This week, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster sued Amazon over Audible’s new Speech-to-Text feature. This new feature takes spoken words and transcribes them into written words using machine learning. This allows Audible subscribers to read along as they listen to a book.
As you may understand book publishers are unhappy about this because it may take book sales away from them.
“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 lawsuit reads. “If Audible is not enjoined, Audible will take for itself a format of digital distribution it is not authorized to provide, devalue the market for cross-format products, and harm Publishers, authors, and the consumers who enjoy and rely on books.”
This case will likely set a precedent for the idea of machine learning and the rights to audio transcriptions. Cord Cutters News will keep a close eye on how the case develops and what it means for the future of Audible’s new feature.
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