Thursday, June 11, 2009

Apple seeks wrath of the Author's Guild

MacRumors today posted a few screenshots of the upcoming Mac OS X Snow Leopard release. One of the features in particular grabbed my attention: automatic text to speech with conversion to an iTunes track.
Whoa! That's a shot across the bow to the Author's Guild which in February tried to seek an injunction against the Amazon Kindle 2 for its text-to-speech feature. Amazon has since bowed to the pressure and has started to disable TTS on some of its offerings.
This Snow Leopard feature creates new content from existing content -- the very thing that the Author's Guild objects to. With this feature you could buy an e-book, convert it to an audio track, and listen to it on your iPod.
I wonder how the quality of Apple's TTS compares to the Kindle's.

1 comment:

Cjaer said...

Well while I'm not so certain having my computer or iPhone read to me is any different than having a friend read to me or a parent reading to a child, and generally feel that taking a stance that content must be consumed as presented (in this case read in silence) is far too restrictive.

Is an up-converting DVD player creating new content? Do applications that speak the copywritten content of websites create new content?

I would also guess that consumers of audio books are not generally consumers of printed or ebooks. I must admit this is a perception and I'm open to reading the statistics if anyone has something like that. If that is the case, and a consumer is purchasing an ebook which has the flexibility to be read traditionally, but dictated as the user wants would only serve to create extra value.

I, for one, don't want to purchase an ebook over a traditional book because the traditional book is more flexible. The printing and distribution of such a traditional book only removes revenue from the author (or more likely the publishing company). If eBooks start to represent a better product I would gravitate to that format.