Settlement agreed upon in audio book captions lawsuit

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Book publishers and the leading audio book producer-distributor have agreed to a settlement in their copyright lawsuit

NEW YORK —
The audio book company Audible, Inc. and the publishing houses that had sued it for copyright infringement have agreed to a settlement.

In a letter filed this week in federal court in New York, Audible’s attorneys, writing on behalf of both sides, announced that “the parties have resolved their disputes” and expected to submit the settlement documents by Jan. 21. No other details were provided.

The so-called “Big Five” of publishing — Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers and Macmillan Publishers — were among those suing the audio book producer-distributor’s planned use of captions for an education-driven program. The suit was filed last August in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Books in the Audible program included “The Hunger Games” and “The Hate U Give.”

“Audible Captions takes publishers’ proprietary audio books, converts the narration into unauthorized text, and distributes the entire text of these ‘new’ digital books to Audible’s customers,” the lawsuit read in part.

Audible, owned by Amazon.com, is the dominant player in the growing audio market. It had defended the captions program as working within the framework of copyright law.

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