Audible Captions, Copyright Lawsuits, and Other News from the World of Writing

indie author newsThings move so quickly in the world of writing and publishing, it’s often hard to keep up, and the month of July was really hopping. I’ve rounded up some of the top stories to share with you.

First up, Audible has caused quite a stir with its plan to announce a new “Captions” program in September. What is Captions? Well, the details are unknown at this point, and that’s part of the problem. On the extreme negative end of the spectrum (remember, I said extreme negative, so don’t panic!), it could mean they plan to offer closed captioning for our audiobooks with or without our consent. Think about that. When a movie or television show uses closed captioning, dialogue is provided on screen. When an audiobook is closed captioned, everything is provided on screen. As explained in Publishers Weekly, this has publishers and other organizations up in arms over what would appear to be blatant copyright infringement.

Out of curiosity, I pulled out my dusty copy of my ACX Book Posting Agreement. I’m not an attorney, but number 15 on the agreement would seem to indicate they can’t do that. And maybe that’s not their intention. Maybe they’ll allow authors and publishers to opt in or out. I emailed ACX to ask, and the short version of their answer was basically, “We’ll know in September.”

So, I guess we’ll know in September.

In a separate but possibly helpful note, the Copyright Alliance put out a press release commending the “Senate Judiciary Committee’s markup and passage of the CASE Act by a voice vote.”

What is the CASE Act? According to the release, it’s “legislation that will provide U.S. creators with a viable means for defending their copyrighted works through the creation of a small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office.”

The release goes on to explain that historically, the only option a creator had when copyright was infringed upon was to take the case to a federal court. As they note, federal court is much too costly and complicated for many creators to navigate. In other words, although our works are protected, we can’t afford to enforce their protection.

The CASE Act aims to provide creators with “a voluntary, inexpensive, and streamlined alternative to federal court.”

These things take time, and I’m sure it still has channels to go through, but it would seem to be an improvement over the system we currently have.

Let’s just hope none of us ever need it.

Finally, John Doppler shared some interesting book marketing strategies for KDP authors.  For example, did you know you can enter an entire string of words into each keyword box on KDP? I didn’t. As Doppler points out, each slot can hold 50 characters. I see I have some keyword entering to do.

That’s it for this week. Maybe I’ll have more news to share in September. 😊

Author: Melinda Clayton

Melinda Clayton is the author of the Cedar Hollow series, as well as a self-publishing guide. Clayton has published numerous articles and short stories in various print and online magazines. She has an Ed.D. in Special Education Administration and is a licensed psychotherapist in the states of Florida and Colorado. Lear more about Melinda at her Amazon author page

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