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News & Press: IBPA Advocacy

Audible Will Obtain Permission from ALL Publishers Before Enabling Audible Captions

Monday, February 24, 2020   (0 Comments)
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(Manhattan Beach, California - February 24, 2020) -- On February 7, 2020, the IBPA Board of Directors noted Publishers Weekly's coverage of the Audible Captions settlement under the headline "In Captions Settlement, Audible Will Not Use AAP Member Content Without Permission."


On February 10, 2020, in attempt to clear up confusion about whether ONLY Association of American Publishers (AAP) members' titles would be excluded from the program, IBPA submitted the following letter to Audible's head of legal:


To: Stas Zakharenao, Head of Legal, Audible
From: Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association

Re: Independent publishers seeking clarity on Audible Captions settlement

Dear Mr. Zakharenao,

Leadership at the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) read with interest the Publishers Weekly article describing settlement of the Audible Captions case.

While it is helpful to AAP that Audible has agreed not to use its members’ content in the Captions program, IBPA’s 3,207 members would like reassurance that their copyrighted works also won’t be used without permission. As mentioned to you in my letter dated September 9, 2019, IBPA sees benefit in something like the Audible Caption program, but not without proper permission from the copyright holders and proper compensation to the creators.

With this letter, I respectfully request that Audible formalize its intention not to include any copyrighted works in the Captions program without securing permission, regardless of whether the creator of the work is an AAP member or not. At very least, I request Audible also agree to obtain permission from any IBPA member in good standing before moving forward with Audible Captions for their works. By doing this, Audible will ensure it’s providing the same consideration to small and independent presses that it’s providing to the traditional houses.

I look forward to your reply.

Angela Bole
Chief Executive Officer
Independent Book Publishers Association
(310) 546-1818

On February 21, 2020, Audible responded to IBPA's letter. They wrote:

"Audible Captions functionality is currently limited to a select catalog of captions-enabled public domain works to students in school districts across the country, and we look forward to gaining learnings and data from this program. As we have publicly stated, we decided to obtain permission from all publishers (including AAP and non-AAP members) before moving forward with enabling Audible Captions for titles not in public domain. However, we will not be entering into any other agreements regarding the resolution of the lawsuit. I hope this addresses any questions IBPA members might have.

Bottom Line: Audible has decided to obtain permission from ALL publishers, not just AAP publishers, before moving a book into the Captions Program. For now, they're restricting the program to public domain works. The industry should get a look at the complete settlement agreement sometime soon.

Those interested in a full accounting of the Audible Captions issues can find one here.

About the Independent Book Publishers Association

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