KJ (owlmoose) wrote,

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Some of you may have heard that the Author's Guild sued Amazon over the text-to-speech capability of the new Kindle, claiming that this feature infringes on their right to sell the rights to audio books. I could link you to any number of articles and blog posts explaining why this charge is clearly ridiculous, but Neil Gaiman (as usual) does the best job of it (make sure to also read the two posts he links at the top). (I am dismayed to see Roy Blount, Jr. leading the charge on the other side.)

Seems pretty clear-cut to me. But Amazon caved. Publishers will be able to opt-out of allowing the Kindle to read their books. Sorry, blind people! Don't have the money for the audio book edition, or no audio version exists? Too bad, so sad.

Is it just me that finds this pretty chilling? Especially coming on top of Google's settlement with the American Association of Publishers and (surprise!) the Authors Guild over their book scanning project. To be fair, that one makes more sense to me -- although most experts agreed that Google had a pretty good fair use case, it was risky to carry it forward in the current legal environment, which tends to favor copyright holders pretty strongly. But this case seems so much stronger toward fair use, and still Amazon gave in without a fight. And there's more: check out this New York Times article about excerpting, which brings up many of the same issues.

Why are we so willing to give up our fair use rights?
Tags: books, copyright, internet, librarian

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