My Take on the Kindle / Audiobook thing

I've been asked a bunch lately what my take on the whole Audio Rights vs. Amazon Kindle "read aloud" debate would be. I have no dog in this fight (currently) because my first book is published under Creative Commons, and you can do very well whatever the hell you want with it. You can photocopy the thing and give it out for free if you want, and that's the point. But with the new book coming out through Penguin, with an agent and contracts and whatever... I suppose at some point, I'll have to take a stand one way or another. SO.

My take, simply:

From a legal standpoint, there is an argument here. From a "licensing" standpoint, you have rights: publishing, audio, video, performance, etc. Each of those rights have a pricetag. You negotiate on those rights when you sell your book. If you establish that a publisher has audio rights to your book, they get to be the ones who do the audio for your book. If you establish that a publisher has performance rights for your book, they get to be the ones who control performance of your book. The argument is that the Kindle reads aloud (audio) and performs (performance) your book without said rights being paid for through royalties or license agreement.

From a logistics standpoint, any author who allows that argument to stand for even half a second is an asshole. Not wrong, per se... Just an asshole. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation (whom, full disclosure dictates I state, I support financially) noted, reading a book aloud to your kid at night constitutes an audio performance as well - should you be sued for reading a bedtime story?

Basically we're at yet another great crossroad, where the intention of standing laws established long ago has been completely invalidated by current technology. Like music, video, tv, movies, books have finally reached a point where the freedom technology gives them to prosper, grow and earn more awareness with new customers actually infringes on laws designed to protect them.

As I've stated numerous times before: any artist - not "creator in it for the sales", but ARTIST - couldn't possibly care less who's giving who their work, so long as they get the credit and earn a new reader / listener / viewer.