October 15, 2019
Audiobook company, Audible, has been sued by top U.S. publishers for copyright infringement over its new speech-to-text feature, Audible Captions. The lawsuit may delay or prevent the rollout of Audible Captions, which is supposed to allow listeners to follow along with a few lines of machine-generated text as they listen to a book being narrated.
The lawsuit was filed by seven members of the Association of American Publishers, including the “Big Five” of publishing: Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, and Macmillan Publishers. The publishers claim that Audible only has the right to sell audiobook versions of certain works, and does not have the right to reproduce the text of those works without permission or a licence from the copyright holders.
The publishers are seeking to enjoin Audible Captions from, inter alia, “making derivative works of, reproducing, distributing, or publicly displaying any of [the publishers’] works”, as well as damages and profits attributable to the alleged infringements.
Authors: Larissa Fulop and Matt McDonald