February 12, 2009

Listening to Kindle

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Charges by the Authors’ Guild that the new Kindle‘s audio capability were infringing on audio copyrights (as per this earlier MobyLives report) have become the subject of lots of discussion on the internet … or, more accurately, ridicule. “Was your mother a lawbreaker when she read you The Little Prince or Green Eggs and Ham?” asked Greg Sandoval in his story for CNET News. “Wow. If a computer can’t lawfully read a book out loud, do human beings have the right?” A copyright attorney from Harvard that Sandoval calls upon says it’s clearly not a violation, but another copyright attorney says “it’s unclear whether the text-to-speech feature could be considered a public performance,” which would be an infringement.

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives

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