Saturday, February 28, 2009

Amazon Back Off or Redrawing the Lines?

Last night we were once again on the Litopia After Dark panel and one of the interesting debates was on the subject of Amazon’s Kindle 2 text to speech feature. The authors Guild of America had taken a stand stating that this was a violation of copyright and Amazon disputed it.

This morning we woke to read Amazon had a agreed to make the Text to Speech feature optional on a per book basis. The company statement states: r

Kindle 2's experimental text-to-speech feature is legal: no copy is made, no derivative work is created, and no performance is being given. Furthermore, we ourselves are a major participant in the professionally narrated audiobooks business through our subsidiaries Audible and Brilliance. We believe text-to-speech will introduce new customers to the convenience of listening to books and thereby grow the professionally narrated audiobooks business.

Nevertheless, we strongly believe many rights-holders will be more comfortable with the text-to-speech feature if they are in the driver's seat.

Therefore, we are modifying our systems so that rightsholders can decide on a title by title basis whether they want text-to-speech enabled or disabled for any particular title.

So we enter yet again into the murky waters of opt out and unproven case. Mind you having gone through the exercise with it on the Google settlement the Authors Guild must be getting used to treading these boards and once again the only winners are the lawyers

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