Authors Guild and AAR back publishers in Audible Captions lawsuit

Authors Guild and AAR back publishers in Audible Captions lawsuit

The Authors Guild and the Association of Authors' Representatives have filed a joint brief supporting publishers' calls for a preliminary injuction to stop their works being included in Audible's Captions programme. 

Seven publishers launched a lawsuit last month against Audible's Captions programme, which allows US customers to read along to their audiobooks, arguing the feature is against copyright law. The publishers are also seeking a preliminary injunction to stop their works from being used in Captions. 

In a joint brief this week, the Authors Guild and AAR have thrown their support behind the plaintiffs, which include Chronicle Books, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster. 

The brief from the Authors Guild and AAR urges the court to grant a preliminary injunction to keep the plaintiffs' works out of the Captions speech-to-text feature while the court considers the copyright case. 

“Audible completely ignores the Copyright Act’s explicit recognition of the divisibility of the bundle of exclusive rights," the brief states. "Audible’s Captions threatens to upend this system by allowing Audible to seize ungranted rights, thereby diminishing the value (and the compensation an author will receive) from the exploitation of these rights.”

On Friday, publishers urged the court to continue with the case as a copyright dispute. Earlier last week, Audible had moved to dismiss the case as a contract issue and in a filing last week said if the copyright case proceeds then Captions is covered by fair use. 

A hearing on the publishers' calls for a preliminary injunction is expected to be heard this week. 

The Bookseller has contacted Audible for comment.