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A writer friend (non-Kindler) just passed this along:

From a publishing industry newsletter, a couple of things on the new Kindle.

"Some in the publishing community are raising objections to the new device's deployment of text-to-speech software that lets users have books read aloud by Kindle. Agents are raising questions and Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken tells the WSJ "they don't have the right to read a book out loud. That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law." Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener says "these are not audiobooks. Text to speech is simply software that runs on devices and reads content." To that argument, an agent responds to us: "TTS is a tool. So is a knife. If I use it to cut vegetables, I'm using it for its intended and lawful purpose. If I use it to stab someone, I'm committing a crime. The fact that they are using a technology to create an audiobook rather than recording one has nothing to do with the issue. They are using a tool that has lawful purposes to violate copyright." Asked about next steps, Aiken says "we're studying it right now."

"One other feature of the new Kindle not mentioned earlier is that the battery--prone to exposure when the back door would fly off in the first model--is now sealed inside the device. An Amazon representative told us that they heard from very few customers who had need or interest in replacing the battery on the device. (And the loose door was a commonly-heard complaint.)"


My comments on these points: the battery part doesn't make sense. Maybe the reporter misunderstood the Amazon rep. With demand for K1 batteries so high they've been on backorder for months, clearly it's not true that "they heard from very few customers who had need or interest in replacing the battery."

The other issue, though--that the Text-to-Speech feature might infringe audio book rights--sounds like a potential minefield for Amazon. Presumably their legal staff gave them the go-ahead. Or did anyone think to ask them about it?
 

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"they don't have the right to read a book out loud. That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."
I look forward with great amusement to their impending RIAA style lawsuits against parents reading aloud to their children all of whom failed to secure those rights to read a book aloud.
 

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Is the genius who wrote that article going to prosecute ALL text to speech programs? Because the one on the Kindle 2 certainly isn't the first.
 

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Mikuto said:
Is the genius who wrote that article going to prosecute ALL text to speech programs? Because the one on the Kindle 2 certainly isn't the first.
Probably just the ones with multi-millions. ie:Amazon
 

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What a bunch of twits. Maybe if audio books were not so damn expensive this wouldn't be a problem. I seriously doubt that Amazon would put something on the K2 that was illegal. I have a sneaking suspicion that their lawyers got all of their ducks in order before allowing text to speech to be added to K2.
 

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Did he really compare text-to-speech to murder?
 

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A lot of blind people use text to speech for computers. Googling text to speech brings up 33,000,000 sites. Plenty of them offering programs.

This is a non-issue. There is no legality issue here.

Cherie said:
Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken tells the WSJ "they don't have the right to read a book out loud. That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."
If that was true, every single person who ever read a book to their child, or read a piece aloud to a friend, or read something aloud in school is BREAKING COPYRIGHT LAW. The level of ridiculous here can't even be measured.
 

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Mikuto said:
If that was true, every single person who ever read a book to their child, or read a piece aloud to a friend, or read something aloud in school is BREAKING COPYRIGHT LAW. The level of ridiculous here can't even be measured.
this was my thought too.
also the sample text to speach sample I heard while OK is not the same as Brian Jacques reading Eulalia - a wonderfull performance and something to pay for.

Sylvia
 

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I look forward with great amusement to their impending RIAA style lawsuits against parents reading aloud to their children all of whom failed to secure those rights to read a book aloud.
hahahahahaahahahahahahahahaahaha
 

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Agreed that the whole argument is stupid.

I did notice yesterday, though, that TTS is listed as "experimental", which means Amazon could take it away at any time for any reason, just like they did with NowNow....
 

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I can only imagine the lawsuit against the parents..
"So how many chapters of Harry Potter did you read to your 4 children?"

Its as stupid as disney suing daycares because they dare have Winnie The Pooh murals..
 

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President Obama has read Harry Potter. One could infer that he's read it to his daughters.

Are they going to try and sue HIM?
 

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Steph H said:
Agreed that the whole argument is stupid.

I did notice yesterday, though, that TTS is listed as "experimental", which means Amazon could take it away at any time for any reason, just like they did with NowNow....
Only if people insist on having their Kindle read stupid books to them...

L
 

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This is ridiculous. If they get sued, then blind people should sue THEM (the RIAA) for denying them the ease of having thousand of books read out loud to them.
 
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