[Blindmath] books in accessible format

sabra1023 sabra1023 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 17 18:36:33 UTC 2013

I agree that the publisher isn't really worried about intellectual theft. The publishers just don't care about accessibility. As for the Kindle and accessibility, the issue isn't with the Kindle itself. The issue is with the FCC getting a waiver to relinquish them from accessibility. If they get a waiver relinquishing them from accessibility as far as the Kindle goes, it makes it that much easier for them to do so in the future. There is no point in having an accessibility standards act if any company who wants to can just get a waiver. Yes, there are alternate ways of accessing the Kindle like the Amazon reading app, but that doesn't mean we allow the FCC to have their waiver. Innoway, companies are like small children. They test the boundaries constantly to see which rules are really there, and which rules just exist for show. I think the FCC is doing that right now. To show that we are serious and that we mean business, we can't let the FCC have that waiver. It's just the same with a small child. You don't let him or her stay at five minutes past his or her bedtime even if those few extra minutes wouldn't matter much because the next time, that child will try to push the boundaries further.

On Sep 17, 2013, at 12:07 PM, Mike Jolls <mrspock56 at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I don't think the authors have as much to worry about as you imply.
> That's why we have laws ... to allow the people that need the alternative format to get it ... and to protect the publisher.
> Providing an alternate format for textbooks in e-format is no different than laws that apply to content that is provided through Talking Books.  The law that allows Talking Books to be made gives a special exception to the publishers that produce the Talking Books.  A special format is produced such that you have to have a special reader to access the information.  In that way, the "creator of the intellectual property" is protected.   And blind people probably access and enjoy Talking Books without too much fanfare these days.  The publishers know they'll be getting a free copy and everyone is OK with that because blind people are a small subset of the reading population.  So that precedent is already set.
> Textbooks are no different.  Blind people are entitled to the same information as sighted people, and the publishers need to understand that they should have alternative formats .. meaning that the digital electronic version should be released to "alternative producers" .. just like with Talking Books, or even BookShare.
> So the idea that publishers are fearful of their intellectual property being stolen is, as I see it, not as dramatic as set forth in the original email.  At least, as I see it, in the context of providing Blind people with accessible textbooks.  And, I'm sure it wouldn't be a stretch for the original author to say ... "I don't want this given out free, even to blind people"... and for Blind people to agree with that.  That is, if push came to shove and paying for it was the only way we could get it.   After all, we recognize that it takes a tremendous amount of work to publish a textbook, and if we were normally sighted, we'd plop down the $60, $100 price tag for knowledge in say a Trig book or a Calculus text.  If it came down to it, I'd say .. OK .. I have to pay for it.  But if I can get it in accessible format as I need it, it's worth it.
> Also, the battle over the Kindle with universities should have never erupted like it did ... if blind people had accessible textbooks in the first place.  If authors and publishers had released the e-texts to the alternate publishers, then it wouldn't have mattered whether Kindle was accessible or not, although it would have been nice if it had been.  The alternate publishers could have .. as an example .. developed a reader application that ran on the Mac or the PC, so that the blind student wouldn't have to be dependent on the Kindle being accessible, or waiting for manufacturers to scramble to produce a Kindle that allowed accessibility.  The alternate textbooks would however, had to be available when classes began so the blind person wasn't at a disadvantage if the Kindle was taken out of the equation.  That's not to say that the Kindle shouldn't be accessible ... it probably should be.  But if the e-text was released to an alternate producer, then the blind person wouldn't HAVE TO BE DEPENDENT on the Kindle.  The publisher could make a reader that allowed working with the alternate format independently of the Kindle.
> And, as I said in an earlier post, publishing (by the original publisher) in a standard format is critical.  I didn't get much response to that, but if a standard markup and format was agreed to such that every document was published in that format, then you could have any number of thred-paty publishers and they'd all know what the expected output of the e-text would be.  That standard could be LaTex, XML, whatever.  But I do believe a standard format needs to be developed if it hasn't already.  Otherwise you have incompatible solutions and a blind person gets locked into one vendor.  Consider the VCR.  When the standard was finally agreed to, you had a lot of competitors in the business.  You could then have multiple vendors producing the alternate e-texts which might be beneficial to the blind user.
> Anyway, i don't think the textbook author has that much to worry about, unless I'm just missing the boat here.  The precedence, as I said, has already been set.
> Thoughts?
>> From: pmw at mega-data.com
>> To: blindmath at nfbnet.org
>> Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 10:43:03 -0400
>> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] books in accessible format
>> It is important not to overlook one aspect of this: the intellectual
>> property aspect. Since a great deal of work goes into the authorship as
>> well as the layout and production of a textbook, a publisher wants to
>> protect that investment. By releasing the textbook in a simple digital
>> format, the textbook contents can now be very easily manipulated and
>> slightly modified by someone else who then publishes and sells, without
>> incurring the large time and money investment to produce the original work.
>> Copyright won't protect against this once the material is slightly altered.
