Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Amazon Gives Back Audio Rights

As I've mentioned before, the Kindle 2's new read-out-loud feature is controversial. Paul Aiken, the executive director of the Authors Guild, claims the Kindle 2 doesn't "have the right to read a book out loud" because "[t]hat's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."

Bowing to pressure, in a statement published in the NY Times, Amazon explained that they will offer publishers the choice of turning off the audio feature: "We are modifying our systems so that rights holders can decide on a title by title basis whether they want text-to-speech enabled or disabled for any particular title. We have already begun to work on the technical changes required to give authors and publishers that choice. With this new level of control, publishers and authors will be able to decide for themselves whether it is in their commercial interests to leave text-to-speech enabled."

In other words, Amazon did its legal research.

1 comment:

Nick Dawson said...

Theres another side to the audio content debate. In college I used a "reading machine" that did text to speech and gave me a spoken voice to follow along with the written word. For someone with ADD it is a godsend. It meant reading more books and doing so more quickly.

My Kindle is due to arrive today - my hope is the same kind of experience where I can read and listen at the same time; cranking up the spoken word speed.

My fingers are crossed that the publishers will change their stance on this.