Reading Rights Coalition to protest Authors Guild whinging about Kindle 2 text-to-speech

The Reading Right Coalition and the National Federation of the Blind will be hosting a protest tomorrow outside the offices of the Authors Guild in an attempt to convince the Guild to quit busting Amazon’s balls over the Kindle 2’s text-to-speech technology that turns any eBook into a robotic audiobook. (Cory wrote about this a bit just recently.)

Here’s their point: “The Coalition believes authors and publishes absolutely have the right to be paid for their work and control the rights to audio performances of their works however, it is discriminatory for authors and publishers to charge disabled consumers more for an e-book than they charge the rest of the general public as the only difference is the method by which the disabled person will read it.”

The Kindle 2 is such a boon for the blind and others who have trouble reading printed books. I’m not in New York any more, but if I were I would probably still not actually go protest because I’m really lazy, but I would at least feel guilty about not going. I could sign an online petition, but you know how those work out.

If you’re in New York tomorrow, have a more generous heart than I, and want to support the Reading Rights Coalition for a couple of hours starting at noon, here’s where they’ll be.

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7 Responses to Reading Rights Coalition to protest Authors Guild whinging about Kindle 2 text-to-speech

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully the National Federation of the Blind protesters will stand outside the correct building.

  2. Anonymous says:

    #6, when the Kindle 2 was released, Amazon said that they would work toward making the device fully accessible to the blind. What’s the point, if they’re going to let the Authors Guild disallow the text-to-speech function? Its a step backward, if they’re truly serious about making the Kindle 2 fully accessible to the print-disabled. Also, there are other individuals who aren’t blind that find this technology extrememly valuable, like those with spinal cord injuries, dyslexia, etc – in fact there are 15 million. Let’s hope the AG figures out that making their works accessible to the print-disabled is a no-brainer.

    The Reading Rights Coalition has set up an on-line petition to urge the Authors Guild and Amazon to reverse course. Please read, sign, and pass along the petition below to all your friends and family: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/We-Want-To-Read

  3. OM says:

    …You know, one of the things I’ve learned as an amputee is that when you come across bullshit like this, you simply get the ADA people – and in this case the NFOTB as well – involved. Text-To-Speech has been around for almost as long as PCs have been affordable, and all of a sudden some idiot with a writer’s “in-crowd” decides such capabilities violates copyrights?

    Not even a bought-off judge would rule against Amazon over this one, kids. That’s why it needs to go to court to set a precedent against this sort of asinine abuse of the legal system…

  4. Agies says:

    @3 it’s not that simple. Hell, the ADA people can’t do anything about it. Not unless you want to suggest that paper books are also in voilation. The Author’s Guild hasn’t said that the blind can’t have access to reading services, they have said that the Kindle 2 shouldn’t be this device.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Blind people can’t use the Kindle’s interface without assistance so how many were using Kindles? Also, it’s naive to blame the AG for Amazon’s decisions – publishers have their opinions as well, and not only that, Amazon owns several audiobook companies.

  6. Mika Pyyhkala says:

    The Association of Blind Citizens will provide an audio webcast of the Authors Guild Protest from NYC. The webcast, details, and conference plug in can be accessed via this link:
    Reading Rights Coalition Webcast.

  7. strider_mt2k says:

    Test to speech in line 3.
    I NEVER catch these things usually.

    I hope the speech thing goes ahead.
    It’s too stupid to block this stuff and obviously profit based.

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