Amazon takes heat over Kindle DRM

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Amazon takes heat over Kindle DRM

A literacy group is planning to protest the organisation that pushed for restrictions on Amazon and its Kindle 2 ebook reader.

A group known as the Reading Rights Coalition said that on Tuesday it would hold a protest in New York outside the headquarters of the Authors Guild.

The group said that it primarily represents individuals who cannot read print, such as the blind and those with learning disabilities.

The protest will focus the guild's forcing of Amazon to place restrictions on the text-to-speech functions of its Kindle 2 device.

The group claimed that Amazon's distribution rights did extend to the feature, and the company responded by allowing publishers to disable the text to speech feature on their titles.

"This is blatant discrimination and we will not tolerate it," said Dr. Marc Maurer, president of coalition member National Organisation for the Blind.

"Authors and publishers who elect to disable text-to-speech for their e-books on the Kindle 2 prevent people who are blind or have other print disabilities from reading these e-books. "

The coalition is not alone in its scathing appraisal of the deal.

Anti-DRM advocates, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are speaking out against both the coalition and Amazon.

EFF activist Richard Esguerra criticised both parties for what he called a 'back-room deal' that gave the publishing industry 'veto power' over the device.

"We had hoped that Amazon would stand up to this legally baseless bullying and support their customers," wrote Esguerra.

"But, instead, they caved, and allowed publishers to deactivate the Kindle's text-to-speech capabilities using the device's built-in DRM."

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