[New-hampshire-students] National Federation of the Blind Endorses Google Books Settlement Before Congress

Freeh, Jessica JFreeh at nfb.org
Thu Sep 10 23:07:21 UTC 2009



Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

cdanielsen at nfb.org

National Federation of the Blind
Endorses Google Books Settlement Before Congress

Urges Justice Department to Support Settlement

Washington, DC (September 10, 2009): The National Federation of the 
Blind, the nation's oldest and largest organization of blind people 
and the leading advocate for access by the blind to digital 
information, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today 
that the proposed settlement between Google and authors and 
publishers regarding the Google Books project should be 
approved.  The Google Books settlement will make millions of titles 
available to the blind and other Americans with print disabilities, 
providing more access to the printed word than the blind have had in 
all of human history.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, 
told the House Judiciary Committee: "The Google settlement is, for 
the blind and many others, the next step in the democratization of 
knowledge.  That process began with the introduction of the printing 
press and then, for the blind, with the invention of Braille.  Now 
technology is available that transcends the traditional limitations 
of both print and Braille, promising to make millions of titles 
available to the blind in Braille or any other format of our 
choice.  The narrow business interests of Google's competitors must 
not be allowed to block Americans who cannot read print from all of 
the opportunities that greater access to written knowledge will make 
available to them.  It is time for the doors of the world's great 
libraries to be opened and welcome to everyone."

The National Federation of the Blind also urged the United States 
Department of Justice, which is reviewing the terms of the 
settlement, to support the agreement.

"The Google Books settlement is a major step forward in advancing the 
civil rights of blind Americans and others who cannot read print 
because it substantially increases our opportunities for education 
and employment," President Maurer said.  "The Justice Department, 
which is tasked with protecting the civil rights of all Americans, 
should respect the agreement of the parties to the settlement and 
allow its access provisions to be fully implemented.  In doing so, 
the government will send a strong message that it values the 
participation of the blind in society and believes that we should 
have access to all of the information to which our sighted friends 
and colleagues have access."


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