Amazon retreats on Kindle's text-to-speech issue

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

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NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 09: Amazon.com founder an...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Amazon retreats on Kindle’s text-to-speech issue | Digital Media – CNET News:

Apparently, Amazon won’t fight the publishing industry on the issue of whether the Kindle 2’s text-to-speech function violates copyright.

The retailer, which makes the popular Kindle electronic-book reader, announced late Friday that the company is modifying systems to allow authors and publishers to decide whether to enable Kindle’s text-to-speech function on a per-title basis.

Amazon starts its press release with tough talk. “Kindle 2’s experimental text-to-speech feature is legal,” Amazon wrote. “No copy is made, no derivative work is created, and no performance is being given.”

But then the company says: “We strongly believe many rights holders will be more comfortable with the text-to-speech feature if they are in the driver’s seat,” Amazon said.

There is no mistaking what happened here: Amazon caved. For Kindle owners interested in the text-to-speech feature, the reader just lost value.

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