Linked by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Wed 18th Feb 2009 00:00 UTC
Legal The Author's Guild has been having some trouble coping with the Kindle 2's Read to Me feature because it supposedly undermines author's rights. Their argument? "They don't have the right to read a book out loud." It sounds ridiculous; we've been reading out loud since we were wee little children, and text-to-speech has been in use since before the Google Empire (by hundreds of years technically, and by decades literally). However, after explanation by Engadget's very own pretentious ex-copyright attorney, the blurred lines of law and lawlessness gets even blurrier. Does the Author's Guild have a valid point, or are they splitting hairs?
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RE: Actually
by edwdig on Wed 18th Feb 2009 19:12 UTC in reply to "Actually"
edwdig
Member since:
2005-08-22

What's the difference between a sequence of (digital) words that get converted into speech and a sequence of (digital) numbers that get converted into a song?

In the case of the song, the digital data is a direct representation of the song being reproduced. Other than the artifacts introduced by the chosen data compression method, the data is an exact replication of the song that gets produced in the end.

In the case of the book, the digital data is just a representation of printed characters. There is no audio there, and it's not a very data source to use for creating audio. Any audio you derive from it is based on combining that data with other data (voice samples) and a bunch of custom algorithms. You're creating something new from the text data. That's where the difference comes in.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Actually
by sbergman27 on Wed 18th Feb 2009 19:16 in reply to "RE: Actually"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

You're creating something new from the text data. That's where the difference comes in.

So it's a derivative work?

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RE[3]: Actually
by Ressev on Wed 18th Feb 2009 22:51 in reply to "RE[2]: Actually"
Ressev Member since:
2005-07-18

"You're creating something new from the text data. That's where the difference comes in.
So it's a derivative work? "

It's as derivative as my own reading of the material aloud. Forget the source of the audio: human or electronic, it is what you do with it that counts. So if, regardless of purpose, money is to be derived from the audio for the author (read: Guild) if the source is electronic, then why not when from human? Why not from when I read a book to my children?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Actually
by Soulbender on Wed 18th Feb 2009 19:31 in reply to "RE: Actually"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

You're creating something new from the text data. That's where the difference comes in.


That is perfectly allowed by copyright laws as long as I do not redistribute what I have created.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Actually
by Delgarde on Wed 18th Feb 2009 20:19 in reply to "RE: Actually"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

You're creating something new from the text data. That's where the difference comes in.


Even for a completely automated, completely reproducible process? I could understand the Author's Guild case if they were concerned about having a human reading things out - I can see that being a derivative work, even if it's a little silly.

But an audio version generated entirely by mechanical process from the original text? Seems to me that if that qualified as creating something new, then that audio version could itself be protected by copyright. Who would then own that derived copyright? And then if two Kindles read the same text, is one of them breaching copyright by performing a work previously created/performed by someone else?

No, I think that if something is derived by a purely mechanical process without human input, then it doesn't count as something new. Or shouldn't, at least - I don't know what the actual legal situation is.

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