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Audible forced to protect legal difference between audiobook transcripts and, uh, "books"



Photo: Brian Beder (Getty Images)

Today, in the exciting world of niche legal battles over the publication of giant gas wars : Audible, owned by Amazon, has been sued by a number of major publishers for its decision to include auto-tagging services with some parts of its audiobook library. And frankly, we love this kind of crap because it's the kind that initially seems like a great idea – the intricacies are created to help struggling readers follow a few words at a time, complemented by the ability to pause and get a definition for each word which they have a problem with – but then someone goes ahead and points out that we already have transcripts of audiobooks and that they are called, uh, "books."

Per THR the court case comes with the kind assistance of every major business publisher – Chronicle Books, Hachette Book Group, HarperC ollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster – who are angry that they have not even been consulted about the decision and who claim that Audible not only disseminates its copyrighted material without rights to that, but also distributes stupid versions of it to boot. (Transcriptions are generated by machine-based speech-to-text techniques; Audible reports that their technology fucks up to 6 percent of words.)

Audible claims that all this is inflated and that the audio captions are only there to serve as a reading aid, which is why they only show a handful of words at a time. (So, yes, you could copy the text of Moby Dick down if you really wanted to steal very boring text in the public domain, but it would take you a minor piece of extremely your limited life to do so.) Which has not stopped publishers from saying, "Well, you're still issuing words that we own, but not in the format you're allowed to distribute, so: Court. "The publisher's point of view seems to be that if you want to read along with an audiobook, it's damn good to buy that text as well (and then sync it with the Audible Immersion Reader, if you like). [19659004] God, we love this stupid shit.


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