Linked by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Sat 28th Feb 2009 21:02 UTC
In the News The recent text-to-speech craze dealing with the Kindle 2 eventually got to the top as we all knew it would. Amazon has now released official word that their TTS feature is completely legal, but not to challenge those who were causing a fuss over its legalities earlier. They're stating that they're reprogramming the Kindle's system and are going to let the rightsholders decide whether to allow their book to be read by the Kindle's TTS on a title-by-title basis, and also that Amazon has much commercial interest in the audiobook business and believes that TTS will help the business, not detract from it. In Amazon's own words: "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. We believe many will decide that it is." Phew. Glad that legal squabble has been dealt with. Lawyerless, courtless, suitless resolution; if only all disputes could be solved this way.
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Oh, just great
by darknexus on Sat 28th Feb 2009 22:23 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

Another blow to open access for all. Wonderful, Amazon. So much for your word not to cave. A perfect example of American values--that is, none to speak of.

Reply Score: 3

Nice Cave Job Amazon....
by pantheraleo on Sat 28th Feb 2009 22:53 UTC
pantheraleo
Member since:
2007-03-07

Way to go Amazon. You caved in to the Author's Guild without even putting up a fight. You also just took a big step backwards in what would have been a major improvement in making reading materials accessible to the blind.

ridiculousCopyrightClaims++;
acessibilityForTheBlind--;

Nice to see where your priorities lie Amazon.

So what about all these assistive reading devices that scan book pages and then dictate them back to blind people? Is the Author's Guild going to claim that these violate copyright next?

Shame on the Author's Guild for this claim against Kindle II. I hope authors who have any sense of social responsibility at all cancel their memberships in the Author's Guild.

Edited 2009-02-28 22:57 UTC

Reply Score: 8

This is a good thing
by dagw on Sun 1st Mar 2009 11:47 UTC
dagw
Member since:
2005-07-06

By shifting the decision over to the rights holders Amazon is in effect letting individual authors 'vote' on what they think of the guilds policy. If virtually nobody contacts Amazon to turn this lock on the authors guild is going to look mighty foolish fighting for an issue non of their members support. What better way to show the foolishness of a policy than to have non the people whom you represent actually back that policy.

Reply Score: 4

dumb
by TechGeek on Sun 1st Mar 2009 17:21 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

Except for the fact that the authors probably won't be the ones who get to pick. It will be the publishers and they are a bunch of greedy bastards. You and I both know that there won't be very many books that actually allow this. Talk about bullshit.

Reply Score: 5

RE: dumb
by Ressev on Mon 2nd Mar 2009 22:21 UTC in reply to "dumb"
Ressev Member since:
2005-07-18

Yes and no.

This is smart as it will reveal where the real hold up is in regards to TTS. Is it the Author or Publisher? Perhaps authors will seek less stringent publishers.

What IS dumb is not that Amazon compromised, but that they had to be forced into this position period.

Do recall that the TTS is still in Kindle2, just the onus for it being on or off is out of their hands. This also means that TTS will still be on the Kindle2 and thus usuable on non-copyrighted material.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: dumb
by WorknMan on Tue 3rd Mar 2009 03:22 UTC in reply to "RE: dumb"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

What IS dumb is not that Amazon compromised, but that they had to be forced into this position period.


Finally, somebody here with some common sense. Just like with Microsoft and HDCP, the wrong entity is once again being blamed.

It basically happens like this - somebody who hosts or provides content gets harassed with threats of legal action, and so they pull the content in one way or the other, or else they add in some form of DRM to appease the content owner. And then it seems to always happen that the party getting harassed is the one who ultimately gets blamed for it all instead of the party doing the harassing.

Reply Score: 2

Sellouts!
by WarpKat on Mon 2nd Mar 2009 15:29 UTC
WarpKat
Member since:
2006-02-06

SELLOUTS! GET YOUR HOT FRESH SELLOUTS! GET'M WHILE THEY'RE HOT! SELLOUTS!

Reply Score: 1

An excellent cut at the Gordian knot.
by Ressev on Mon 2nd Mar 2009 22:14 UTC
Ressev
Member since:
2005-07-18

Amazon compromised, not caved, on the Text to Speech matter. Personally, I would have prefered the union to drop it's idiocy completely, but as another commentor said: this places the burden of silence in the hands of the author (where it rightly belongs) and not in the hands of Amazon.

Good job. Salute.

Now, if you have a Kindle 2 and are driving along without your spouse to read the book for you and turn on Text to speech in hopes to listen to the material: you'll know to complain to Mr. King* that his book cannot be TTSed while Mrs. Rice's* books can. Likewise, if an author likes TTS, knowing his readers would rather buy human audio rather than digitized, he would know which publisher to avoid.

*note: authors are fictional and are not meant to be representative of their actual decisions.

Edited 2009-03-02 22:17 UTC

Reply Score: 1

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Don't be naive. It won't be the author who decides, but his or her publisher, and a majority of those authors have signed any rights to decide matters such as this away to their publishers.

Reply Score: 2

Ressev Member since:
2005-07-18

No, I am not naive. I do understand that the Book industry has very similar traits to the Record industry and that new, writters are more at the service of the publisher than the publisher at the service of the author/writer. Bigger names in Literature command much more control over their work than not, still...

Call it my: wishful thinking moment. ;)

Reply Score: 1

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Most authors have no power, their publishers do. What would it matter where the hold-up was if Amazon refused to allow a hold-up? The idiots!

Reply Score: 2

Ressev Member since:
2005-07-18

Because if Amazon did not compromise, the outcome would be one of two things should the Union win:

1 - Amazon has to remove the TTS capabiolity completely.

2 - Amazon has to charge more for Kindle Books to pay royalties.

Either way, Amazon loses money and the consumer is hurt even more than with the compromise.

Reply Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Should the union win, is your operative phrase. I doubt they would have done so, not that we'll ever find out now. Either way, some consumers are hurt worse by this than they would have been by a battle over it, regardless of the outcome.

Reply Score: 2

Ressev Member since:
2005-07-18

If the Union won in court: obvious outcome.
If the Union did not win: they could put pressure on publishers to not make books available to Amazon's Kindle. However, I do not think they would be that dumb.

Reply Score: 1

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Because if Amazon did not compromise, the outcome would be one of two things should the Union win:

1 - Amazon has to remove the TTS capabiolity completely.

2 - Amazon has to charge more for Kindle Books to pay royalties.

Either way, Amazon loses money and the consumer is hurt even more than with the compromise.



eh... Or:

3 - A judge rules that the text to speech capability is NOT a copyright violation, and is in the public interest to make sure that reading materials are more accessible to the blind. And the Author's Guild gets their ass handed to them (which is probably would have happened as soon as Amazon brought up the argument about making reading materials accessible to the blind being the main benefit of the TTS capability)

Edited 2009-03-04 06:49 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Ressev Member since:
2005-07-18

Talking about a Union win only. ;)

Reply Score: 1

No one is innocent
by TechGeek on Wed 4th Mar 2009 01:05 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

WorknMan: No one is innocent when it comes to supporting DRM. While Microsoft did not invent HDCP, they are making money off the fact that they support it. I don't blame Microsoft any more than I blame Sony. I also don't buy Blu Ray disks or use Windows. But Amazon and Microsoft both had a go with the village whore. They don't get to walk away guilt free.

Reply Score: 2