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Federation of the Blind Pushes Back Against Authors Guild

Authors’ Guild is peeved about Kindle’s Text to Speech function and the Federation of the Blind is pushing back.

"The National Federation of the Blind supports all technologies that allow blind people to have better access to the printed word, including the ability of devices like the Kindle 2 to read commercial e-books aloud using text-to-speech technology.   Although the Authors Guild claims that it supports making books accessible to the blind, its position on the inclusion of text-to-speech technology in the Kindle 2 is harmful to blind people. …   The key point is that reading aloud in private is the same whether done by a person or a machine, and reading aloud in private is never an infringement of copyright.

Via MediaBistro.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Gemma
    Feb 17, 2009 @ 12:11:26

    Good for them.

    The key point is that reading aloud in private is the same whether done by a person or a machine, and reading aloud in private is never an infringement of copyright.

    I love it when someone can summarize an argument so beautifully.

  2. kirsten saell
    Feb 17, 2009 @ 14:27:02

    Good for them.

    Now when the author’s guild starts telling authors they’re getting ripped off by the “standard” 6-8% NY royalty on ebooks, I’ll stand up and applaud them. Funny, that would probably put a lot more dollars in authors’ pockets than quibbling over whether TTS constitutes audio rights or not.

  3. Deb Kinnard
    Feb 17, 2009 @ 16:54:42

    I’m not a member, but in my opinion Author’s Guild should have picked their battle. Royalties is where they should have drawn their line in the sand, and rightly so. Maybe they only go to bat against an easy pitcher.

    How’s that for metaphor souffle?

  4. Angie
    Feb 18, 2009 @ 08:37:52

    And another Good For Them. [nod] This whole thing is ridiculous, and I hope the National Federation of the Blind brings the Author’s Guild enough bad publicity to get them to drop this issue. Maybe being chased off with their collective tail between their legs will make them stop and think next time before they issue any public statements.


  5. the robot voice of the Kindle 2 « Collection Developments @ Sno-Isle
    Feb 18, 2009 @ 12:51:20

    […] the flip side, the National Federation for the Blind is a big supporter of the Text-to-Speech feature of the Kindle 2, specifically addressing the Authors Guild claims in […]

  6. Hilcia
    Feb 21, 2009 @ 12:06:03

    Good for the National Federation for the Blind! What a ridiculous argument, position to take…
    Funny, when I received notice that my Kindle order was upgraded to the 2.0 and that it had the Text to Speech feature, the first thing my husband and I commented on was how great this feature is for the Blind… and wished that they had expanded the Text to Speech to the Menu for easier access for them. INCREDIBLE!

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