"Gather 'round children, it's time for story time with RoboGrandma - just make sure my batteries are charged!" This kind of blatant intellectual property violation will no longer be committed by the Amazon Kindle. The company today announced that it has given in to demands by the Author's Guild and will let publishers choose whether or not to enable the Kindle's speech to text audio functions for individual texts. Remember, folks, when reading by robots is outlawed, only outlaw robots will read aloud.
The Author's Guild argued that Kindle had only licensed display rights for content on the kindle, not audio or performance rights. The feature will now be neutered and put under the control of publishers on a title by title basis.
Amazon's full statement on the deal but it can be summarized as "blah, blah, blah...we cry Uncle."The New York Times has published
Last week our own Frederic Lardinois wrote a post titled "Don't Be Silly; the Kindle 2 is no Threat to Audiobooks." He argued that the speech to text was more likely to persuade customers to purchase professionally (human) read audio books than it was to whisk them into a pirate world of cuddling up with annoying robot voices for extended listening sessions.
It is pretty interesting that the book publishing world remains able to flex its muscles and make the mighty Amazon budge though - is it not? I bet they are pretty pleased with themselves about that.
Image from CNet UK.