Captions Settlement

Audible and the publishers who sued them over their planned Captions program – which cre­ates scrolling, machine-generated text that dis­plays while their audiobooks are playing – have reached a settlement. Audible’s lawyer Em­ily Resbaum wrote to the court on January 13, 2020 that “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.” Details of the settlement have not been released.

Audible, Amazon’s audiobook publishing arm, announced plans for “Audible Captions” late last summer. Audible said the feature would be “available on hundreds of thousands of audiobooks at launch” – alarming publishers who hadn’t licensed the rights to publish such text to Audible. The As­sociation of American Publishers filed a lawsuit on August 23, 2019 in the southern district court of New York to block the program. Publishers including Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Ran­dom House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster were named as plaintiffs. The judge encouraged them to negotiate and come to terms, and several months of discussions followed before all parties reached an agreement.

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