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Old 04-07-2009, 09:30 PM   #1
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From HuffPo: Group protests Kindle e-reader's read-aloud restrictions

Thought y'all might find this interesting. The main thing I find interesting is that this is in the "relative mainstream" media rather than just a gadget blog...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/0..._n_184277.html

"NEW YORK — A group representing the blind and other people with disabilities protested limitations to the new read-aloud feature on Amazon.com Inc.'s latest Kindle electronic reader Tuesday, arguing that the restrictions unfairly limit their access to e-books."

Discuss amongst yourselves... or not!
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:15 PM   #2
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In a statement, the Authors Guild called the protest "unfortunate and unnecessary." The group reiterated an earlier suggestion that the Federation of the Blind take advantage of an exception to the Copyright Act that lets visually impaired people access audio versions of copyrighted books.

"Technology makes this step easy: Certified users of existing Kindles could activate their devices online to enable access to voice-output versions of all e-books. This process could be ready to go within weeks," the Guild said.
So it's Amazon that's doing it. Another black mark for Amazon since they can enable TTS for certified disabled people.
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
So it's Amazon that's doing it. Another black mark for Amazon since they can enable TTS for certified disabled people.
No, I think that's just the Authors Guild trying to blame Amazon in order to "save face". The Authors Guild is the one that threw a fit about TTS, now they're realizing that they're going to get some bad PR if it sounds like they're anti-disability. They're tying to put a spin on this so that the finger gets pointed back at Amazon.
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Shaggy View Post
No, I think that's just the Authors Guild trying to blame Amazon in order to "save face". The Authors Guild is the one that threw a fit about TTS, now they're realizing that they're going to get some bad PR if it sounds like they're anti-disability. They're tying to put a spin on this so that the finger gets pointed back at Amazon.
That is incorrect. The Authors Guild has always supported accessibility for the disabled. It's not a question of "fault." The Guild has simply pointed out that there's an easy solution to the problem, and now Amazon needs to implement it. I hope they do.
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by starrigger View Post
That is incorrect.
Not if you look at the history of this specific story.
  • Initially Amazon advertised that the kindle would do TTS for everyone.
  • The Authors Guild then said they objected to that and TTS should only be allowed based on the authors/publishers permission.
  • People with disabilities protested.

The AG could easily have said they meant "except for people with disabilities" all along (whether they originally said that or not). However, in the media that would still look like this was an argument between the disabled and the AG. Instead, the AG is trying to spin this so that the whole thing looks like a fight between the disabled and Amazon.

Amazon's preference is obviously that everyone should have access to TTS. There's really nobody in the wrong here, it's just a PR battle. This whole thing is about the impression of "Disabled people are upset at -----". Right now the AG's name is in the blank, they're trying to spin it to put Amazon's name there instead.
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:30 PM   #6
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The AG did say from the beginning that they were not trying to exclude people with disabilities. But that didn't get the press, because that would have made it less exciting to attack them. Granted, they might have been more forceful on the point. But their position has never been to shut out the disabled.

Oh--there are two threads going on this, and I put their full statement on the other thread.
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44470 (I'm not sure how to link to the actual post.)

Last edited by starrigger; 04-08-2009 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by starrigger View Post
The AG did say from the beginning that they were not trying to exclude people with disabilities. But that didn't get the press, because that would have made it less exciting to attack them. Granted, they might have been more forceful on the point. But their position has never been to shut out the disabled.
I know that was never their position, but that's not the impression that the press is conveying. That's the whole point. This is just a PR/spin battle. Whether they said it or not, the protests give the general public the impression that they didn't say it. They're trying to point the finger back at Amazon and take the heat off of themselves, whether there's really any substance to the complaints or not.
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:54 PM   #8
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Okay, no argument there. But I think it's more than just PR, because I believe the AG really does want to see the product changed so that the disabled can get use of the speech technology, while everyone else is arguing about who has the right to do what.
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:20 PM   #9
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One could say that the disabled had access to TTS before the AG got involved.
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:35 PM   #10
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The one thing I don't get though is how are blind people going to be able to access TTS on their own since there is no TTS for the menus.
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:50 PM   #11
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The one thing I don't get though is how are blind people going to be able to access TTS on their own since there is no TTS for the menus.
Amazon is apparently working on an update to the K2 firmware to address this.
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:51 PM   #12
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The one thing I don't get though is how are blind people going to be able to access TTS on their own since there is no TTS for the menus.
I guess you didn't read their latest release. Of course, visibly impaired does not necessarily mean total blind, but they also asked for braille on the keys and voice menu responses associated with commands.

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Old 04-08-2009, 09:06 PM   #13
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I guess you didn't read their latest release. Of course, visibly impaired does not necessarily mean total blind, but they also asked for braille on the keys and voice menu responses associated with commands.

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Nope, I don't go to Amazon and read what they post. I just wait till someone on MR tells us.
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:38 PM   #14
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Nope, I don't go to Amazon and read what they post. I just wait till someone on MR tells us.
I wasn't talking about something on the amazon site. I was talking about the link in post 1 in this thread. It helps to read the post to know what you are talking about.

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Old 04-09-2009, 02:51 PM   #15
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...that this is in the "relative mainstream" media (huffingtonpost)...
yea, right...I mean left. If you think they are mainstream media I have about 60,000 gallons of land east of Miami you might want to buy. Too funny.
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