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US publishers reach settlement with Audible in Captions lawsuit

In the US, Audible and the seven publishing houses suing the company for copyright infringement over the proposed Captions program have reached an undisclosed settlement, reports Publishers Weekly.

The Captions program runs AI-generated transcribed text alongside narrated audio in the Audible app. Following the announcement of the program in July 2019, which was due to be rolled out in September the same year but never launched, Simon & Schuster (S&S) released a statement saying that it considers the Captions program an ‘unauthorised and brazen infringement of the rights of authors and publishers, and a clear violation of our terms of sale’. S&S also insisted that Audible not include in Captions any titles for which the publisher holds audio or text rights.

In August, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a lawsuit on behalf of S&S as well as Chronicle Books, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishing Group, Penguin Random House and Scholastic. According to the lawsuit, ‘Audible Captions takes publishers’ proprietary audio books, converts the narration into unauthorized text, and distributes the entire text of these “new” digital books to Audible’s customers.’ Audible responded by agreeing to exclude works from these publishers from the Captions program ‘until permission and licensing issues were resolved’.

All parties had been engaged in settlement discussions since October 2019.


Category: International news