Advocacy Update: Audible’s New “Audible Captions” Program
Summary of issue:
On August 23, 2019, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a lawsuit against Audible in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Specifically, AAP on behalf of seven of its members—Chronicle Books, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster—is seeking to enjoin Audible from using its new feature called “Audible Captions.” This program transcribes the book narration into readable text and creates a version of the book that Audible doesn’t have the right to create. Audible announced the program last month and it is set to start in September
RWA is concerned about this new Audible Captions program and the impact it may have on the rights of copyright holders. While the program may have instructional and educational value, RWA can’t ignore that the process of generated text is done without the authorization of, or additional compensation to, the copyright owner.
RWA urges all members to stay informed on this issue. For more information, members can review the following resources:
Authors Guild: https://www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/authors-guild-issues-statement-supporting-aaps-lawsuit-against-audible/
Background and potential legal arguments: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/08/book-publishers-sue-audible-to-stop-new-speech-to-text-feature/