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Author's Guild Says Kindle's Text-To-Speech Software Illegal

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.

Books 683

Mike writes "The Author's Guild claims that the new Kindle's text-to-speech software is illegal, stating that 'They don't have the right to read a book out loud,' said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. 'That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.' Forget for a moment that text-to-speech doesn't copy an existing work. And forget the odd notion that the artificial enunciation of plain text is equivalent to a person's nuanced and emotive reading. The Guild's claim is that even to read out loud is a production akin to an illegal copy, or a public performance."

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To hell with them! (5, Interesting)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812733)

Do you hear the sound of the words echo through your head as you read words, like me? Well, as the copyright owner of this comment, I forbid such usage- and deny you the ablity to read this comment out loud to your friends either.

Seriously though, despite this being a rediculous idea, what is the Authors' Guild actually trying to do here?
I mean, if anybody is really pushing to create more copyright holder rights, it's Amazon and the Kindle. Let's review...

-The right to not let my friends borrow my book when I'm finished reading it? Check.
-The right to not resell my book on the used books market when I'm done? Check.
-The right to having access to my books revoked on a whim if my provider goes out of business, or *gasp* decides it's not a profitable market (MSN Music, I'm looking at you)? Check.

With all these rights landgrabs that Amazon is making with their digital books on Amazon (and heck, digital media in general), I'd assumed they were colluding with the Author's Guild. I mean, if nobody can share your books, and nobody can help spread the buzz surrounding your great ideas or fiction... that means you'll make more sales... right?

To hell with all of them. I'll read quietly, or out loud when ever I please. And just for being assholes, I'm going to pirate the next book published by a guild author. And I'm going to listen to Microsoft Sam read it to me. And I'm going to pretend to like it.

Re:To hell with them! (4, Interesting)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812855)

What is the purpose of the "read out loud" right? Because reading out loud would be an interpretation and infringe on the art? What about a monotone voice, like text to speech?

What happens, however when the tech gets so good that it can read with emotion.. better yet, mimick the voice of any person we choose? Do the rules then change?

Re:To hell with them! (5, Insightful)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813139)

Nah, it's the same general issue of space shifting as has already been addressed time and again (and either upheld or not in various cases). They'll lose this one, as if you already have it on the kindle you bought it (in theory) and therefore have the right to space shift that copyrighted work into whatever form you want. It's really no different than ripping a CD to a mp3 and then loading it on your MP3 player. Think of it this way, both audio recording, and printed text are just different encoded forms of the same underlying concepts. There is some argument against performing a piece, but in having a personal ebook device read you its contents that's clearly designed for personal use not performance to a large audience, and therefore covered under fair use.

Re:To hell with them! (3, Informative)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813263)

You can't space-shift a DRM laiden product, because that requires breaking the encryption, which is against the DMCA.

Re:To hell with them! (5, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813275)

IANAL, but I'd imagine the purpose of the read out loud right is to protect playwrights from having people perform their plays without permission or compensation. In that context, it makes sense. In the context of a text to speech computer intended for personal use, it makes no sense.

Sure, if someone starts hooking their Kindle up to a PA system and staging public performances of an electronic reading of someone's book, I could see an issue. However, the device itself having the ability to read text back is not in itself any kind of violation. Computers have had text to speech in some form for decades, and I'm sure they've been used to "speak" copyrighted works plenty of times in the past.

The Author's Guild is cutting off its nose to spite its face here.

My kids will be *pissed* (2, Interesting)

drakaan (688386) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813295)

...at bedtime. Well, my 5-year-old will (she can't read yet). Even my 9-year-old likes it when I read stories to them at bedtime. Little did I know that it was a criminal act...

Re:To hell with them! (2, Funny)

telchine (719345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812863)

I forbid such usage- and deny you the ablity to read this comment out loud to your friends either.

As a Microsoft Preffered Partner, I understand this situation. How much will it cost me for the rights to read things out. Also, how far should I bend over?

Re:To hell with them! (1)

MaggieL (10193) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813367)

As a Microsoft Preffered Partner, don't you have access to spell-check? You're probably already bent over far enough, though.

