Reading to Your Kids is a Crime

Filed under: In The News

The new Amazon Kindle 2 electronic book.Do you read your kids a story before bed? The National Children's Reading Foundation recommends that you spend twenty minutes each day reading out loud to your kids. The problem is, if you follow the NCRF recommendation, you'll be committing a crime. At least, that's the accusation of Paul Aitken, executive director of the Authors Guild, a writers' advocacy group.

According to Aitken, the read-aloud feature of the new Kindle 2, Amazon's latest version of their electronic book, is illegal. The Kindle is a popular device that lets you download books and magazines to read on the go. The newly announced second version will actually read the books to you.

That's where the problem is. Says Aitken, "They don't have the right to read a book out loud. That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law." I guess Aitken feels that having a computer read a book to you is the same as making a movie out of it. Does that go for parents, too?

So what does this mean for all the moms and dads out there who want to do the right thing and read to their children? Ben Sheffner, a well-known copyright attorney, wrote on his website that "clearly reading to one's kids is a private performance (for which no license is required), not a public performance for which the Copyright Act requires the copyright owner's permission." So, bedtime stories are probably okay; you can read "Where the Wild Things Are" with a clear conscience.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.