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Publishers, authors concerned over Audible’s audio-to-text program

In the US, publishers, literary agents and authors have expressed concern that Audible’s proposed program Captions, which transcribes audio to text alongside its audiobooks, infringes on rights holders, reports Publishers Weekly.

In a statement, Audible said Captions ‘does not replicate or replace the print or ebook reading experience’, and is designed ‘primarily to fill an unmet need in education’ by allowing students listening to a book to engage more fully with the work.

In a statement, Simon & Schuster said: ‘We have informed Audible that we consider its Captions program to be an unauthorised and brazen infringement of the rights of authors and publishers, and a clear violation of our terms of sale. We have therefore insisted that Audible not include in Captions any titles for which Simon & Schuster holds audio or text rights.’

The Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild also issued statements that said Audible’s contracts do not give the company the right to create a text product. Both organisations are reviewing what further steps to take, with the guild noting Captions would ‘inevitably lead to fewer e-book sales and lower royalties for authors’.

Captions is currently in beta testing and has not been shown to publishers yet. In its statement, Audible said publishers will better understand the program after its launch in September. ‘Given that the feature isn’t live yet, we are in discussions with content providers to help address some confusion about how Audible Captions works and what listeners will experience,’ Audible said.


Category: International news