[nfb-talk] National Federation of the Blind Responds to Authors Guild Statement on the Amazon Kindle 2
John G. Heim
jheim at math.wisc.edu
Mon Feb 16 15:45:51 UTC 2009
What the heck is the Author's guild thinking?!
They must figure it will cut back on purchases of books on tape and/or CD.
But holy cow, that's crazy.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Freeh,Jessica (by way of David Andrews <dandrews at visi.com>)"
<JFreeh at nfb.org>
To: <david.andrews at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2009 9:38 PM
Subject: [nfb-talk] National Federation of the Blind Responds to Authors
Guild Statement on the Amazon Kindle 2
> FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
> Chris Danielsen
> Director of Public Relations
> National Federation of the Blind
> (410) 659-9314, extension 2330
> (410) 262-1281 (Cell)
> <mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org
> National Federation of the Blind Responds to Authors Guild
> Statement on the Amazon Kindle 2
> Baltimore, Maryland (February 12, 2009): The National Federation of the
> Blind, the largest organization of blind people in the United States,
> today responded to a statement put out by the Authors Guild advising its
> members to consider negotiating contracts prohibiting e-books to be read
> aloud by the new Amazon Kindle 2, which incorporates text-to-speech
> technology. The Authors Guild argues that the reading of a book out loud
> by a machine is a copyright infringement unless the copyright holder has
> specifically granted permission for the book to be read aloud.
> Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said:
> "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 Authors Guild says that having a book read aloud by a machine
> in the privacy of one's home or vehicle is a copyright infringement. But
> blind people routinely use readers, either human or machine, to access
> books that are not available in alternative formats like Braille or audio.
> Up until now, no one has argued that this is illegal, but now the Authors
> Guild says that it is. This is absolutely wrong. The blind and other
> readers have the right for books to be presented to us in the format that
> is most useful to us, and we are not violating copyright law as long as we
> use readers, either human or machine, for private rather than public
> listening. 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.
> "Amazon has taken a step in the right direction by including
> text-to-speech technology for reading e-books aloud on its new Kindle 2,"
> Dr. Maurer continued. "We note, however, that the device itself cannot be
> used independently by a blind reader because the controls to download a
> book and begin reading it aloud are visual and therefore inaccessible to
> the blind. We urge Amazon to rectify this situation as soon as possible in
> order to make the Kindle 2 a device that truly can be used both by blind
> and sighted readers. By doing so, Amazon will make it possible for blind
> people to purchase a new book and begin reading it immediately, just as
> sighted people do."
> About the National Federation of the Blind
> With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is the
> largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in
> the United States. The NFB improves blind people's lives through advocacy,
> education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and
> self-confidence. It is the leading force in the blindness field today and
> the voice of the nation's blind. In January 2004 the NFB opened the
> National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research
> and training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.
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