Monday, March 02, 2009

Read It Yourself!

Last month, I blogged about the hubbub over the read aloud feature of Amazon's new version of the Kindle e-book reader. Under threat of legal action from the Author's Guild (I didn't know we had a union - is it a closed shop?), Amazon will change the reader to let publishers decide whether to enable the read aloud feature on a case-by-case basis.

Savvy business move or cave in to unreasonable pressure? Maybe a bit of both:

Fred von Lohmann, senior attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocate group for the rights of Web users and technology companies, said he was grateful that Amazon went out of its way to make the point that the company didn't believe text-to-speech technology violated copyright.

"Nevertheless, Amazon decided to allow copyright owners to make the decisions themselves whether to use the feature," von Lohmann said. "They are entitled to do that. The issue of text-to-speech will have to wait for another innovator."
But as some of the commenters over at Volokh Conspiracy raise some other interesting legal issues. This might not be over just yet.

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