Tag: publishing

Audible Responds to Lawsuits, Saying Captions Are Fair Use

Is an audiobook a book? What about the captioning of an audiobook, for hearing impaired or for a quick reference? An ongoing legal battle between Audible and several major book publishers reckons with the definition of what a book even is.

 

Image via Publishers Weekly

 

How Audible’s new Captions technology works is it scrolls a few words of AI-generated captioning to accompany an audiobook’s narration. Audible responded last week with a motion of their own, calling for the publishers’ suit to be dismissed. The legalese of the motion is a tad complex, but here’s the gist of the latest development.

 

 

Audible claims its technology constitutes fair use. The motion to dismiss explains this claim as follows:

 

After listeners purchase an audiobook—and Plaintiffs and their clients are compensated—Audible Captions can help listeners understand it by looking up unfamiliar words, accessing reference materials, or simply verifying and focusing on what they are hearing. This will facilitate access for listeners who have difficulty engaging with audiobooks (or literature in general).

 

Thus, Audible’s lawyers argue, Audible Captions is in line with the purpose of copyright law: “to expand public learning while protecting the incentives of authors to create for the public good.”

In our previous coverage of this ongoing story, we wrote that publishers were angry with Audible because they didn’t give the audiobook platform permission to publish text versions of their titles because e-books require a separate licensing agreement. Audible’s lawyers also argue that claims they have not breached their licensing contract because the user of Audible Captions never has full access to the complete text of the title they’re listening to:

 

Audible Captions is not a book of any kind, much less a replacement for paper books, e-books, or cross-format products.

 

Audible

The Captions in action / Image Via Publishing Perspectives

 

Though the encrypted text is cached on the reader’s device, Audible’s lawyers highlighted the fact that the reader never has direct access to it, so the captions cannot be used except in tandem with the audio recording. Since they’ve paid to license the audio version of the publisher’s titles, and since the text generated by Audible’s technology is not a book in any sense, Audible argues there should not be an issue.

Audible’s lawyers make a convincing argument, and it’s definitely interesting to see how crucial the concept of what a books is to this debate.

 

 

 

Featured Image via The Daily Beast

YA Authors Reimagine Classic Poe Stories in New Collection

If you’re a fan of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short stories, I’ve got good news for you. Thirteen highly celebrated YA authors have reimagined classic Poe stories in His Hideous Heart, a new collection edited by Dahlia Adler. Though Poe lived nearly two centuries ago, these reimaginings translate his tales into the modern age. And His Hideous Heart just came out today!

 

Image via Amazon.com

 

Here’s the lineup you can expect when you crack open a copy:

Dahlia Adler (reimagining “Ligeia”), Kendare Blake (“Metzengerstein”), Rin Chupeco (“The Murders in the Rue Morgue”), Lamar Giles (“The Oval Portrait”), Tessa Gratton (“Annabel Lee”), Tiffany D. Jackson (“The Cask of Amontillado”), Stephanie Kuehn (“The Tell-Tale Heart”), Emily Lloyd-Jones (“The Purloined Letter”), Amanda Lovelace (“The Raven”), Hillary Monahan (“The Masque of the Red Death”), Marieke Nijkamp (“Hop-Frog”), Caleb Roehrig (“The Pit and the Pendulum”), and Fran Wilde (“The Fall of the House of Usher”).

 

 

His Hideous Heart has already been getting some great reviews from all around the literary world. Publisher’s Weekly writes:

A refreshing assortment of diverse voices and contemporary themes ensures there’s something for everyone in this delightful compilation.

And Beth Revis, author of Give the Dark My Love and Star Wars: Rebel Rising raves:

Heartbreaking, thrilling, gruesome, and gorgeous: these stories will delight longtimePoe fans just as much as readers who haven’t read the classics.

As spooky season approaches, it’s definitely a must-have for any Poe fan. And any YA fan should definitely it have on their radar.

 

Image via Wikimedia

 

 

 

Featured image via Encyclopedia Britannica and Amazon

Publishers Use Lawsuit to Pick a Fight with Audible!

In August, we reported that seven U.S. publishers had filed a lawsuits against Audible, claiming the popular audiobook platform’s new captions program violates copyright law.

Audible Captions scrolls a few words of AI-generated transcription to accompany an audiobook’s narration. In effect, Captions users would have access to the audiobook’s text in a roundabout way without having to purchase a copy of the e-book. However, the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in New York “didn’t give permission to publish a text version of their titles to Audible, noting that the text rights require a separate agreement.”

 

Image via the wall street journal

 

The rapidly changing digital publishing landscape has often presented a challenge to book publishers, as it seems the definition of what a book even is must change in the world of e-books and audiobooks.

 

Maria Pallante, chief executive of the Association of American Publishers

Image Via Alchectron

 

Maria Pallante, chief executive of the Association of American Publishers, commented on the case:

What’s at stake is the viability of the publishing industry and the ability to rely on copyright law.

Audible has denied the new feature on their app violates any rights or agreements. In a a statement on August 23rd the company said that:

Captions was developed because we, like so many leading educators and parents, want to help kids who are not reading engage more through listening…This feature would allow such listeners to follow along with a few lines of machine-generated text as they listen to the audio performance. It is not and was never intended to be a book.

 

 

Since the captions would be machine-generated and not transcribed and edited, Audible admitted “up to 6%” of the text may have errors. In the lawsuit, publishers argued The Captions program would then harm their reputations as “as trusted and valued stewards of their authors’ works.”

The program was set to begin as early as September 10th, though this lawsuit will definitely complicate the release. Thankfully, Audible can still launch for works for which there is no permissions issue, such as public domain works and Audible or Amazon published titles.

 

Audible App

Image Via Author’s Guild

 

Audible is facing a fierce legal battle against a cohort of publishing giants. The plaintiffs in the case include Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Hachette Book Group, Chronicle Books, and Scholastic Corp. It’s difficult to tell what the outcome of the case will be this early on. But it’s definitely going to be an important event for the future of publishing.

 

 

 

Featured Image Thanks To Mary Scibilia 

Major Publishers Sue Audible Over Speech-To-Text Feature

In this brave new world of digital book publishing, all the major publishers are coming to terms with what they are and are not allowed to do. The latest incident comes from Amazon’s Audible who is planning to release a new speech-to-text feature that would instantly produce the words to an audiobook as they’re being spoken so that listeners can read along. Seems helpful, right?

Well, it turns out all the companies that publish these books in e-book formatting are pretty pissed. If people can purchase this audiobook with viewable text, consumers will be less likely to buy the actual e-book. Audible has only reproduced books through oral recordings, and this new move forward would be seen as stepping on the toes of all the major publishers.

 

Image result for audible text to speech

image via Forbes

 

For those of you interested in the prospect of reading along to your favorite audiobooks and disinterested in the logistics of consumer-based e-book retail in relation to copyright law, sorry; the two are inseparable for the time being. In fact, all of the major publishers (i.e. Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster) are suing Audible over their proposed new feature because they believe it violates copyright law.

 

DongWon Song

Image Via Morhaimliterary

 

DongWon Song, an agent from the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, told The Verge, “If Audible is producing a book as a sublicense from a publisher then they only have rights to the audio, or they have the right to create and sell an audio recording of the text, and that’s all the rights that they’re given: they’re not given any text rights, they’re not given any electronic rights, they’re just given the right to distribute an audio edition.”

 

 

It doesn’t look too great for Audible’s new feature which is set for a September release, so for all of those who are interested in listening to an audiobook while having the words appear on your device, you’ll just have to settle with buying two copies of the same book.

 

 

Featured Image Via On Target Publications