The following is my report from the April 7, 2009 Reading Rights Coalition demonstration in front of the NYC offices of the Authors Guild, regarding text to speech for Kindle 2.
I am in Montreal right now, and missed the Right Rights Coalition demonstration at the Authors Guild. Manon, Judit and Malini from our office are in NYC at the demonstration, and said it was incredibly moving. Several people at the protest sent reports by tweeter. The most complete was probably Abraham Lloyd. This was his account, with the Tweets organized from his first to last.
The Authors Guild is claiming text to speech functions in software programs and e-book readers violate their copyrights, and should be turned off unless they are paid more for the extra functionality. Obviously the geniuses among the Authors Guild are on to something. There are many similar areas of functionality to be exploited by the Authors Guild. Here are some thoughts on how the Guild might squeeze more money from readers, if they want to expand upon their new anti-consumer business strategy:
The groups below represent 15 million Americans who cannot read print because of blindness, dyslexia, spinal cord injury and other print disabilities. Reading disabled persons affected by the Authors’ Guild request to remove the text to speech function on Kindle 2 include school children, the elderly, professionals, university students, returning veterans, and yes, your neighbors, family members and friends.
The Authors Guild is pressuring Amazon to modify the Kindle 2 so that the synthetic speech function can only be used with the express authorization of the owner of the copyright of a work. A coalition of organizations that represent or work with persons with reading disabilities is organizing a protest to persuade the Guild to change its position. KEI supports the protest, and makes this statement on the Kindle 2 issue: