bypass Amazon by loading audiofiles to Amazon through CreateSpace. It might encourage them to speed up their commitment to DRM-free files.

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