Kindle's Text-to-Speech function called 'illegal' by person who doesn't understand law all that well

Paul Aiken, director of the Author’s Guild, seems to think that the Kindle 2's text-to-speech function is a fancy new technology that turns all books into audio books.  Mr. Aiken, I submit, doesn't know much about technology.

"They don't have the right to read a book out loud," said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. "That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."

Mr. Aiken, I assume, hasn't used a Mac since 1984 when Apple first integrated text-to-speech into its OS.  Nor has he apparently used a PC since Windows 95 came out.  He's also probably never met any vision-impaired people who regularly use screen readers when browsing the web.

The Kindle 2 isn't introducing some new, really super awesome text-to-speech function that brings the dulcet tones of Morgan Freeman to every book you buy.  It's really the equivalent of having someone read you the book -- someone who has a speech synthesizer pressed to their neck.

Is the Author's Guild is going to start coming after anyone who reads bedtime stories to kids, now?

Source: WSJ Hat Tip: Crunch Gear