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Old 02-10-2009, 10:54 PM   #1
Liviu_5
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New Kindle Audio Feature Causes a Stir

Article in WSJ - have no idea if it's under the pay wall since I have a subscribtion.

Love this quote:

"Some publishers and agents expressed concern over a new, experimental feature that reads text aloud with a computer-generated voice.

"They don't have the right to read a book out loud," said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. "That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law." "


The stupidity of some people just does not have bounds. It would be lovely for publishers/author guild to sue Amazon, no better publicity for the Kindle
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:59 PM   #2
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Wow, that's weird.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:02 PM   #3
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So are we also not allowed to read books aloud to our kids? It's not like they store an audio version of the book on there. The computer is just reading it on the fly.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:13 PM   #4
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If an ebook is DRM free then in the US (the only place where the Kindle is sold) read-aloud is a protected "fair use" format shift of the material. I don't see how DRM can come into play, since Amazon is certainly allowed to circumvent its own DRM. Publishers may be able to argue that their contract with Amazon does not allow read aloud, but presumably Amazon's lawyers have an alternative theory. In any case, publishers may be cutting their own throats - because if all ebook versions prohibit read-aloud then the Library of Congress allows anyone to circumvent DRM for personal use (see DMCA Anti-circumvention exemptions).
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:14 PM   #5
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There have been programs that did this on people's computers for years. People with sever visual impairment rely on them. Are they going to start suing them, too?
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:18 PM   #6
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I have noticed that many of the Microsoft LIT books I have purchased have the text to speech option disabled. According to Microsoft this is why:

Quote:
Will all eBooks work with the TTS feature?

No. While the majority of titles presently available in Microsoft Reader format will work with the TTS feature, most of the "premium content" (copy-protected) titles have been published in a format that does not allow for Text-to-Speech.



When will Microsoft fix this TTS problem?

There are two aspects to the TTS solution that will come with time. The first is a technical solution—it simply is not possible for Microsoft to enable this feature with the security needs required to ensure intellectual property protection of copyrighted material; we are working to make it technically feasible in the future.

The second is a policy concern that is out of Microsoft's control; the rights to create and distribute audio files from books are often negotiated separately from the print rights. This area of copyright ownership must be worked out by the other involved parties before there will be a clear path to fully enable this feature.
I wonder if Amazon has negotiated seperate rights for this feature. If not Mr. Aiken may have a point.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madam Broshkina View Post
I have noticed that many of the Microsoft LIT books I have purchased have the text to speech option disabled.

I wonder if Amazon has negotiated seperate rights for this feature. If not Mr. Aiken may have a point.
A couple of points:

I'm a member of the Authors Guild, and I was a little horrified to hear him make this claim--because to my mind, having a Kindle or computer read a file aloud is no different in copyright terms from my reading a book aloud to my family.

And yet, I understand why he made the statement. Authors do indeed license audio rights to their books separately from other rights. They might or might not go to the text publisher for subsidiary sale. But to me, that's a different thing, because there you're talking about a professionally produced audio reading of the work--presumably by a professional reader who will give the reading inflection and expression. Now, it may well be that some people who like audio books will forego buying audiobooks if their Kindle will read text aloud in a computer voice. (Given that Amazon owns Audible, I imagine there were some in-house discussions about this.) So I don't agree with Mr. Aiken, but it is an arguable point.

Re the Microsoft LIT files with read-aloud disabled, I've been frustrated by that in terms of my own books at fictionwise, because I think people should have that option when they buy my ebooks. Just today, I put the question to the production head at ereads: With the Kindle offering read-aloud, does that mean we can get rid of the prohibition on my ereads titles? He answered that it is fictionwise that requires the disabling of read-aloud, and ereads can't do anything unless fictionwise changes their policy. I wonder, in view of this statement from the Authors Guild, if the reason for the fictionwise policy isn't that they don't want publishers after them about unlicensed audio rights.

Finally, someone mentioned Amazon owning the DRM on the books they sell. That is incorrect. (I also got clarification about that today.) The DRM is on the supplied files from the publisher, and it's there because Mobipocket.com requires it. What I am told is that Amazon draws most of their inventory from Mobipocket.com, which they own. So Amazon doesn't apply the DRM, and they might not directly require it, but it is required by the gatekeeper, Mobipocket. I can't swear this applies to all publishers, but that's what ereads is facing, and that's why ereads titles on Amazon have DRM.

