US book publishers sue Audible over AI-powered transcription

“The case could escalate to the point where a judge is forced to make a landmark decision on AI.

Several of the biggest in the US have launched a new lawsuit against over a feature they say infringes on their copyright. Leading the suit are the so-called “Big Five” of US publishing: Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster.

At the center of the case is the Captions feature the Amazon-owned company announced last month. The feature uses machine learning to allow users to transcribe an audiobook into text. Since it announced Captions, Audible has positioned the feature as a student aid. However, the company also plans to make it available to subscribers. From the perspective of publishers, audiobooks have separate licenses from ebooks, which they claim Amazon has not secured.”

The publishers are correct and an audible version is a different format and requires a separate license. If audible wants to convert books they will have to pay for a separate licensing agreement.

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