Re:To hell with them! (5, Interesting)

onion2k (203094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812885)

what is the Authors' Guild actually trying to do here?

Make more money for the Authors' Guild. This has absolutely nothing to do with authors, writers, publishers, editors, or anyone who reads books. This is solely the money-grabbing greed of Paul Aiken and his cronies. If I were an employee of the guild I would be so ashamed of Aiken's comments I'd resign. This man, despite his apparent position representing authors, is actually against people enjoying books.

Re:To hell with them! (5, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813027)

They're all against consumption.

The RIAA wants you to enjoy their music by yourself, but not let others share the enjoyment.
The MPAA wants you to watch their movies, but pay per viewing and only where it lets you.
The Authors Guild wants you to read their books, but only to yourself, and if you enjoy them, tell your friends to buy them, but don't tell them why.

The Lord of War wants you to shoot bullets at people for as long as you can buy them. You don't even have to hit anything. Just keep buying.

Re:To hell with them! (4, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813209)

The Author's Guild has me over a barrel. 2-4 books a day (2 at nap time if I'm home and another couple before bed). Man, I never realized that reading Dr Seuss to my 3-year-old would be such a nightmare in terms of derivative rights and royalties.

Even though I've been doing this daily for years, does it help me at all that he's yet to give me any kind of financial compensation for it?

Re:To hell with them! (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813257)

The Author Guild trying to make money for their members?? The audacity of them... I thought their roll was to help give their members books away... :)

I would not take anything they say seriously. If they felt they had a firm case, they would have filed charges already. By them not doing so, however, shows that they realize they are on unstable legal grounds. Meaning, it does not take a attorney to realize that having a computer read something and selling an audiobook is not the same thing...

Not what it looks like (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812893)

"They don't have the right to read a book out loud," said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. "That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."

I'm sitting here thinking that no lawyer could possibly be dumb enough to advise their client with this legal theory. Even if we accept this concept at face value (which it does have some value related to public performances and derivitive works), fair use throws a huge monkey wrench into any potential lawsuits. Courts have repeatedly held up that once you are sold a copy of a product, you are entititled to privately do whatever you want with it. That includes space and time shifting. Text to speech is just another type of space shifting. i.e. Moving from one medium to another.

Then I realized that there's no way Mr. Aiken is serious about these threats. He's posturing in an attempt to force Amazon to rethink the text-to-speech in light of their audio book business. This becomes especially clear based on the response from an Amazon spokesperson:

An Amazon spokesman noted the text-reading feature depends on text-to-speech technology, and that listeners won't confuse it with the audiobook experience. Amazon owns Audible, a leading audiobook provider.

So never fear! The world isn't quite upside down yet. This is just business as usual. Someone's trying to play a weak hand and hopes the other side folds. (Good luck with that.)

Re:Not what it looks like (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812953)

Courts have repeatedly held up that once you are sold a copy of a product, you are entititled to privately do whatever you want with it. That includes space and time shifting.

Time to put a letter to Rick Boucher on my list of things to do. It would be nice for this to be written into law directly, rather than just case law interpretation. Not that I think it will pass. I wonder if it's too late to get something like this slipped into the stimulus bill in committee? (hey, don't go stepping on my fantasy world).

Re:Not what it looks like (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813025)

Maybe they took those stupid Coke Zero ads seriously and decided the text-to-speech thing sounds too much like their product...

If so, perhaps they should hire some better voice actors for their books on tape.

Re:Not what it looks like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813097)

I'm sitting here thinking that no lawyer could possibly be dumb enough to advise their client with this legal theory.

The exception that proves the rule. [wikipedia.org]

Re:To hell with them! (2, Informative)

anss123 (985305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812915)

Do you hear the sound of the words echo through your head as you read words, like me? Well, as the copyright owner of this comment, I forbid such usage- and deny you the ablity to read this comment out loud to your friends either.

So no more bed time stories?

Re:To hell with them! (1)

zifn4b (1040588) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813121)

Oh noes! You mean I can't read slashdot comments to my kids at bedtime anymore? Oh, the humanity of it all!

Slashdot Bedtime Stories, Volume 1 (4, Funny)

syrinx (106469) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813289)

"Once upon a time, Natalie Portman had a big bowl of hot grits..."

