It has been informed that some of the top US publishers sued the Amazon.com’s Audible on the grounds of copyright infringement on Friday. It was stated that it aims to block a planned rollout feature called ‘Audible Captions’ that shows the text on-screen as the book is narrated in the background.
The feature, ‘Audible Captions,’ uses AI to show the text on-screen as a book is narrated. Amazon reportedly may argue that an AI-generated transcription constitutes as original work.
Sources revealed that the lawsuit was filed by seven members of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) which included HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan Publishers.
Audible Captions takes publishers’ proprietary audiobooks, converts the narration into unauthorized text, and distributes the entire text of these ‘new’ digital books to Audible’s customers, the lawsuit reads. “Audible’s actions — taking copyrighted works and repurposing them for its benefit without permission — are the kind of quintessential infringement that the Copyright Act directly forbids.”
AAP said in a statement, “Essentially Audible wants to provide the text as well as the sounds of books without the authorization of copyright holders, despite only having the right to sell audiobooks.”
Sources revealed that the lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Reports revealed that this is not the first time that Amazon incited the ire of publishers. At the time of Kindle 2, the company introduced a text-to-speech feature that allowed the e-reader to convert an e-book into audio. This also agitated many of the publishers back then.
This time around, the stakes appear much higher, and Amazon has more clout than it has had at any point in the past.
However, Audible did not respond to our request for comment.