Friday, February 13, 2009

National Federation of the Blind enters debate over Amazon's Kindle 2, opposes Authors Guild

In a bold move that has broadened the debate over the text-to-speech technology in Amazon’s Kindle 2
e-reader, the National Federation of the Blind, the largest organization of blind people in the United States, issued a press release Thursday rejecting the argument of the Authors Guild 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."

Furthermore, while acknowledging that Kindle 2 is “a step in the right direction," the National Federation of the Blind asserted 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."

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