Author Topic: Audible Captions lawsuit  (Read 1142 times)  

Offline GeneDoucette

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Audible Captions lawsuit
« on: August 23, 2019, 10:36:43 am »
What does everyone think of this? Audible is apparently rolling out a feature that provides captioning for audiobooks, and the AAP is suing to stop it. I agree with AAP that this sounds like copyright infringement.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/81000-aap-suit-seeks-to-block-implementation-of-audible-captions.html

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    Offline Flying Pizza Pie

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #1 on: August 23, 2019, 10:42:54 am »
    I agree with you. I like getting paid for my audio books, and I don't mind selling my Ebooks at a discount if the buyer has also purchased a softbound copy. However, having an ACX (Audible) copy of my work and essentially getting a free Ebook seems wrong since I obviously want to get paid for the Ebook too. Audible is audio, not visual.


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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #2 on: August 23, 2019, 11:50:04 am »
    Having seen the mistakes that auto-generated captions can create (like cusswords and other offensive things that aren't in the actual text) I am completely opposed to anyone putting captions on my work that I didn't put there myself. Udemy requires closed captioning on their videos and I took the extra time for my classes to do my own for that very reason. So having someone put captions on my audiobooks without my permission? No, no, no.

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    Offline WaterRaven

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #3 on: August 23, 2019, 12:07:22 pm »
    This is one of those moments where I'm glad Trad publishing is still going strong enough to defend everyone with their big bucks ;)

    Offline Loosecannon

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #4 on: August 23, 2019, 12:34:33 pm »
    Gene & Al, I agree too. Guessing they are thinking that they can get away with not paying extra for it like using Text to speech for the ebook version- but that is different as it is generating the speech.

    The precedent is already there of paying the author for giving purchasers something extra, E.g, buying the Whispersync audio version if you bought the ebook. (Not that I like selling my audiobooks for as low $0.50 !)

    This comes back to the 'employee leadership values' thing they have at Amazon...which includes "take risks, make mistakes, disagree with advice & commit." 
    "Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study."
    It explains a lot of their shenanigans. All true...see https://www.amazon.jobs/en/principles

    Offline D. A. J. F.

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #5 on: August 23, 2019, 02:49:39 pm »
    I agree with you. I like getting paid for my audio books, and I don't mind selling my Ebooks at a discount if the buyer has also purchased a softbound copy. However, having an ACX (Audible) copy of my work and essentially getting a free Ebook seems wrong since I obviously want to get paid for the Ebook too. Audible is audio, not visual.

    Yep.

    Offline jdcore

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #6 on: August 24, 2019, 09:55:47 am »
    I think you're all making a big deal out of nothing. Most buyers won't use the feature, and those that do are probably people who will have a better experience than they would otherwise (hard of hearing or using earbuds in a noisy location, etc.) It's not a free copy of the ebook. It's captioning. They have to be listening actively to see it, then it's basically gone, right? Getting angry about it feels, to me, like getting angry that they covered half of the stairs into the library with a wheelchair ramp.

    Offline Luke Everhart

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #7 on: August 24, 2019, 10:05:20 am »
    What does everyone think of this? Audible is apparently rolling out a feature that provides captioning for audiobooks, and the AAP is suing to stop it. I agree with AAP that this sounds like copyright infringement.

    https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/81000-aap-suit-seeks-to-block-implementation-of-audible-captions.html

    Yep, copyright infringement imo. All 5 major publishers -- Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Macmillan -- plus Scholastic and Chronicle Books are ticked and parties to the suit.
    Given the ignored communications from the publishers by Amazon/Audible (per a couple articles I read on it anyway), it seems like a case of Amazon joining the tech behemoth mentality of Google/Alphabet and Facebook and doing whatever the fork they please, figuring they are too big to assail.
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    Offline RPatton

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #8 on: August 24, 2019, 10:17:19 am »
    So I don't get this... the ADA basically says that certain actors have to make things available to everyone. For the hearing impaired, this includes closed captions for TV shows (There's also captions for visually impaired that describes the action). But that's because there isn't something already in written form. Before audio books became a thing, they were a program for the visually impaired started by the US government.

    There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to have captioning on an audio book because there is a print version already available.

