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Have you thought about the rights situation here? I don't see anything that indicates that you secured the copyright of the articles you've already provided, and the sites themselves don't have any copyleft notices. I suspect that unless you have ongoing relationships with authors, it's unlikely that you'll be able to both respect their copyrights and turn around "any article or document" in "a few hours turnaround time".

I'm interested to see what the legal ramifications would be here. I don't see anybody objecting to a screenreader reading the content they have created. So what's the difference between that and a better-inflected human voice? Even with the screen reader, people have probably essentially paid to have copyrighted content read aloud.

So what's the difference?

Here's one huge difference: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14550931

(Specifically, this site is depriving me of income.)

Thanks for mentioning screenreaders, Andrew! Very good point.

My initial idea was a browser extension, akin to Pocket, where you click on any article, and then get a narrated version into an app or your personal podcast feed within a few hours. I was afraid it would be very expensive to execute if ton of people would request a vast range of articles, and recording would get little reuse. So I limited articles selection to HN only and decided to launch like this and test the demand.

I agree with the other commenters here, and starting to see how distribution makes all the difference. Again, my intention was not to distribute or to re-distribute the content. But just to help consume it, when there is no time to read.

I'm considering taking the following steps: - turning all possible ways accessing narrated versions from the site — so we are not distributing it. - linking up to Pocket API or building a separate Chrome extension, where users can submit what articles they'd like to listen to. And then providing them this on a personal basis. It'll be a "human screenreader".

What do you guys think? Would you like to use this kind of "human screenreader"? Would content creators object? What are the copyright implications?

With a screen reader you have first to go to the original content site. You may have to log in, you will probably see some ads. All of this gives proper attribution and money to the authors pocket. This kind of service goes all around that. The fact that they did not even ask authors first is mind boggling.

So what's the difference?


Screen readers apply their transform to source content. By becoming that source (regardless of transform) you are distributing it with control of all the benefits involved, such as community, traffic, and ultimately revenue.

The difference is that screenreader does not aggregate multiple content sources behind its own wall with the intention of redistributing through its own channels (possibly for money).

Imagine Google AMP or Facebook articles with no way to opt-out (and maybe subscription fee).

A screen reader acts on behalf of an individual user. This is rebroadcasting someone else's content.

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