Last month, a group called The Author's Guild raised loud objections to the
text-to-speech feature in Amazon's new Kindle 2. They claimed that reading a book out-loud is a violation of US copyright law.
We had hoped that Amazon would stand up to this legally baseless bullying and support their customers. But, instead, they caved, and allowed publishers to deactivate the Kindle's text-to-speech capabilities using the device's built-in DRM.
Presumably, Amazon and The Author's Guild hoped this back-room deal would go unnoticed. Instead, consumers have taken a stand and formed The Reading Rights Coalition:
The groups below represent 15 million Americans who cannot read print because of blindness, dyslexia, spinal cord injury and other print disabilities. Reading disabled persons affected by the Authors’ Guild request to remove the text to speech function on Kindle 2 include school children, the elderly, professionals, university students, returning veterans, and yes, your neighbors, family members and friends.
The publishing industry shouldn't have veto power over new technology. If you care about the right to read, consider joining The Reading Rights Coalition this Tuesday for a protest at The Author's Guild's headquarters in New York City.
You can learn more at the DAISY Consortium Newsletter and on the Knowledge Ecology International Blog.