If you had any doubt we are amidst a cultural war, what with file sharing, digital rights management and the free culture revolution, the dinosaurs in suits over at Amazon.com had just decided that the Text-To-Speech option on the new Kindle 2 will be disabled if the book publisher chooses that. This means that book publishers will be able to control a right that they do not possess. Read more on this at Professor Lawrence Lessig’s blog.
For us Israelis this triggers a flashback to the Anti-Mehikon: up until the 1980’s the Israeli television broadcast was in black and white as the government thought this would bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots, those who can afford to buy a color TV set, and those who cannot. As idiotic as that plan sounds today, it worked for a few years until a device was invented to restore the color bursts that were deliberetly erased at the Israeli Broadcast Authority.
All this may have sounded like fun nostalgia, if only the people of yesterday would have given up on their futile attempt at stopping the natural evolution of technologies.
Download some text2speech audio files (MP3 and WAV) of the phrases ‘Amazon sucks’ and ‘Amazon’s Kindle 2 sucks’