    The only thing I can think of as for why it was suggested, is the amount of TV shows where people are turning on CC because they are having trouble understanding the dialect. But again, there isn't a print version that a TV follows exactly. I think I get what they were thinking, but at any time someone should have raised their hand and said, 'yeah, no, and here's why...'
    « Last Edit: August 24, 2019, 01:35:29 pm by RPatton »

    Offline cdk

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #9 on: August 24, 2019, 10:33:17 am »
    What, if anything, do authors with audio books plan to do in the event that Audible wins?

    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #10 on: August 24, 2019, 01:29:18 pm »
    I think you're all making a big deal out of nothing. Most buyers won't use the feature, and those that do are probably people who will have a better experience than they would otherwise (hard of hearing or using earbuds in a noisy location, etc.) It's not a free copy of the ebook. It's captioning. They have to be listening actively to see it, then it's basically gone, right? Getting angry about it feels, to me, like getting angry that they covered half of the stairs into the library with a wheelchair ramp.

    There are hard-of-hearing options for the impaired already, including devices that work well with cochlear implants. This is a rights-creep. Text is available in ebook form already; if they want people to be able to read along while listening, they can upgrade the whispersync technology.

    If you want to make this about the differently-abled, a more apt analogy would be for Amazon to put out a Braille version of one of my books as an extra in-house feature, without compensating me for the new edition. It's not okay.

    Offline WaterRaven

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #11 on: August 24, 2019, 01:55:48 pm »
    I think you're all making a big deal out of nothing. Most buyers won't use the feature, and those that do are probably people who will have a better experience than they would otherwise (hard of hearing or using earbuds in a noisy location, etc.) It's not a free copy of the ebook. It's captioning. They have to be listening actively to see it, then it's basically gone, right? Getting angry about it feels, to me, like getting angry that they covered half of the stairs into the library with a wheelchair ramp.

    That's an interesting point, thank you. Glad you shared that.

    Offline Flying Pizza Pie

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #12 on: August 24, 2019, 02:27:12 pm »
    I think you're all making a big deal out of nothing. Most buyers won't use the feature, and those that do are probably people who will have a better experience than they would otherwise (hard of hearing or using earbuds in a noisy location, etc.) It's not a free copy of the ebook. It's captioning. They have to be listening actively to see it, then it's basically gone, right? Getting angry about it feels, to me, like getting angry that they covered half of the stairs into the library with a wheelchair ramp.

    I'm not up in arms, it probably isn't that big a deal. But suppose I buy some Ebooks and my vision is failing. Should I get a free audio copy? Will Amazon kick-in a free copy from Audible? No, but I'm being asked to allow someone to read my book - the text as captioning, for free.


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    Offline MMSN

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #13 on: August 24, 2019, 02:57:23 pm »
    I recently got an email from Findaway that they have changed their Author Agreement [because of their new "Author Direct" thing] and I won't be allowed to post any more audiobooks with them until I agree to the new Agreement.

    I don't see why Audible can't/won't just do the same: put in the contract that if you post an audiobook on Audible, you agree to captions. What I'm curious about though, is what will Audible do when persnickety perfectionist authors (like, sigh, me) complain that the transcription is wrong and want it fixed? Who's going to pay for that?

    Offline C. Gold

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #14 on: August 24, 2019, 04:08:45 pm »
    Eww, I've seen attempts at doing captions on the fly and it's not pretty. If Whispersync isn't good enough then why don't they update it? I don't mind people buying my 'work' and morphing that into various formats, similar to buying the paperback and taking advantage of the Match program to get the ebook at a discount or free. But I should be in charge of those options and pricing. I don't want to be blamed for poor quality that I didn't have any control over.

    Offline starkllr

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #15 on: August 24, 2019, 04:42:16 pm »
    [quoteI think you're all making a big deal out of nothing. Most buyers won't use the feature, and those that do are probably people who will have a better experience than they would otherwise (hard of hearing or using earbuds in a noisy location, etc.)[/quote]

    I agree with this.  I guess I just don't understand who the target consumer for this is.  If you have difficulty hearing and can't adequately hear the audiobook, the Kindle version of the book is pretty much guaranteed to be cheaper than the audobook anyway, so why would you buy an audiobook to hear every third word and read along for more than it would cost to just buy the eBook and read it?  I guess if you have a big audible library and then develop hearing problems it would be  nice to be able to read along and not have to purchase a whole bunch of books you already paid for, but I'm guessing that's a rare situation.

