Amazon Kindle 2G is only a couple of weeks old but that hasn’t stopped people from going after it. Authors Guild first brought up the text-to-speech issue the very same day Jeff Bezos introduced the new device. After a few days of going back and forth, Amazon finally decided to hedge its bets and minimize its legal risks by allowing publishers to disable Read-to-Me for their books. It was a setback for Kindle fans, but something we can live with.
One would think that was the end of the story. But the guys at Authors Guild have other plans, as CNET reports. The good people at Author Guild claim that large book publishers are to blame for this fiasco. I don’t doubt for a second that Authors Guild was not the only party applying pressure on Amazon, but these folks started the fire. Here is how Aiken (a copyright advocate) explained the situation:
It’s hard to get paid for your content online for digital uses. We have to get things right in these emerging markets. There has to be reasonable ways for authors and creators to get compensated.
You are absolutely right it’s hard. While the audio-book market is growing, you can’t expect folks to pay for mediocre productions. And you shouldn’t blame text-to-speech technology for your loss of sales. Audio-books are supposed to be high in quality, and text-to-speech software should be no real competition. Unfortunately, our legal system allows these entities to hinder innovation by objecting to everything, and that’s truly a shame as we need solutions and not lawsuits and threats.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to money. These guys saw a new gadget with text-to-speech technology, and they panicked. I wish these guys would come up with a solution as they seem to be raising problems most of the time. I still believe that Amazon should not have yielded here but let’s hope that’s the end of it.