>> So from the publisher's standpoint, why make it easy for someone to create
>> cheap "knock-offs" when they paid big money to an author, several editors,
>> several reviewers, and developers of instructor and student resource
>> materials. 
>> Suppose a publisher were to work through a single organization such as NFB
>> and only release digital versions to them, and NFB then translated to
>> Braille and only released Braille. Reverse translation of Braille would
>> produce the digital version fairly easily. So this is not about publisher
>> laziness or lack of understanding or discrimination, it is about protecting
>> their investment in intellectual property.
>> In reality, as publishers move toward some form of digital versions (still
>> mostly PDF), some of these issues will have to be addressed. The textbook
>> publishing industry is undergoing huge business model changes (as did the
>> music production industry in the last few years), and it is still too early
>> to predict exactly how it will all shake out.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: sabra1023 [mailto:sabra1023 at gmail.com] 
>> Sent: Monday, September 16, 2013 3:46 PM
>> To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
>> Cc: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
>> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] books in accessible format
>> It really isn't hard for publishing companies to make their work accessible.
>> It wouldn't just benefit blind people. These accessibility features would
>> benefit about 10% of the population. People uses screen readers and
>> electronic textbooks for other reasons rather than just being blind. Some
>> people have dyslexia. Some people have cerebral palsy, even know they might
>> be able to see, their eyes might not be able to focus well enough on the
>> text, so they may need a screen reader as well. Some people might be able to
>> physically see the printed text, but they need additional access because
>> they are using a specialized keyboard or dictation software, which means
>> that they Soli need to navigate through the book with keyboard only methods.
>> It's true that after publisher has already made a document, the editing to
>> make it accessible can be quite extensive, but if publishers think about
>> accessibility at the beginning, extensive editing won't be necessary.
>> Further, the Nfb is forwarding legislation called teach so that schools
>> won't be able to purchase an accessible materials. Therefore, it really
>> would be in the publisher's best interest to just conform. I believe the
>> bill will pass because lots of other organizations are already supporting
>> the Nfb. The publishers could still make a profit for their accessible books
>> and accompanying software if applicable. In fact, the publishers are
>> ensuring that they make less of a profit when they don't make their products
>> accessible. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think there is any blindness
>> organization that exists right now that has the resources, personnel, and
>> copyright permissions to start their own accessible publishing company. The
>> most effective use of resources would be to get those people who want to
>> join a publishing company and have them volunteer for book share adding new
>> books and editing old books to increase accessibility. However, I hope that
>> in the future, all of this extra work won't even be necessary because the
>> publishers will have thought about all this ahead of time and spirit lots of
>> people hundreds of hours of heartache.
>> On Sep 16, 2013, at 1:19 PM, "I. C. Bray" <i.c.bray at win.net> wrote:
>>> John,
>>> What I am getting at is not easilly said concisely 
>>> BasicalllyBasically, it should be a for profit Message ----- 
>>> organization who's mission is to provide a facility that employs 
>>> blind, vision impaired, and sighted individuals to do standardization 
>>> of accessibil materials for any and all other companies such as Text 
>>> Book Publishers, Electronics Manufacturers, and any other "group" that 
>>> wishes to produce accessible options for it's customers.
>>> Rather than have every company attempt to make their products 
>>> accessible, have the NFBPublishing company a "partner" to get it done.
>>> The only criticism I have about APH is that they typically don't do 
>>> extreemely up to date texts. I find the majority of the products to 
>>> be rather expensive... and being on fixed income makes that prohibitive.
>>> Instead of reinventing the weel, we make whatever wheel is needed and 
>>> ship it to the customer.
>>> Ian
>>> From: "John G. Heim" <jheim at math.wisc.edu>
>>> To: "Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics" 
>>> <blindmath at nfbnet.org>
>>> Sent: Monday, September 16, 2013 1:02 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] books in accessible format
>>> : I'm unclear on one thing though. Don't you think Learnng Ally would 
>>> love
>>> : to be the company you describe below only it's just not that easy?
>>> : Learning Ally is a non-profit so maybe you're thinking a for-profit
>>> : company would be more effective? I'm not disputing that. I don't know.
>>> : I'm just not clear on what you are getting at.
>>> :
>>> : I wish I knew more about this stuff. All I know is from what I read 
>>> on
>>> : this list. There seems to be a lot of people working in different
>>> : directions. That seems to be the case in everything from non-profits 
>>> to
>>> : software. I am not aware of any actual duplicate projects but there
>>> : does seem to be a lot of overlap in all aspects of this problem. And 
>>> it
>>> : seems extremely difficult to get an understanding as to how all the
>>> : pieces fit together.
>>> :
>>> :
>>> : On 09/16/13 10:18, I. C. Bray wrote:
>>> : > NO, I'm not talking about for end-consumers.
>>> : > I'm talking about products & vendors who are required to release 
>>> items,
>>> : > publications, and electronics etc.
>>> : > Instead of each individual company like Sony, Motorola, and 
>>> perhaps Software
>>> : > Developers...
>>> : > The NFB-Publishing would be given printed materials or PDFs or 
>>> would be
>>> : > responsible for reviewing a company's websites, and whatever else 
>>> for
>>> : > functionality.