Last edited by starrigger; 02-11-2009 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:45 PM   #8
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As reported on various blogs - I do not have an Amazon link for this quote so I do not guarantee 100% accuracy, the Amazon position seems to be:

"The ability to read text aloud is very different from producing an audio version of a written work, so audio distribution rights are not required for any titles currently available as eBooks in the Kindle store."

link for quote:

http://lcrw.net/wordpress/?p=845
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liviu_5 View Post
As reported on various blogs - I do not have an Amazon link for this quote so I do not guarantee 100% accuracy, the Amazon position seems to be:

"The ability to read text aloud is very different from producing an audio version of a written work, so audio distribution rights are not required for any titles currently available as eBooks in the Kindle store."
Yes, that would be Amazon's position, and it appears reasonable to me. Then again, I know of the precedent of LIT restrictions mentioned by others, and don't know all the legalese in the contracts/rights documents...so there may be something of a case here. If the rights holders believe there has been infringement, they have to address it (silly as it may make them look to some observers).
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:01 AM   #10
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Cory Doctorow rails against DRM at Tools of Change conference

Quote:
Originally Posted by starrigger View Post
Finally, someone mentioned Amazon owning the DRM on the books they sell. That is incorrect. (I also got clarification about that today.) The DRM is on the supplied files from the publisher, and it's there because Mobipocket requires it. What I am told is that Amazon draws most of their inventory from Mobipocket, which they own. So Amazon doesn't apply the DRM, and they might not directly require it, but it is required by the gatekeeper, Mobipocket. I can't swear this applies to all publishers, but that's what ereads is facing, and that's why ereads titles on Amazon have DRM.
Quote:
According to the stream, Cory Doctorow has just given a keynote invoking the evils of Digital Rights Management. Of course, Doctorow has beaten the drum on the evils of DRM for quite some time, but this time two special targets of his disdain were Amazon, for insisting that all Kindle books be DRM’d even if the publisher does not wish them to be, and the Amazon-owned Audible audiobook publisher for insisting its audiobooks carry DRM.
Quote:
"Random House audio wanted to sell mp3 of Little Brother, Amazon said only through Audible, which requires DRM - Doctorow" —@sljournal on Twitter
So according to Cory Doctorow, it is Amazon that insists that eBooks and audio books be laden with DRM even if the publishers do not want such.

The full article can be found at http://www.teleread.org/2009/02/10/c...ce/#more-16765.
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starrigger View Post
Finally, someone mentioned Amazon owning the DRM on the books they sell. That is incorrect. (I also got clarification about that today.) The DRM is on the supplied files from the publisher, and it's there because Mobipocket requires it. What I am told is that Amazon draws most of their inventory from Mobipocket, which they own. So Amazon doesn't apply the DRM, and they might not directly require it, but it is required by the gatekeeper, Mobipocket. I can't swear this applies to all publishers, but that's what ereads is facing, and that's why ereads titles on Amazon have DRM.
Funny you should mention that, as my weekly email from Fictionwise just came in, and I noticed some ereads books (e.g., Harlan Ellison) offered in multiformat (i.e., non-DRM) format; including Mobi. Looking further, I see an awful lot of e-reads books offered there without DRM. So there is obviously more to the story?

Last edited by bwaldron; 02-11-2009 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:07 AM   #12
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This could get juicy...be something if Amazon had to issue a firmware update and disable the text to speech
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:13 AM   #13
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This could get juicy...be something if Amazon had to issue a firmware update and disable the text to speech
Yes, although it is labeled as experimental.
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwaldron View Post
Funny you should mention that, as my weekly email from Fictionwise just came in, and I noticed some ereads books (e.g., Harlan Ellison) offered in multiformat (i.e., non-DRM) format; including Mobi. Looking further, I see an awful lot of e-reads books offered there without DRM. So there is obviously more to the story?
No, that's fictionwise, and they do not require DRM. Ereads prefers DRM-free books, and it's only where required that they add the DRM. Such as for Mobipocket (the service, not the format) and Sony.

Sorry, I may have been unclear. I meant mobipocket.com when I said mobipocket earlier.
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:30 AM   #15
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I guess that I better stop moving my lips when I read. There are people out there that can lip read.
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