The Librarian of Congress has made a ruling July 27, 2010, allowing exemptions to Title 17, Section 1201(a)(1) for six classes of works that now
"...will not be subject to the prohibition against circumventing access controls (17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)) until the conclusion of the next rulemaking." -- which would be in 3 years.
No. 6 affects text-to-speech disabling in e-books and reads:
' (6) Literary works distributed in ebook format when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling either of the book’s read-aloud function or of screen readers that render the text into a specialized format. '
' Amazon may have clamped down on the feature in response [to publisher demands], but the Library of Congress has now given users the right to crack e-book DRM in order to hear the words. Exemption number six only applies in cases where there is no alternative; if e-book vendors offer any sort of version that allows screen-reading or text-to-speech, even if the price is significantly higher, people must use that version rather than bypass DRM.
But if there are no commercial alternatives, e-book buyers are at last legally allowed to bypass DRM. '
This is rather huge! I wrote this week the following to a Random House staffer responsible for distributing Random House PR for newly released or highlighted books:
" I'd like to make a request that they go lighter on allowing people to use the text-to-speech mechanism during times like commutes or dish-washing but especially for those who are visually impaired and for whom these words are even more food than they are for the rest of us.
The Kindle voice cannot compete with well-read and acted fare such as the Audible books. It's utilitarian.
I don't like that the disabled have to practically beg and 'prove' themselves worthy of listening to a mechanical voice. "
So, this is a very interesting and welcome development.
UPDATE - This development is being discussed at the Amazon Kindle forums.
UPDATE2 - Wouldn't it behoove Amazon to ENABLE text-to-speech on all Kindle books (despite publisher demands otherwise) rather than have people tinkering with DRM fixes that will now be coming out, which could affect the entire file?
ALSO -- THE KINDLE 2, THE 6" GLOBAL DEVICE, IS TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK
Does this mean something newish might be coming? (I don't know.)
Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
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