Well, the publishers didn’t win the injunction they wanted, or the summary judgement that many assumed would occur, but it has come to a close – in a settlement.
PW has published a letter (PDF) that Amazon’s law firm sent to the judge overseeing the case. The letter does not reveal any juicy details, but it does say that the parties had reached a settlement. The letter asked the judge to give the parties until 21 January to submit settlement documents to the court for its consideration and approval.
This was a curious case. I was just about the only one following the case that wasn’t convinced it was a slamdunk for the seven publisher plaintiffs. Instead, I thought this case had an excellent chance of following in the footsteps of Google Books and expanding fair use. Like Google Books, Audible Captions was a transformative use that did not replace any existing format, so it seemed to me that Audible could win this case on its merits.
As the case dragged on for months with no ruling or injunction, it seemed I was right. And they way the judge pressured both sites to work out a compromise suggested that this was not nearly as clear cut as some would think.
We will have to wait for the settlement to be announced before we know more, obviously.
Audible did not answer my emails asking for details on the details of the settlement or how it would affect Audible Captions, and PW reports that the AAP had no comment at this time.