Run away! Run away!

From CNET via Gizmodo – It looks like Amazon have folded like a stick of week old celery to the Authors Guild over the the Kindle 2’s text-to-speech functionality:

The retailer, which makes the popular Kindle electronic-book reader, announced late Friday that the company is modifying systems to allow authors and publishers to decide whether to enable Kindle’s text-to-speech function on a per-title basis.

Brilliant. Because apparently the ongoing fiasco over DRM and restricted usage in the music industry has taught us absolutely nothing.

Amazon began its press release with tough talk. “Kindle 2’s experimental text-to-speech feature is legal,” Amazon wrote. “No copy is made, no derivative work is created, and no performance is being given.”

Neil Gaiman, Wil Wheaton, Cory Doctorow, John Scalzi have all commented on the issue and seem to agree, for varying reasons, that the feature does not threaten their rights.

But then the company says: “We strongly believe many rights holders will be more comfortable with the text-to-speech feature if they are in the driver’s seat.”

So how far do you take control over a legally purchase product? Should I be prevented from reading a book to my niece (because by doing so I’m avoiding purchase of an audio book version)? Should I be prevented from lending the book to a friend (as it mean they are not buying a copy of their own)?

The fact that the medium is digital and thus *can* be copied perfectly doesn’t mean that it will. That kind of thinking is  just like music DRM – it treats legitimate users like criminals, while doing nothing to hamper actual illegitimate usage.


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