More on the Kindle 2 and Read-Aloud

In my last post I wrote about the controversy raised by the new Kindle’s ability to “read aloud” ebook text files, and the assertion by Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, that this constituted copyright infringement.

There’s a provocative (and occasionally surrealistic) discussion of the question at the Mobileread.com forum thread: New Kindle Audio Feature Causes a Stir.

And from someone who apparently is an ex-copyright attorney, this interesting page on Engadget.com: Know Your Rights: Does the Kindle 2’s text-to-speech infringe authors’ copyrights?

I’m guessing that this is a question that’s going to drag on for a while. Wonder if it’ll make it to court. Although I find myself on Amazon’s side on this one (odd feeling), I think it’s probably a legal gray area.

Someone on Mobileread asked how I’d feel if C3PO read Sunborn aloud to a stadium full of paying guests. I said I thought that would constitute a performance, and wasn’t relevant to this discussion. (I didn’t raise the question of whether C3PO is sentient and shouldn’t be considered a machine, but maybe I should have.)

Now, if someone gathered a stadium full of people all with Kindles with Sunborn loaded, and in unison they started a mass read-aloud, with or without my permission, I would think that was…pretty damn cool!

Someone want to organize that for me? 🙂

0 Responses

  1. substandardTim
    | Reply

    fyi read out loud works just fine on Sunborn using Adobe Reader. Though I can’t imagine listening to it like that and keeping my sanity.

    The idea that the Kindle 2 infringes on audio rights is ridiculous when anyone with free Adobe reader software can do the same thing.

    Was there ever a Twilight Zone where there were no lawyers in the world? If not, there should have been.

  2. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    I just tried it myself (I never realized Adobe Reader had the capability). Gawd. I see what you mean. If I had no other option for reading, I suppose I would adjust to it, but it was pretty awful.

    To compare, I then opened Neptune Crossing in Microsoft Reader. It gave me a different voice, and was microscopically better. But again, I can’t imagine using it unless I really had the need.

    I wonder how the Kindle compares.

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