Score one for the publishers:
“Amazon realized the magnitude of the contractual problem,” Aiken said Monday morning. “Many of the author’s publishing contracts give publishers the right to publish e-books, but only without enhancing audio. A reasonable reading of those contracts shows that publishers didn’t have the authority to sell e-books for use in a Kindle device with audio enhancement.”
An Amazon spokesman denied being pushed into Friday’s decision. As for whether contractual issues played a part, the spokesman repeated what the company said Friday: “Kindle 2’s experimental text-to-speech feature is legal.”
Aiken began criticizing Amazon soon after the Kindle 2’s debut last month. He argued that the retailer was violating the author’s copyright and was cutting them out of a potentially new and lucrative market.
On Friday, Amazon announced it would reconfigure the Kindle 2’s systems to allow publishers to disable the text-to-speech function for titles of their choosing. However, the retailer made it clear in the announcement that it believed text-to-speech did not violate copyright.
Amazon may be the big fish in the pool but they don’t own the lake.