Kindle 2 text-to-speech causes copyright infringement?

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry… The following is from Slashdot:

the Kindle 2 provides Text-to-Speech capabilities that, oh the horror, allow the user to have any text on the Kindle read to her. Roy Blunt, Jr. moans that this is copyright infringement of audio books

It’s regarding the president of the Authors Guild who’s ranted in the NY Times.

Serves readers, pays writers: so far, so good. But there’s another thing about Kindle 2 — its heavily marketed text-to-speech function. Kindle 2 can read books aloud. And Kindle 2 is not paying anyone for audio rights.

What the fuck?

If he/they really think that text-to-speech is good enough to compete with real humans recording their speech… Then why not just produce all new audio books with TTS? It’s free, gosh darnit. But then of course, there’d be no royalties to retrieve, as it didn’t require any effort to produce…

There’s no chance in hell I admit that TTS could ever compete with a real voice that actually understands the context and can adapt the reading. Not with today’s technology. Especially not with anything that runs on the Kindle 2. So the argument, and the one who put it forth, deserves nothing but ridicule.

Also, the mere concept of claiming copyright infringement on a device which simply does what it’s told (read an arbitrarily chosen text out loud) is nothing but crazy talk. That’s almost as stupid as demanding royalties for blank, recordable media! … Hey, waaaaiiit a minute…

One thought on “Kindle 2 text-to-speech causes copyright infringement?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *