Will reading aloud infringe copyright?

Neil Gaiman has proved once more that he’s One Of The Good Guys. He has posted an interesting comment about the new Amazon Kindle, and its reading-aloud capabilities. Apparently, his publishers think that this infringes their licensing agreement, as there is a profitable market for audio books. Gaiman says:

“When you buy a book, you’re also buying the right to read it aloud, have it read to you by anyone, read it to your children on long car trips, record yourself reading it and send that to your girlfriend etc. This is the same kind of thing, only without the ability to do the voices properly, and no-one’s going to confuse it with an audiobook. And that any authors’ societies or publishers who are thinking of spending money on fighting a fundamentally pointless legal case would be much better off taking that money and advertising and promoting what audio books are and what’s good about them with it.”

Wise words, but I am sure that he is in the minority. I imagine there is going to be a keruffle over this when many authors try to squeeze more money out of distributors.

(thanks to PanGloss for pointing this out to me).

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