Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kindle Text to Speech - Make Your Own Mind Up

We came across two interesting articles which are worth reading about the Amazon text to Speech conflict with the Authors Guild. We believe the case is far from proven and the only winners will be the lawyers, the losers will be the consumers, the authors and those trying to move the industry into the 21st century in a sensible fashion and not follow the chaos of other media sectors.

First is an interview between the Guild’s Paul Aiken and Engadget, ‘The Engadget Interview: Paul Aiken, Executive Director of the Authors Guild’.

Second an essay posted in the NYT and written by the President of the Guild Roy Blount Jnr. ‘The Kindle Swindle?’

How we can differentiate between the Kindle as a dedicated book device and other electronic devices such as PCs that have text to speech as a feature, or the future smartphone, is highly questionable. When you change the typeset font, size, pagination, are you breaking rights? Does every file format need to be specified and rights against it agreed in advance? When I read a book on a PC and use text to speech is that ok? If I read a book out loud but through a microphone and amp is an infringement? Remember all the rights that the physical copy gives you today that the digital copy doesn’t.

What is fair use and is this about rights or money? If the later how will you determine the usage on a downloaded file? If you merely slap on a supplemental charge for a feature you may never use, can’t monitor and is accepted by all all poor file quality, is that what we call fair?

Some would suggest that this debate, like others, is based on emotion and not logic.

We will soon have kids wishing to grow up as rich lawyers when they grow up!

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