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 Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle

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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:24 pm

Would you consider a Kindle e-book that has the capability to read the
book aloud (in an electronic voice) an infringement on audio books?

That's the gist of a new legal battle that will probably go on for a very long time!

Legal Ruckus over Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature


Quote :
It was hardly the most interesting or earth-shaking part of Jeff Bezos's introduction of the Kindle 2
on Monday, but one small, experimental feature in the device is already
causing a minor uproar. Specifically: The Kindle 2's text-to-speech
function, which will use a computerized voice to read aloud anything
displayed on the device's screen. The problem? The Authors Guild says
that that's against the law.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:29 pm

That's a weird one.

Is running text through babelfish translater a new usage of the work?

Is it illegal for me to get up and read the work at a public group?
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Carol Troestler
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PostSubject: Re: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:27 pm

What about blind people who have their computers read to them? It seems to me this would be a great feature.

Carol
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:33 pm

They do and it is.
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RetiredName
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PostSubject: Re: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:06 pm

John Scalzi nails it:

Quote :
I was asked over on Twitter what I thought about the Authors’ Guild contention that the upcoming Kindle 2’s “text to speech” software violates copyright, apparently on the reasoning that it creates a new derivative work. My thought: Meh. Since I’m not committed to busting down doors and shooting people when they read a book to their kids, worrying about a montone computer voice bleating out the words to a text on a kindle is not something I’m going to stay up nights thinking about either.


My major question is, leaving aside people who are blind or have poor eyesight, and therefore for whom such a thing is manifestly useful, why someone would bother. Computerized text reading is really not the way to experience a novel in audio fashion. I pity the person who thinks a bland computer text reading of Zoe’s Tale is an optimal experience, especially when Tavia Gilbert’s spectaular reading of the book exists out there to get. Yes, one is free and the other isn’t, but you do get what you pay for.
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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Re: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:06 pm

Just found this today...

Quote :

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Amazon is yielding to concerns of authors by
letting them selectively silence a read-aloud feature in Kindle 2
electronic book readers that hit the market in February.

The US Authors Guild had warned that the new Kindle feature could pose
a "significant challenge" to the publishing industry and hinted at
possible legal action by saying they were studying the matter closely.


Full article


Seems that authors still have a voice in the industry!
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:16 pm

... but the Kindle doesn't!

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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:44 pm

The same story was run on Gizmodo with the headline, Amazon Caves in to Picky Authors.

They seemed to feel it was a silly move in the first place, but it's always cool to see amazon screw up and have to back and fill.
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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Re: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:56 pm

Serves `em right for removing my "BUY" button! LOL

Picky authors? That smarts...
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:04 pm

Actually, my memory failed me... it was SNIPPY authors not less.

Here's the article:


Amazon Caves to Snippy Authors: Kindle's Text-to-Voice Feature Now Optional
By Dan Nosowitz, 7:00 PM on Sat Feb 28 2009, 29,890 views

We reported the Author's Guild's litigious anger about the Kindle 2's text-to-voice feature, claiming it violates audio book copyrights. It's an arguable position, but Amazon has gone ahead and caved to the literate man.

Amazon has backed down for the Guild's comfort rather than for any legal motivation, since it's pretty clear that a robotic reading isn't the same as an audio book. "We strongly believe many rights holders will be more comfortable with the text-to-speech feature if they are in the driver's seat," Amazon said.

But instead of removing the feature, Amazon has simply made it optional, so publishers can decide for themselves what's best for their property. That means it's unlikely the much-advertised (though not necessarily much-loved) feature is going to be too useful for Kindle 2 owners. We're not thrilled, since the Guild has no real legal leg to stand on and seems to need Amazon more than Amazon needs them, but then again, we're not fancy-pants authors.
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:57 am

"fancy-pants authors"!? Good grief!

lin said: "it's always cool to see amazon screw up and have to back and fill." I can just see you with a really smug look on your face, lin. It has been plain how much you dislike Amazon in the past.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature - Legal Battle   Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:16 am

Hey, Gismodo staff is all gear queer techno geeks.

I actually like amazon from the standpoint of buying off their website--they have that together like nobody else.

The business side of them is a different story: crooked, rotten posers and scumbags from the front door on up to the top.
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