Re:To hell with them! (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813377)

So no more bed time stories?

Just apply for a bed time story license from the authors guild. Make sure that you educate your children about copyright law though -- the license is only valid for you and if they repeat the story to their friends at school we'll have to haul them into court.

Re:To hell with them! (5, Interesting)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812923)

I can only imagine what impact this has on the world of 508 software, which is used to read stuff to the blind. I guess the author's guild don't give a rats ass about blind people.

Re:To hell with them! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813149)

If I am not mistaken copyright law in most countries holds exceptions for disabled people, they can use "translated" versions without paying extra.
Translated versions would for example be text to speech, but also the still ubiquitos braille.

Re:To hell with them! (3, Insightful)

zotz (3951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812929)

"To hell with all of them. I'll read quietly, or out loud when ever I please. And just for being assholes, I'm going to pirate the next book published by a guild author. And I'm going to listen to Microsoft Sam read it to me. And I'm going to pretend to like it."

It might hit them harder if you gave your attention instead to people who respected you more.

drew
--
http://zotz.kompoz.com/ [kompoz.com]

Re:To hell with them! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26812935)

Perhaps the Author's Guild is worried about sales of audio books being injured by the Kindle (and likely other text-to-speech e-book readers).

Maybe authors get higher royalties for audio books, and they are worried that authors will lose some of the potential higher earnings.

IANAA (I am not an author).

Re:To hell with them! (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812973)

The major problem with this suit is that Amazon isn't producing audio books of other people's works and selling them as derivative works. It's letting people access the content they paid for in a different way.

This lawsuit deserves to fail and the author's guild should pay the legal fees of amazon and the court as well for this idiocy.

Write to them and tell them to stop being stupid. (4, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813057)

Spend the $.41 or whateverit'satthesedays for a stamp and scribble down a short note telling them to get Aiken to STFU.

The Authors Guild
31 East 32nd Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10016

Re:Write to them and tell them to stop being stupi (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813355)

I would, but won't they sue me for copyright infringement of using their address?

Re:To hell with them! (1)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813065)

They want to sell audiobooks and make some *extra* money from that avenue, too ... Problem for them though, it's highly unlikely that it'll stand in court.

Re:To hell with them! (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813277)

Do you hear the sound of the words echo through your head as you read words, like me? Well, as the copyright owner of this comment, I forbid such usage- and deny you the ablity to read this comment out loud to your friends either.

I guess I could if I read at the speed of speech, thankfully I doesn't or else it would take me ages to get through any book...

Anyway I don't really understand the Author's Guild approach.

Shouldn't they really be suing the performer ? Because that's the infringing party, right ?

So the vote is up. Should they sue :
- the loudspeaker ?
- the electrons making up the software ?
- the vibrating molecules of air ?

Re:To hell with them! (3, Funny)

EatHam (597465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813347)

Do you hear the sound of the words echo through your head as you read words, like me?

No, and I don't move my lips while reading either. I read substantially faster than I can talk. But not faster than a woman can talk.

Re:To hell with them! (2, Funny)

OhMickey (1053630) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813363)

& I'm gona record Microsoft Sam reading the book and publish it as an Audio book!

Re:To hell with them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813375)

To hell with all you blind bastards! -The Guild

Re:To hell with them! (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813385)

So iirc. When I was but a young lad in school the teacher used to read books to us. I am guessing that by doing that she was breaking the law. As I got older teachers used to require us to read out loud sections of books in front of the class, was that forcing us to break the law?

imho when I purchase a book I purchase the right to enjoy the book in whatever format i desire. So if I wish to read out loud into a microphone, record my reading onto a tape and then at a later date I decide to listen to that recording that is my choice. I shouldn't have to go and buy the audio tape.

the same applies here, the person has purchase the e-book and if they so wish they can either read or listen to that book. At the end of the day the "book" has been paid for regardless of media used to listen to that copy.

No more bed time stories for my daughter? (5, Funny)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812769)

Shes going to be pissed.

If this is illigal (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813271)

Then it's another one of those laws "everyone breaks". I hope that such laws are not enforceable otherwise you'd have a law system where "everyone" can be convicted for something.