>>> : >
>>> : > Example:
>>> : > Let's say MathWorks produces a new Calculus book.
>>> : > Instead of them publishing the hardback text only, they release 
>>> preliminary,
>>> : > intermediate, and final drafts along with errata to my 
>>> hypothetical
>>> : > publishing company.
>>> : > Since by law, everything published for sighted people should be 
>>> available
>>> : > reasonably for blind people, NFBPublishing would either OCR-Tag 
>>> PDF copies,
>>> : > have them recorded in audio and get them published into braille or 
>>> just BRF
>>> : > formats.
>>> : >
>>> : > Then, Since the Publishing Company is producing the material, and 
>>> we have
>>> : > the means, technology, and the appropriate understanding of what 
>>> is best
>>> : > needed, we do it all.
>>> : > When a blind customer requires a full text in braille, then the 
>>> customer
>>> : > pays for the textbook as normal, takes the ADA Card and Receipt 
>>> from the
>>> : > book and submits it to the publisher or whatever, and then the
>>> : > Publisher/owner exchanges the Print book for the Accessible 
>>> Version, or the
>>> : > customer pays a small fee to keep the print copy and receives the 
>>> other too.
>>> : >
>>> : >
>>> : > Then NFB Publishing could manage textbook Exchanges, and there 
>>> would not be
>>> : > a huge need to print thousands of coppies, but the cost of 
>>> publishing ANY
>>> : > book is spread out to any and all purchases of the book thus 
>>> making it
>>> : > easier on people like Me, Tami, and others to buy our Physics & 
>>> Linear
>>> : > Analysis texts at a REASONABLE cost instead of the $75000 per...
>>> : >
>>> : > Please do realize... this is just a brainstorming exercise here... 
>>> I'm
>>> : > thinking out loud and just seeing what others think too...
>>> : >
>>> : > The idea that I want/need a book in braille and it's nearly 
>>> impossible to
>>> : > find, and so costly to produce is silly.
>>> : >
>>> : > Often, hours upon hours of time from various Disability Resource 
>>> Centers is
>>> : > eaten up by producing an odd copy or two of accessible material 
>>> for only a
>>> : > small number of students... if those hours were freed-up and the 
>>> texts ALL
>>> : > managed throughout the publishing process, and a small number 
>>> published
>>> : > centrally... I'm just thinking it might work!!
>>> : >
>>> : > Ian
>>> : >
>>> : >
>>> : >
>>> : >
>>> : > ----- Original Message -----
>>> : > From: "John G. Heim" <jheim at math.wisc.edu>
>>> : > To: "Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics"
>>> : > <blindmath at nfbnet.org>
>>> : > Sent: Monday, September 16, 2013 9:25 AM
>>> : > Subject: [Blindmath] books in accessible format (was: Typing in
>>> : > NemethBraille)
>>> : >
>>> : >
>>> : > : Do you know about Learning Ally and Bookshare? The company you 
>>> describe
>>> : > : doesn't sound very different from Learning Ally and some of what
>>> : > : Bookshare does would overlap as well. I let my Learning Ally 
>>> membership
>>> : > : expire 20 years ago. It was calledRFBD back then. But they used 
>>> to send
>>> : > : me textbooks in a digital format on diskette. So they might 
>>> have worked
>>> : > : out the whole mathematical symbol thing by now. But I wouldn't know.
>>> : > : Bookshare operates under an exception in United States copyright
>> law. 
>>> So
>>> : > : they don't have everything and not everything they have is 
>>> available
>>> : > : internationally. Even so, it would probably be a lot easier to 
>>> with one
>>> : > : of these organizations to tweak their existing infrastructure 
>>> rather
>>> : > : than start from scratch on your own.
>>> : > :
>>> : > :
>>> : > : On 09/16/13 03:38, I. C. Bray wrote:
>>> : > : > Michael,
>>> : > : >
>>> : > : > Is there any means by which NFB members could join together 
>>> and form a
>>> : > : > publishing company whereby we accept materials and products 
>>> and produce
>>> : > the
>>> : > : > accessible materials for the originating manufacturers?
>>> : > : > As an example, Say NFB-Media were to either hire or contract
>>> : > organizations
>>> : > : > who already produce accessible materials specifically for the 
>>> blind and
>>> : > : > would be paid by the Manufacturers for doing it for them?
>>> : > : > This way, we the blind consumers are directly producing what 
>>> we need.
>>> : > Our
>>> : > : > own standards of accessability are met, Companies are given 
>>> proven,
>>> : > : > accessible materials to distribute as needed, and the 
>>> NFB-Publishing are
>>> : > : > granted royalty for the distribution of said working / proven 
>>> materials,
>>> : > and
>>> : > : > Manufacturers are able to concentrate on the functionality 
>>> while we
>>> : > make
>>> : > : > sure to communicate it appropriately.
>>> : > : >
>>> : > : > I mean, perhaps I am dreaming here, but is that really too 
>>> much to
>>> :

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