February 25, 2009

Roy Blount Shows Up [9:31 pm]

And, like he does when he shows up on NPR, I am tempted to turn off the radio. BUt, this time, it’s the New York Times op-ed pages that has given him a platform — and has lead to the unnecessary death of electrons across the Internet as people say, “?what?”: The Kindle Swindle? (pdf)

The Kindle 2 is a portable, wireless, paperback-size device onto which people can download a virtual library of digitalized titles. Amazon sells these downloads, and where the books are under copyright, it pays royalties to the authors and publishers.

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.

Another misreading of a technological advance? Or the opening sally in another round of redefining that copyright covers? Sadly, as we all know, until a court says something we’re all just contributing to the heat death of the universe.

Later: And Amazon decides that litigation is not worth it in this economy: Amazon to allow disabling of Kindle 2 audio (pdf)

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