The editor of Harry Potter and other great Americans of the book sue Audible of Amazon for its voice to text function

Several of the most relevant book publishers in the world have filed a lawsuit against Audible, a service of Amazon which, among other functions, convert voice to text. According to these editors, this function allows you to Amazon transcribe audiobooks to textbooks, even though Amazon It does not have the licenses to reproduce written versions of these texts.

These licenses, those of textbooks, are separate from those of electronic books, so that both versions cannot be reproduced, unless both licenses are available. Audible defends this feature as an educational function, on the grounds that “it is not and never was a book”.

Amazon they are reproducing text without a license, according to the authors


A total of seven plaintiffs belonging to the Association of American Publishers (among which is Scholastic, editor of Harry Potter in the US), have sued Audible in the Southern District Court of New York for “narrating and distributing text in an unauthorized manner. “

“Audible, Inc. unilaterally, without permission or notice to the editors, has decided to introduce a new unauthorized function for its mobile application called ‘Audible Captions’. Audible Captions takes the audiobooks of the editors and converts the narration into text not authorized, and distributes the full text of these “new” digital books to Audible customers. Audible’s actions, taking copyrighted works and reusing them for their own benefit without permission, are the type of infringement par excellence that the Law of Copyright prohibits directly. “

As stated in the lawsuit, Amazon I would be distributing written versions of books that are not licensed. Specifically, Audible uses artificial intelligence to convert audiobook recordings into text, a feature that they want to focus on the educational world, rather than the transformation per se of an audiobook in a physical book. Don Katz, CEO of Audible, already announced in July to USA Today that “an audio experience of well-composed words is really for the development of students.”


Similarly, after the lawsuit, Audible has defended its position in a few words for The Verge, reaffirming its position that the function is oriented to the educational world, and they have never tried to focus the tool on audiobook conversion.

“We are surprised and disappointed by this action and any implication that we have not been talking and working with the editors about this feature, which has not yet been released. The subtitles were developed because we, like so many educators and leading parents, want to help children who do not read to participate more through listening. This feature would allow such listeners to follow a few lines of text generated by the machine while listening to the audio performance. It is not and never intended to be a book. we agree with the claims that this violates any right and we look forward to working with editors and members of the professional creative community to help them better understand the educational and accessibility benefits of this innovation. “

The lawsuit is being backed by the United States Authors Guild, which He has made his support public, wielding the argument that “Amazon has used its market power to force publishers’ hands by proceeding without permission in a clear violation of copyright. “

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In the same way, they say that among the titles allegedly infringed are works under the authorship of the president of the Guild, member of the board of the foundation of the same, and members of the advisory council of said Guild, among other authors.

It is not the first time that Amazon faces the world of culture


Already in the past, the opposite was the case. When Kindle acquired the function of text to speech, the authors rose against Amazon, since its position was that this function would slow the advance of the audiobooks. Amazon had to yield to the authors, allowing this function to be deactivatable.

Similarly, although for different reasons, the company has faced in the past more demands of culture professionals, cinema or music, like Harold Arlen (composer of ‘Over The Rainbow), who sued Amazon for ‘participating in a massive musical piracy operation “or Woody Allen, who faced the Bezos company for breach of contract.

Via | The verge

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