Major book publishers sue Amazon-owned app Audible for copyright infringement

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Amazon-owned app, Audible is being sued by some of the big names in the publishing industry, alleging that the audiobook company’s new speech-to-text feature violates copyright laws.

The publishers – Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic and others are asking the court to stop Amazon from offering the captions function for its recorded works, set to launch September 10.

The lawsuit was reportedly filed on Friday in Manhattan federal court. The court document states;

“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.”

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“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 publishers added in the court paper.

But Audible said they are “surprised and disappointed” by the lawsuit. A statement released by them states;

“It is not and was never intended to be a book,” the company said of the Captions feature.

“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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Founded in 1995, Audible sells digital audiobooks, radio and TV programs, and audio versions of magazines and newspapers.

The Newark, New Jersey based company was acquired for about $300 million in January 2008 by