Shes going to be pissed.

I have to warn you: young girls like to read aloud. You'd best educate her about copyright law before that happens.

Re:No more bed time stories for my daughter? (5, Funny)

DontBlameCanada (1325547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813349)

"Come inside," said the bird to mouse. "I'll show you what's inside Paul Aiken's house."

A Rolex, a Ferrari, a Ming dynasty spittoon. A lawyer, not an author, but a certified Loon.

Hogwash (5, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812775)

Sometimes I read a portion of a book out loud - to myself - in order to slow down my thought processes. It is akin, I think, to taking notes when being lectured. The act of reading out loud alters both the rate and the quality of my understanding of the text.

Which, according to Paul Aiken, means I'm a criminal.

Speaking as the owner of one of the oldest SF-specialized literary agencies in the country, and as someone who is quite interested in protecting author's rights for all the obvious reasons, I think Aiken has fallen off the cognitive cliff, and that he does no one - not authors, not consumers, not publishers - any favors by pushing this over-the-top interpretation of what an "audio performance" is.

Re:Hogwash (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813067)

He's the head of a union/guild. His job is to ask for more than what they really want, and then get what they want via negotiation.

And what they want is a piece of the pie!

Re:Hogwash (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813365)

This legal argument will really disappoint all of those poor little kids out there that like their parents reading a book to them at night.... I mean very few (if any) children books have an audiobook equivalent for sale, so I guess reading them out loud from now on is out of the question.

Theoretically (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812797)

Let's say I hire a nanny and ask her to read to my child. Is that nanny breaking the law?

I wonder if there's a distinction to be made in the idea that they aren't recording this text-to-speech stuff and then distributing the recording, but rather producing it on the fly.

Re:Theoretically (1)

UCRowerG (523510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812841)

By their reasoning, all of my elementary school teachers are criminals. Then again, so are most of us. How many students were asked to "read aloud" parts of the story in class?

Re:Theoretically (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813095)

By their reasoning, all of my elementary school teachers are criminals. Then again, so are most of us. How many students were asked to "read aloud" parts of the story in class?

There's actually a stronger case for that than for this. Reading aloud to a class could be considered a "public performance". Using one's own Kindle to read a book aloud to oneself doesn't infringe any of the author's exclusive rights provided by copyright.

Why teachers are not criminals in the USA (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813159)

Slashdot comments are not legal advice. Run them past your attorney if you have questions.

By their reasoning, all of my elementary school teachers are criminals.

Not exactly. The performance of a work as part of face-to-face teaching takes advantage of several limitations of copyright's scope, both implicit in fair use (17 USC 107 [bitlaw.com] ) and explicit (17 USC 110(1) [bitlaw.com] ). Besides, 17 USC 110(4) would appear to make this whole article not apply.

Re:Theoretically (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812883)

Let's say I hire a nanny and ask her to read to my child. Is that nanny breaking the law?

Yes.

And you are as well, for soliciting a criminal act. So turn yourself in to the nearest FBI office, if you please.

And take your nanny with you.

Oh, and stop by on your way and pick me up. It just occurred to me that I read a /. post out loud to my wife last night. Yes, officer, I'll go quietly.

Re:Theoretically (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813337)

Perhaps this is the way to solve the issue.

Everybody, EVERYBODY turn themselves in. Take a day off work en masse, turn up at your local police station with all of the relevant pieces of information regarding your transgression, and turn yourself in.

I am pretty sure that they won't have the manpower, finances, or will to process every US citizen for a petty transgression like this.

Wow, kicking blind people. A new low (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812809)

I'm pretty sure the blind have been using this sort of software for years, in fact I'm sure of it [wikipedia.org] . Are they also going to threaten Apple and all the other software vendors who supply this much-needed resource for the blind? Did they even *think* about the deeper implications of what they're saying before firing the opening volley in what is, at its heart, a blatantly pissy money grab?

Re:Wow, kicking blind people. A new low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26812957)

Did they even *think* about the deeper implications of what they're saying before firing the opening volley in what is, at its heart, a blatantly pissy money grab?

