Kindle Ebook Reader - Authors Guild Criticizes Ebook Reader Speed Function as Unauthorized
The US Authors Guild has issued a warning to its members and on its website that the text to speech function of the new Kindle Ebook Reader - Kindle 2 may be undermining audio markets and represents an unauthorized use of audio rights.
The Kindle Ebook Reader version 2 differs from the first version of Amazon's Ebook Reader in a number of ways, but one of them is its ability to read the text out in a computerized voice. The Authors Guild (if you are one of those types who is wondering about the lack of the apostrophe see below!) said that the Ebook Reader's text-to-speech function "presents a significant challenge to the publishing industry" and it has advised its members to hold off granting ebook rights for the Kindle.
Amazon are not impressed, Andrew Herdener said: "Is it illegal to read a book out loud to yourself? Is it the case that one is only allowed to legally read if one does so silently? When you listen to yourself read out loud, you’re not performing—you’d need an audience for that—and you’re not making a copy.”
Herdener also pointed out that Amazon's subsidiary Audible is playing a role in the audiobook business and he pointed out that text-to-speech "provides a completely different experience from a professionally recorded audiobook".
The Authors Guild however say the Kindle 2 Ebook Reader speech function presents a "significant challenge to the publishing industry". Could it be that there is trouble ahead? Do I hear the sound of chuckling lawyers?
Now for the nitpickers amongst us who will have noticed that there is no apostrophe after 'Authors' in The Authors Guild. What's wrong with these authors? Can't they write proper English?
Well this is their argument : "You include an apostrophe if you want to indicate that the Guild is a possession of the authors, but in this case it is being used as an adjective — the Guild is a Guild of authors (not one that belongs to authors)."
This point is disputed, of course, and you can while away a day or two tracking it down on Google if you are so inclined!