    <i>If you want to make this about the differently-abled, a more apt analogy would be for Amazon to put out a Braille version of one of my books as an extra in-house feature, without compensating me for the new edition. It's not okay.</i>

    So long as I got paid for sales of the Braille version, I don't think I'd have an issue with that.

     
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    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #16 on: August 24, 2019, 05:26:54 pm »

    <i>If you want to make this about the differently-abled, a more apt analogy would be for Amazon to put out a Braille version of one of my books as an extra in-house feature, without compensating me for the new edition. It's not okay.</i>

    So long as I got paid for sales of the Braille version, I don't think I'd have an issue with that.

    that's precisely the point. The analogy is that someone who already bought one edition of the book can get a different edition of the book without my getting paid for that other edition. So, no, you wouldn't.

    Offline jmb3

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #17 on: August 24, 2019, 07:30:26 pm »
    Below is Audible's response to the lawsuit from their site.

    Interesting that they are angling it as an educational program. Also, it says they are working with publishers but maybe they are not including the indie publisher. I have a rep at Audible and have been invited into new programs they were rolling out but I was never asked about the Captions program. But then maybe they aren't planning to caption romance if this is aimed more at educational works.

    I'm not counting out Captions just yet because I'm a fan of Audible. I've been to their studios and met the people who work there. They are a great, hardworking group of professionals. I do think the idea was probably a good one, just not thought all the way through.


    https://www.audible.com/about/newsroom/audible-captions-a-demonstration/
    "Audible response to August 23 claims by the AAP regarding the Captions feature
    We are surprised and disappointed by this action and any implication that we have not been speaking and working with publishers about this feature, which has not yet launched. 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. 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."
    « Last Edit: August 25, 2019, 05:13:29 pm by jmb3 »


    Offline jdcore

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #18 on: August 24, 2019, 08:14:33 pm »
    I'm not up in arms, it probably isn't that big a deal. But suppose I buy some Ebooks and my vision is failing. Should I get a free audio copy? Will Amazon kick-in a free copy from Audible? No, but I'm being asked to allow someone to read my book - the text as captioning, for free.
    If you buy an ebook, and your vision is failing, you can use the text-to-speech option. Does that mean they gave you a free audiobook?

    Online AlecHutson

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #19 on: August 24, 2019, 10:19:11 pm »
    The Passive Voice has a take on this, and the comments on the post are worth reading.

    https://www.thepassivevoice.com/audible-captions-vs-the-publishing-industry/

    Personally, I don't really care. Machine generated text to read along while listening to the audible version is not an ebook, and I can't imagine a situation where someone would have bought an ebook to go along with their audio book version, but decided against it because they can read the closed captioning as the audio runs. There's also the matter that the CVAA law was passed by Congress to support those with disabilities that consume media, and allowing for text to appear for those hard of hearing could be defended as adhering to the spirit of the law. Sure, why do people who are hard of hearing consume audiobooks . . .  but maybe their hearing is only slightly impaired and they just need to check once in a while to make sure they heard correctly.

    https://www.fcc.gov/general/twenty-first-century-communications-and-video-accessibility-act-0

    "The idea proffered by Big Publishing that audiobooks with captions will diminish ebook sales of the same title is, for PG, ridiculous.

    For someone who desires to read an ebook version of a work, reading audio captions is like running a marathon on snowshoes, way, way too slow.

    For someone who has problems reading (physically or mentally), listening to an audiobook while following the captions may allow that person to consume and enjoy the book when either the printed book/ebook alone or an audiobook without captions would be far less enjoyable.

    Listening to an audiobook with captions could help someone who doesnt read learn to do so.

    In PGs written and verbal opinion, the traditional publishing industry is technologically and financially inept in the extreme." - Passive Guy, from the post linked above




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    Offline RPatton

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #20 on: August 25, 2019, 06:05:56 am »
    Screenwriters went on strike because they weren't getting paid for DVD episodes. (The strike killed quite a few promising series that came out that year.) Writers should get paid for their work, regardless of how that work is presented. And if the terms change after they agree, then they should be able to opt out.

    Audlbe can caption all the books they want, as long as the authors are either compensated for their words appearing in another media or able to opt out.

    Offline Tobias Roote

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    Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
    « Reply #21 on: August 25, 2019, 06:39:48 am »
    Frankly, I wouldn't give a damn about this. I'm more p*ssed that they only pay me 25% on the Audiobooks they do sell, and that after discounting it to ridiculously low prices if you bought the 99 cents eBook.


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