Copyright v. Adative Technology
All over the tech world this week there are store about how The Authors Guild Claims that Kindle 2's text to speech violates copyrights. The simple idea is that the right for the printed book is different then the right to sell an audio book. The Authors Guild says that Amazon does not have the right to sell the audio book on the Kindle.
I heard and read a lot of statements about this. Most of the people in the tech community say that this is crazy. Right now the state of text to speech is miles away from an audio book. No one would confuse the sound of a text to speech program and an author or actor reading the book. The second reason this is crazy is because text to speech is not new. Apple's OSX has had text to speech for more that five years.
I think that the Authors Guild is trying to get a head of the technology. Right now text to speech is miles away from being able to have the same kind of performance as an actor, but it is not hard to imagine a world where text to speech can make a good guess on how a book should be read. I can see someone writing a program where people can set the emotional tone for a text to speech player.
The other question is can the be stopped. Will other devices need to disable text to speech because these rights? Will DRM files need to disable features like text to speech if people want to sell books in an electronic format.
When I first heard this argument I felt upset for another reason. When I hear text to speech I think of the uses for people who are handicap. Will the Authors Guild run into problems with vision problem and the ADA? It seems like I am the only person thinking this.
I think Authors have to be careful here. I think that e-books are going to be good for book sales. People who buy books are people who love books. If they are trying to get around buying an e-book and an audio book, they would likely spend that money on buying more books.
I know that authors are suspicious of big book sellers. I know that they feel that it puts too much power in the hands of one group of people. I still think authors should be careful. I think that Amazon could find a bunch of ways to screw Authors without violating copyrights. I can see a feature where people can trade books once they are finished reading them. I can also see a feature where people can get books from public libraries. Books have a long history of being shared. I think authors would looks fights about these things in court.
This is a dangerous future for all media. Don't make it so customers cannot get the features they want. That might protect your intellectual property, but it might kill your industry.