One of the things we worry about at FGI is how technology that could be opening up information access is too often used to reduce access. Amazon.com’s Kindle e-book reader is a completely proprietary device. You can’t buy a “Kindle” book and loan it or re-sell it or give it away or read it on any device except on one Kindle. Amazon even charges you to convert PDFs into the Kindle format (or so I have heard). It also has a nice feature that allows text to be vocalized — great for the blind, but not a replacement for audiobook performances read by professionals. But the Author’s Guild sees this as a threat and Amazon, while claiming (rightly, I think) that the feature is legal, is nevertheless willing to disable text-to-speech on a title-by-title basis at the rightsholder’s request.
Caving into bullies (aka, here we go again), Lawrence Lessig, February 28, 2009.
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