Will The Authors Guild Freak Out About Text To Speech On The iPad?

from the yakety-yak dept

When the second generation Kindle ebook reader launched with a text-to-speech functionality, the Authors Guild freaked out, claiming that this violated a totally made up on the spot aspect of copyright law. Plenty of copyright lawyers dissected this claim in great detail and concluded that the Authors Guild was making up stories about how they wanted copyright law to act, rather than paying attention to what copyright law actually said. There simply is no copyright violation in having a computer read a book aloud to you. However, after the Authors Guild ratcheted up the threats, Amazon finally caved and let authors choose to block the text-to-speech functionality.

Now, with the iPad coming out, some are noticing that it, too, contains such text-to-speech capabilities, and yet oddly, we haven't heard complaints from the Authors Guild (found via Copycense). Have they come to their senses, or have they just not realized it yet?


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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 6:23am

    Haven't realized

    I think they haven't realized it yet. They don't seem like the brightest bunch. Wait until somebody starts shouting about how great it is to be able to listen to books. Then they will freak out about the progress we are making towards having better lives and freak out that they aren't being paid.
    Then will come the lawsuits.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 6:37am

      Re: Haven\'t realized

      Agreed. What's funny is that I was just looking into T2S software, particularly any free/open source options, so that I could throw what I've written at it and hear a crude example of what it would sound like if it were an audiobook.

      More importantly, one of the things writers know is that the best way to determine if the dialogue you've written is any good is to hear it aloud. Normally this means either saying it aloud yourself, which is the worst of the options, or having family/friends read it aloud as if you were reciting lines in a play. But if the voice inflection and modulation is any good on this software, as in if it doesn't sound like a speak and spell, this could be a GREAT tool for authors to use.

      Let's hope the AG doesn't take a big steamy shit on this the way they have in the past....

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 6:47am

        Re: Re: Haven't realized

        I selected your post and had Safari say it aloud and it sounded like shit.

        Of course the voices that come with Mac OSX are not very good. Cepstral has some better ones (including my favorite: Dog!) but I don't want to shell out that much for just a voice.

         

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    Matty, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    Things we have not realized yet for 500 Alex.

    Only a matter of time.

     

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    OldGeek, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:02am

    A bit Different

    Won't happen this time, Apple will do what they want because they have well paid lawyers.

     

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      mjb5406 (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:06am

      Re: A bit Different

      My sentiments exactly... Even though Amazon is big, they really don't have pockets as deep as Steve Jobs... nior does Jeff Bezos have the incendiary temper Jobs has!

       

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        mikez (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:09am

        Re: Re: A bit Different

        I don't think it's the lawyers as a threat as much as it is the PR and Marketing of Apple that you don't want to go against.

         

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    Andrew (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:45am

    Or maybe they just like Apple's book pricing / revenue sharing model. :)

    Perhaps we can expect publishers to release two versions of each book, just like iTunes' DRM free tracks.

    $9.99 for the book
    $11.99 for the book with text-to-speech allowed

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:01am

    Will The Authors Guild Freak Out About Text To Speech On The iPad?

    No!
    Steve Jobs can do no wrong in the eyes of the artsy types.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:06am

      Re:

      "I wrote my most recent novel on a MacBook! I love Apple! Amazon? You mean that company that rips off my publisher?"

       

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        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:27am

        Re: Re:

        "I wrote my most recent novel on a MacBook! I love Apple! Amazon? You mean that company that rips off my publisher?"

        Exactly. Anyone who is writing a nastygram to Apple on their MacBook is obviously going to pause and think a bit.

         

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    davec, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:14am

    This is how Apple describes the text to speech feature:

    iBooks works with VoiceOver, the screen reader in iPad, so it can read you the contents of any page.

    It's interesting that they chose to say "any page." I'm guessing that the text-to-speech is limited to the current page rather than 'start reading and stop when I say to'. If you want to hear the next page you will need to go to the next page and start the text-to-speech again.

    Hopefully I'm wrong.

     

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    JackOfShadows (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 11:44am

    Hilarious!

    Well, I hope they have deeeeep pockets and go after M$ first. I've been using Microsoft Reader pretty much since it came out (2003?) and the first thing you notice on the page after the text is the text to speech reader at the bottom. As these things go, it's not that bad. Mi Amiga was much better, but.... Given that I'm facing total paralysis in the not too distant future, text to speech as well as voice-command and speech to text are important considerations here which is why I now restrict any documentation or literature downloads to something that I can feed to an adequete narrator or convert (thanks MS for the free Word to .LIT converter).

    Two final questions. One: I wonder how long the statute of limitations is on copyright infringement if copyright or other infringement this is? Two: If I feed a book to Office (no conversion) and have it narrate it to me, does that violate the DMCA vis-a-vis cirvumvention?

     

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    Some Dude, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    Yesterday I told a sever dyslexic person the iPad will have text to speech for books and she nearly cried with joy. She has never been able to read an entire book dude to her condition. Now she does not need to sit in front of a computer or carry a laptop just to read a book.
    With Apple backing the text to speech, as well as the blind foundation and now dyslexic's the authors guild would do well to stay quite.

    On a side note the spelling of word dyslexic must be a cruel joke for a dyslexic person to spell.

     

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    alternatives(), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 7:18am

    And Android has text to speech also

    Only a matter of time before someone comes out with a tablet-style Android.

     

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