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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goffster
Member since:
2007-11-24

The sale of audio books might be undermined.

i.e. selling a "print" book and selling an "audio"
book might be granted to different companies.

Reply Score: 1

Ressev Member since:
2005-07-18

It was also argued that libraries undermine the sale of books. That argument lost. It was also argued that photocopiers were infringing upon book sales. That lost.

As for this hurting the sales of audio books: highly unlikely. Again: I can get my wife to read a book outloud while I drive. This 'hurts' the sale of audio books. Therefore, something greater has to be at stake than the simple sales for this to be an issue.

Is the material redistributed so that actual (as opposed to theoretical) revenue is lost? Only if the person doing the copying/reading redistrubutes the material for a profit.

A library can lend a book without breaking the law since the book itself was purchased and they are not republishing the book for their own distribution. A photocopier in a library or at Kinkos does not break the law since the person making the copies is not very likely to sell the pages they copy (It is simply not cost effective for the seller or buyer) under fair use. A person reading a book aloud to their kids or someone else is not depriving an author (or the profesional reader) of revenue unless they then make an audio recording and sell it.

So, unless the person is redistributing the audio, there is no problem. The argument against the text to speech is against technology, which is neutral. It is the practical use of that technology that IS the issue.

Reply Parent Score: 1

steogede2 Member since:
2007-08-17

Goffster, you are quite right, the sale of audio books *might* decline - however so might sales of printed books. However, it would likely only happen if sales of e-books improved.

A publisher is perfectly able to increase their charges for e-books to compensate for loss of audio and printed book sales; there is no reason for the author to lose out. The argument should be between the author and their publisher - it has nothing to do with Amazon.

Edited 2009-02-22 14:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1