February 12, 2009: E-Book Rights Alert: Amazon’s Kindle 2 Adds “Text to Speech” Function
Until this issue is worked out, Amazon may be undermining your audio market as it exploits your e-books.
Amazon’s initial implementation of Kindle 2 would have added audio playback to your e-book regardless of whether Amazon had properly acquired audio rights. For most of you, Amazon’s announcement means that it will now respect your contractual right to authorize (or not) the addition of computer-generated audio to your e-books sold for the Kindle.
Those idiots couldn’t distinguish between crappy machine-generated badly-pronounced audio output and the artistry of a human reader.
And now along comes the Copyright Office to slap them down:
(6) Literary works distributed in ebook format when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling either of the book’s read-aloud function or of screen readers that render the text into a specialized format.
The Copyright Office has now stated that machine-reading is not a subsidiary right of a book contract and the DRM on such eBooks that prevent Text-to-Speech can legally be circumvented to re-enable that function.
It remains to be seen now if Amazon will flip the flag on all of its Kindle books that has prevented this feature.
I won’t be going into other DRM issues. There are plenty of others chiming in about that elsewhere.
I just needed to show once again that the Authors Guild is an organization with its head stuck up its ass when it comes to technology.