July 19, 2019
AAP Statement on Audible’s “Caption” Feature
Following is the statement of Maria A. Pallante, AAP President and CEO, with respect to Audible’s July 17, 2019 announcement that it plans to incorporate text into audio books without obtaining appropriate licenses:
“The Association of American Publishers finds Audible's announcement regarding its forthcoming "Caption” feature both surprising and deeply concerning.
Audible enjoys access to valuable literary properties only because publishers and authors have entrusted these works as part of explicitly licensed audio book agreements; Audible cannot also create wholly unauthorized, text versions of these audio performances unless the copyright owners agree that such adaptations are permissible. Such adaptations could serve to undermine their legitimate and separately licensed markets for books and eBooks. Nothing under U.S. law permits a company that is a copyright licensee for one purpose to unilaterally extend the scope of the agreement to other uses, particularly for the purpose of enhancing one’s products for commercial gain.
We are reviewing the matter with our member companies and considering next steps.”