Author's Guild Professional Tip: Cash money supersedes "deeper implications," morality, common sense, etc.

Re:Wow, kicking blind people. A new low (1)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813035)

They probably dont give a s**t about screen readers. Those are mostly used to access web pages, word processor documents and the like. In other words, stuff members of the Writer's Guild have not produced.

Now, if screen readers could be used to convert text written by members of the Writer's Guild to speach the thing would most likely change, rapidly and for the worse (in my opinion).

I wouldn't be all too surprised if eithe the Writer's Guild or an actor's union said that if any litterature is to be read, the reading should be done by either the author or a trained actor.

Re:Wow, kicking blind people. A new low (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813267)

Ok... except the text-to-speech feature on an ebook reader, regardless of any other purposes it might sometimes serve, is also an accessability feature for the blind, just like the screen reader on a PC used for web pages. GP is dead on.

Re:Wow, kicking blind people. A new low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813185)

My wife used a computer that she could lay a book on and have it read to her (OCR-Text To Speech) that she used in school (for books that did not have audio or braille copies easily available to her). It was even designed to be portable (well as portable as a flat bed scanner, and sub-mini-tower can be). And that's tech from 1995.

Re:Wow, kicking blind people. A new low (4, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813221)

When I was in high school, the director of our AV department waged a protracted battle with me over my making enlarged copies of sheet music in the orchestra. Never mind that this was a matter of vision accessability. Never mind that the school had allocated me a legitimately-purchased original, just as they did for each other student. Never mind that academic fair use would have been squarely in play even if the above hadn't been true, and certainly never mind that the law specifically forbade the reasoning behind his theory as to why fair use shouldn't apply.

I probably should've sued the district, but that's not how I roll.

My point, though, is this: There are indeed a subset of the population that believe content authors should have the right to profit from the fact that some customers have differing needs in how they can view said content. "You can't buy the regular edition and adapt it to your needs; you have to buy the special high-priced usable-by-you edition (if we bother to make one)".

But then... (1)

Vexler (127353) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812819)

...reading itself should be illegal, as it makes copies of the information contained in the text which, obviously, could be retransmitted in other forms including telepathic waves.

Give me a break.

Right to read? (5, Interesting)

solaraddict (846558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813037)

This is indeed the road to Tycho [gnu.org] .

Re:Right to read? (0, Redundant)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813313)

Mod parent up. If you haven't read "The Right to Read" yet, let me repeat that link for you [gnu.org] . Go read it. Now.

Absolutely Ridiculous. (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812831)

All this revolves around are audio books sales. Forget the fact that right now synthesized text to speech is painful to listen vs a human voice, this is just another case of technology slowly making one industry obsolete.

They might as well sue teachers or those libraries that offer children's programs by reading a book out loud.

They say nothing makes more problems than solutions, and I feel the concept of intellectual property taking this to extreme.

Re:Absolutely Ridiculous. (2, Funny)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813163)

Forget the fact that right now synthesized text to speech is painful to listen vs a human voice

Coming up next, "Moby Dick" as read by GlaDOS.

Re:Absolutely Ridiculous. (1)

NCG_Mike (905098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813223)

Painful to listen to? I dunno... Lucy Liu Bot: "You are one sexy man *PHILLIP J FRY*"

If you thought the music industry was bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26812847)

Just wait until you see what the publishing industry tries to pull. "Vicious" is a pretty good word for their attempts at controlling people can do with books. If getting the music industry to abandon DRM was like wrestling food away from a rabid badger, getting the publishing industry to drop it will be like confronting a T-Rex that thinks you look mighty tasty.

Voice Web Browsers (5, Insightful)

footnmouth (665025) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812849)

Does this meant that my blind friends who use JAWS to read websites are breaking the law or infringing copyrights? Another excuse for a lawsuit or settlement...

Accessibility, anyone? (5, Insightful)

Almonday (564768) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812853)

So waitaminute...by Aiken's logic, wouldn't screen readers and other accessibility tools fall under this category as well? That's a losing battle if ever I've seen one...urm, heard one.

