Week 3/20 – week ending 17 January

Audible to settle in Captions lawsuit

Amazon’s audiobook company Audible has reached a settlement with a group of seven US publishers in the copyright lawsuit against the firm’s Captions programme, according to a letter from Audible’s legal team.

Seven publishers launched a lawsuit in August 2019 against Audible’s Captions programme, which enables US customers to read along to their audiobooks, arguing the feature violates copyright law, and were also seeking a preliminary injunction to stop their works from being used in the feature, which the audiobook company had planned to roll out in September last year.

In a letter to all parties on 13th January, Audible attorney Emily Reisbaum told judge Valerie Caproni that the firm had finalised a settlement with Chronicle Books, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster, who were all named as plaintiffs on the suit, filed by the Association of American Publishers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Reisbaum has requested until 21st January to submit documents to the court.

Reisbaum said: “We are pleased to inform the court that the parties have resolved their disputes. The parties respectfully request until January 21 to allow the parties to obtain signatures on the settlement documents and submit them to the court for its consideration and approval.”

Negotiations started in October 2019 and last month, Audible said a settlement was “close”.

The Bookseller has contacted the AAP and Amazon for comment.