Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Author's Guild claims text-to-speech software is illegal

I have been too busy to write part 2 of my series on copyright law. Part 2 will be about the exciting legal case American Geophysical Union v. Texaco so you will all want to stay tuned for that.

Instead today I link to a bOING bOING post by Rob Beschizza mocking a claim by the Authors Guild that text-to-speech software infringes copyright. The scenario: a reader pays to download a Kindle book and activates the Kindle's read-out-loud feature causing a transient copy of the work to manifest as vibrations in nearby air molecules.


Alfredo De La Fe said...

I have not seen a more rediculous lawsuit in some time. The scary thing is that in the bizarro world we live in they may actually win!

Ed Snible said...


Marilynn Byerly has a nice blog post on Kindle Text-to-speech.

Congress passed very complex copyright laws with no clear guidelines. The courts have created all sorts of "balancing tests" but it's kind of pathetic that in 2009 we need a human judge and 2+ lawyers to figure out if a work is OK to manipulate in some way for some purpose. Maybe in 1900 when there were only a few hundred printing presses this made sense. If every printer, CD-R burner, DVD-R burner, fax machine and computer speaker counts as a printing press then I have a dozen "printing presses" in my home. There are probably more presses than people now. Congress needs to wake up and simplify copyright.