Technology: Amazon’s Audible Sued by Publishers Over New Text Feature - PressFrom - US

TechnologyAmazon’s Audible Sued by Publishers Over New Text Feature

02:40  24 august  2019
02:40  24 august  2019 Source:

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(Bloomberg) -- Inc.’s Audible was sued by publishers who claim a mobile-app feature planned by the audio-book company will violate copyrights by automatically converting narrated works into unauthorized text.

Audible’s licenses for the audio-books don’t include text versions, and the machine-generated transcriptions may contain errors that will harm the quality of the works, publishers including CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House LLC and Scholastic Corp. said in the complaint filed Friday in Manhattan.

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The lawsuit escalates longstanding conflicts between publishers and Seattle-based Amazon. They’ve previously sparred over issues as diverse as e-book pricing and counterfeiting.

“Audible’s actions -- taking copyrighted works and re-purposing them for its own benefit without permission -- are the kind of quintessential infringement that the Copyright Act directly forbids,” the publishers said in the complaint.

The company said the new feature is intended to engage the “first generation of non-readers in our history” by presenting text with audio.

“We are surprised and disappointed by this action and any implication that we have not been speaking and working with publishers about this feature, which has not yet launched,” Audible said in a statement posted online.

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The feature, called Audible Captions, could compete with both physical books and eBooks as well as “cross-format” products that may incorporate both audio and text, the publishers said. Audible told the publishers that the new feature could have transcription errors of as much as 6%, or about 18 pages of a 300-page book, according to the complaint.

The companies that sued are all members of the Association of American Publishers, which asked the court for an order that would block the feature from being launched while the case proceeds.

The case is Chronicle Books LLC v. Audible Inc., 19-cv-07913, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

(Updates with comment from Audible.)

--With assistance from Blake Brittain and Matt Day.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in New York at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at [email protected], Joe Schneider, Steve Stroth

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©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Prime Day: Audible will let you read an audiobook you're listening to.
Audible, the largest producer of spoken content, is launching a Captions feature that will let read-along to engage your ears, eyes and minds. The education-driven feature will be rolling out through an upgrade to the Audible app for iOS and Android devices, in time for back to school. And Audible is offering select Captions-ready content free to public classrooms across the country. For better or worse – OK, worse – many people just aren’t reading books anymore. Audible hopes the new Audible Captions feature can be part of the solution.

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