IBPA Statement on the Audible Captions Program
Monday, July 22, 2019
This article was originally published on July 22, 2019. It was updated on August 26, 2019. Read the full report below.
IBPA finds Audible’s announcement that it plans to begin running text alongside its audiobooks troubling and confusing and recommends its members check their contracts and speak to their Audible representative about the implications of the new initiative.
"As new technologies make things possible that weren't possible before, publishers need to be more diligent than ever in policing copyright,” said IBPA CEO Angela Bole. “There's more to learn here, but unless we’re talking about books in the public domain, I can't see how this new initiative from Audible falls under Fair Use Doctrine. Audible needs contracted permission to create what is essentially an enhanced e-book."
The Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and many others have spoken out against the Audible Captions program. In addition, IBPA attorney Jonathan Kirsch, a publishing and intellectual property attorney based in Los Angeles, had this to say:
“As a fundamental principle of U.S. copyright law, permission of the copyright owner is required to publish an e-book, an audiobook, and/or a mash-up of the two. I am presuming that Audible has acquired these rights from the copyright owners. If not, they have a lot of explaining to do. On the other hand, if Audible believes that it has found a way to navigate through the Fair Use Doctrine or the law that permits reproduction of a copyrighted work 'for the benefit of the disabled,' they have even more explaining to do because neither of these principles seems to apply to their new product.”
IBPA members impacted by the Audible Caption program are encouraged to reach out to IBPA CEO Angela Bole at email@example.com, leave a comment on this post, or contribute to the conversation happening within IBPA's members-only discussion board.
UPDATE: August 26, 2019
IBPA Supports AAP Lawsuit Against Audible Captions Program (via IBPA website)
About the Independent Book Publishers Association
IBPA's mission is to lead and serve the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. Its vision is a world where every independent publisher has the access, knowledge, and tools needed to professionally engage in all aspects of an inclusive publishing industry. Read more here.