Re:Accessibility, anyone? (0, Redundant)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813309)

I'd mod you up if I had the points. Seriously though, the guild is discriminating against the blind and developmentally disabled. If they're going to enforce that text-to-speech be illegal, then publishing a book without an audio edition is illegal. We've already got laws enforcing websites be accessible to a degree, so why would e-books be an exception to this?

Other derivative works. (4, Funny)

LoyalOpposition (168041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812857)

Also, there will be a small royalty charge for moving your lips as you read. This has two benefits. There will be fewer people moving their lips as they read. And there will be fewer people reading.

-Loyal

Re:Other derivative works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26812907)

Shit dude, they could LIP READ you and then you'll be done for illegally sharing a copyrighted work.

It may once have been but is not now (3, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812871)

Before the days of IT technology producing sound from text required a performance.

Now sound from text is a programmed translation. No more different or complex than the rendering of the book PDF information on the screen.

Welcome to the information age. Data is data and rendering translations are done all over the place, ascii to display bits. HTML to display. GIF, JPEG to images, MPEG to sound, MPEG to video. ascii, pdf or html to sound is no more difficult or complex. Just a little newer.

Stealing them blind (1)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812881)

Hey, they should go after that Kurzweil guy next! He's been stealing from authors for many, many years. Stealing them blind! [kurzweiledu.com]

sales of written and audio versions (2, Informative)

visualight (468005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812927)

Do people buy both? I've always thought people bought one or the other. Long haul truckers and blind people buy audio versions, and others buy the written versions. I don't think Kindle will change that.

I can see people taking advantage of this, like someone listening instead of reading while cleaning the house or something, but that person would probably never think to buy an audio version of the book. I can't see there being enough lost sales to care.

Logical response to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26812949)

Dramatic drop in sales of "A Brief History of Time" audiobooks, read by author.

"controlling legal authority" for that opinion? (2, Interesting)

david.emery (127135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812975)

In the immortal words of Al Gore: Do they have a "controlling legal authority" for that interpretation of copyright law, or is this just a legal posture, that is not supported by law or precedent?

dave

"Forget for a moment that text-to-speech doesn't c (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813029)

Forget for a moment that text-to-speech doesn't copy an existing work

It does. Copyright is for an embodiment of a work, so a sung edition is a different work to a printed edition of the work. And reading out a direct copy of a printed text is a derived work because it comes in a different package. And that's how copyright law works.

++ not a lawyer, not even pretending, and this isn't legal advice.

Re:"Forget for a moment that text-to-speech doesn' (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813133)

And that's how copyright law works.

      No, that's how copyright law is twisted, taken out of context, and used as a club to bully people with. My goodness, if I put a colored filter over a book and read it in a different light, I am now producing a derivative work. If I take a book and rip a page out, this is now a derivative work. If I write something in the margin, I have produced a derivative work. And heaven forbid I lend my book to a friend, learn from it and try to use my skills or (shudder) donate a book to a public library - those are violations of the "new" spin on copyright law that could land me in jail!

      Enjoy your death by legislation. Me I will continue to live in a sane country.

Re:"Forget for a moment that text-to-speech doesn' (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813287)

So reading a book you own aloud to yourself is copyright infringement? I think not, and I think any judge would agree with me.

Re:"Forget for a moment that text-to-speech doesn' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813317)

He is right it is not a copy of the work. Now, if you recorded the audio the kindle produces and created another file (audio) then that would be a "copy" and would fall under the "audio" provisions of the copyright law. However, with our screwed up legal system...who knows.

It should be illegal (1)

Nick Fel (1320709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813033)

Can you imagine sitting next to someone using this feature on a train?

IANAL, but neither are they (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813047)

Sorry dudes. Copyright 101 (or 17 USC 106) says that these are the rights covered by copyright

1) Reproduction in copies or phonorecords
2) Preparation of derivative works
3) Distribution of copies or photorecords
4) Public performance
5) Public display
6) Public performance via digital audio transmission

Reading aloud does not create a copy or phonorecord, so 1) is out. If not done in public, 4,5, and 6 are out (and 6 only covers sound recordings anyway). There's no distribution, so 3) is out.

