CANCELED. Amazon Kindle and the Right to Read: Privacy and Property in the Late Age of Print

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
Ted Striphas
4:00 pm

Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum 600 South Gregory Street Urbana

Event Description

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED Since its release in November 2007, the Amazon Kindle has emerged as a—and perhaps the—leading portable electronic reading device.  Widely touted for its unique screen, capacious storage, and wireless content delivery, Kindle has prompted both enthusiasts and critics to wonder if it will eventually “outbook the [printed] book” (to quote Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos).  This presentation will not settle the matter, nor will it try to.  Instead, it will focus on two key Kindle features: its two-way communications capability; and the “read to me” text-to-speech feature, new to Kindle 2.  The purpose of this presentation will be to show how these features have empowered Amazon.com and the Author’s Guild to assert extraordinary rights over, respectively, the content and form of reading.  In doing so, these entities render “the right to read,” which Richard Stallman identified over a decade ago, as increasingly alien and, indeed, alienable.

Cosponsored by: Department of History, Illinois Informatics Institute

Additional support from College of Media, WILL Public Media