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Amazon’s Audible Sued By HarperCollins, Penguin Random House And Others Over New Feature

Bruce Haring

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Book publishers are suing Amazon’s Audible, claiming the audiobook company’s speech-to-text feature is a violation of copyright laws.

HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic and other major publishers claim that the Audible Captions feature will convert audio narration into unauthorized text. The new feature is set to launch Sept. 10.

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“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,” says the legal documents, filed Friday in Manhattan federal court. “Audible’s actions—taking copyrighted works and repurposing them for its own benefit without permission are the kind of quintessential infringement that the Copyright Act directly forbids.”

The suit asks that the new feature be blocked before its launch.

A statement by Audible said that it was “disappointed” by the lawsuit.

“It is not and was never intended to be a book. We disagree with the claims that this violates any rights and look forward to working with publishers and members of the professional creative community to help them better understand the educational and accessibility benefits of this innovation.”

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