That leaves 2. However, according to copyright law, a "work" must be "fixed in any tangible medium". The audio played by a text-to-speech program is never fixed (unless the TTS program buffers a significant part of the sound, which is unlikely) by the operation of that program. Therefore there is no violation of copyright by private use of the text-to-speech program. Therefore there are significant noninfringing uses of the text-to-speech program, and therefore distribution of the program itself is not secondary copyright infringement. QED.

the hell with 'em (1)

Utini420 (444935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813063)

What's the legalistic way to say, "Naw, fuck y'all?"

Seriously, I'm tired of trying to be outraged or logical about the weekly media rights crap. Let just ignore them and break the "laws" as we see fit, and just keep on keepin' on. Fuck 'em.

News just in... (5, Funny)

Fzz (153115) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813083)

The Authors Guild today filed suit under the DMCA against the New York Public Library for allowing readers to shine light onto the pages of books. "The electric lights in the public reading room permit the words printed on the page to be copied onto the retina of the library's readers", said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. "We equipped all our books with covers as a way to prevent just this sort of illegal copying. The electric lights are a way to circumvent our copy protection mechanism and therefore are illegal under the DMCA."

Rumor has it that if they are successful, the Authors Guild will next file suit against God for providing a source of light outside in daytime.

Reading DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813085)

Here is the DRM scheme I propose for books:
If two people are in a room and one wants to read a book out loud, he must first kill the other one.

Ah yes, the authors guild (4, Funny)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813091)

Same authors guild who want a royalty on all used book sales?

Guys, do the world a favor, go play in traffic.

One Word: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813093)

Wankers...
now, say that out loud...
Louder...
louder still
good, feels better doesn't it?

Epic battle incoming... (4, Insightful)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813125)

Ladies and gentlemen! A full-contact legal battle for the ages!

In this corner, we have the Author's Guild, with the full weight of American copyright law behind them.

And in this corner, we've got the National Federation for the Blind, swinging a big stick: the Americans with Disabilities Act!

Gentlemen ... FIGHT!

Re:Epic battle incoming... (1)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813373)

MORTAL KOMBAT!

what's next ? (1)

ad0n (1171681) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813127)

are they going to go after Slashdot for providing articles "in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord."

tsk. tsk . .

I understand the issue, but... (1)

khendron (225184) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813137)

I understand where they guy is coming from, even though his argument doesn't hold water. I am pretty sure that one of the "rights" sold by publishers covers a book's audio recording. In other words, not just anybody can take a book, record herself reading it, and sell the recording. You have to purchase the rights to do so. So he's complaining about the imminent evaporation of one of their revenue streams.

That said, too bad so sad. It's like a horse owner saying that an engine manufacturer is infringing on his right to pull wagons. If what you have to sell is no longer worth anything because of some new technology, you had better look for something else to sell.

Fact vs. Flame (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813141)

The statements made by Paul Aiken as quoted are factual. The statements made in the remainder of the summary are unsupported assertions and demonstrably false and/or irrelevant.

Audio rights and other derivations are clearly defined under copyright law. Enunciation is irrelevant. Reading something out loud is pretty much the definition of performance, and if done for an unspecified number greater than 1, is public in aggregate (multiple single readings) if not immediate fact (multiple person audience). A performance is a copy, albeit one with no long term existence. The definition of copy does not specify duration of existence.

The fact that various situations exist which seem to contradict Aiken's assertions do not invalidate his assertions, they merely are manifestations of present day technology colliding (yet again) with yesterday's definitions which couldn't presage the technology. Resolving such issues are a function of the same law. If already built into the definitions, ie. "public", "performance" "derivative" etc., the law stands. When the law doesn't cover, the courts serve to redefine. In this case the law at least nearly, if not completely, serves as it stands.

Re:Fact vs. Flame (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813331)

The statements made by Paul Aiken as quoted are factual. The statements made in the remainder of the summary are unsupported assertions and demonstrably false and/or irrelevant.

Statement 1: "They don't have the right to read a book out loud,"
That's not true. Public performance is covered by copyright law. Private performance is not.

Statement 2: "That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."
Also false. The audio right covers reading the book out loud _and recording said reading, and reproducing and distributing the recording_. Without the recording, no derivative work is produced, and it's just a performance.

Furthermore, your claim that the public performance right covers "multiple single readings" doesn't appear to be supported.

(IANAL either)

back in the good old days (2)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813145)

Back in the good, really old days, one's own work being read out loud was considered an honor.

I don't trust the Newspaper (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813155)

How well informed is Paul Aiken? did he come to the WSJ to make the complaint, or did a journalist giver an inaccurate explanation of what is did that suggested that it was an audiobook? Was he aware that what he said was going to be taken as on the record?

FSF basically says the same about GFDL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813165)

A while ago I was looking into creating a phone and web based TTS service for wikipedia.

Not knowing the legality of it I emailed the FSF. Eventually (after about 2 months) they replied and said that the GFDL does not grant the right for audio reproductions and I should contact the copyright holder for permission outside the GFDL.

So basically the writers guild and FSF both agree...

Screw the blind!

Americans with Disabilities (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813169)

I think the author's guild loses this one.

Im that close | | to ... (0, Offtopic)

Lazypete (863757) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813173)

I know this is irrelevant and thus I assume im going to get some offtopic or ... whatever I need to get this off my chest... Im that close | | to wish that humanity get whiped out on all count of extreme greed.. on all count of usage of intelligence to regress.. on all count of head in the butt... Please change your ways people, isn't humanity over this ?? I mean can't we trive on the goal of being better and enlightened. Greed ultimately will result in you being buried with more wealth..

Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813175)

Those boring fart(s)!

nuts (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813177)

This could be a bit of a blessing in disguise if they decide to try and force this issue. Why, I hear you all cry. Simply because it's completely and utterly insane. I can see why they think this might be justified after the way the music industry has played fast and loose with copyright law but the average person can see this is just wrong on every level. That means there is a chance that copyright law in general will be reviewed which should put an end to the current fiasco where people are paying good money for things they will never own in any real sense of the world.

I'm ignoring the fact that text-to-speech still sounds like Stephen Hawking with a bad cold and probably will do for the foreseeable future - why anyone would want to listen to a current generation machine voice read a book is beyond me (unless of course they can't see to read the book but, even the, surly Braille is better).

Dear Amazon: (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813183)

Nail these fuckers to a wall.

I may or may not speak for the majority (2)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813203)

but I would like to articulate something that I do believe expresses my feeling and the feelings of many other people on this little green planet of books in regard to the Author's Guild and their lawsuit per the article,

and that sentiment is:

FUCK OFF, YOU GREEDY STUPID ASSHOLES!

have a nice day.

RS

How do they respond to the ADA... (4, Insightful)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813205)

How do they respond to the ADA and various regulations that mandate things like designing websites so that they can be read by screen readers? How's this any different from that? Just think--millions and millions of parents are now copyright infringers for reading "Goodnight Moon" or "The Cat in the Hat" to their kids!

Turds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813293)

So, what are they saying?

Reading books to my son when he was little was dislegal?

Blind people aren't allowed to enjoy books unless they pay extra?

The title is my opinion of the Author's Guild, and you can read it out loud, with full expression.

Breathing is illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26813299)

Breathing is hereby declared illegal, the amount of CO2 you produce with be the end of the planet, put a bad over you head immediately and tie it off tight !

thanks for the idea (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813319)

since the Author's Guild is being such a prick i am going to dust off my Hallicraftors and use text to speech and broadcast as many books on the shortwave band the next few weekends for anyone to listen to on the 40 meter shortwave band, free to anyone that can listen, and home brewing an AM broadcast band transmitter for the same purpose...

Bullshit (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813353)

Unless the voice is recorded, how could it be infringing? Its potential, normal uses are entirely the same use cases that one would get with a book owner choosing to read the public out loud. Some of those are infringing (reading out loud to a public audience), some of them are not (reading at home to your kids). There is no functional difference here between the two unless the Kindle also records the audio for posterity and sharing.

Authrs guild / actors guild why (1)

kingcobra0128 (1131641) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813357)

These actors guild and authors guilds need to go away and die. What they are doing is prohibition. Trying to stop any artist from doing anything. unless it is them so they need to die like Scientology.
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