[nfb-talk] Fw: Contacting the ABC

Kenneth Chrane kenneth.chrane at verizon.net
Mon Apr 6 10:48:17 UTC 2009

Tuesday, May 7, 2009, Blind Citizens March on New York City to Protest The 
Authors Gilled.
Ken Chrane

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Australian Broadcasting Corporation" <anonymous at your.abc.net.au>
To: <kenneth.chrane at verizon.net>
Sent: Monday, April 06, 2009 4:16 AM
Subject: Contacting the ABC

> Dear Kenneth Chrane
> This email provides a copy of your comments recently submitted to the ABC 
> via the online email form located on this webpage :
> http://abc.net.au/contact.
> Yours sincerely,
> ABC Audience & Consumer Affairs
> **IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not reply to this message.  You are welcome to 
> submit any further comments you may have using the form available here - 
> http://abc.net.au/contact **
> __________________________________
> First name: Kenneth
> Surname: Chrane
> Email: kenneth.chrane at verizon.net
> Location: WA
> Response Required: true
> Program: The news today.
> Program Date: April 6, 2009
> ABC Service\Network: News
> ABC Recipient: ABC News & Current Affairs
> Subject: Tuesday, Blind Citizens of The United States of America, March in 
> New York City:
> Your Comments:
> Chris Danielsen
> Director of Public Relations
> National Federation of the Blind
> (410) 659-9314, ext. 2330
> (410) 262-1281 (Cell)
> <mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org
> Reading Rights Coalition Urges Authors to Allow
> Everyone Access to E-books
> Informational Protest to be Held at Authors Guild Headquarters
> New York City (March 30, 2009): The Reading
> Rights Coalition, which represents people who
> cannot read print, will protest the threatened
> removal of the text-to-speech function from
> e-books for the Amazon Kindle 2 outside the
> Authors Guild headquarters in New York City at 31
> East 32nd Street on April 7, 2009, from noon to
> 2:00 p.m.  The coalition includes the blind,
> people with dyslexia, people with learning or
> processing issues, seniors losing vision, people
> with spinal cord injuries, people recovering from
> strokes, and many others for whom the addition of
> text-to-speech on the Kindle 2 promised for the
> first time easy, mainstream access to over 255,000 books.
> When Amazon released the Kindle 2 electronic book
> reader on February 9, 2009, the company announced
> that the device would be able to read e-books
> aloud using text-to-speech technology.  Under
> pressure from the Authors Guild, Amazon has
> announced that it will give authors and
> publishers the ability to disable the
> text-to-speech function on any or all of their
> e-books available for the Kindle 2.
> Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National
> Federation of the Blind, said: "The blind and
> print-disabled have for years utilized
> text-to-speech technology to read and access
> information.  As technology advances and more
> books move from hard-copy print to electronic
> formats, people with print disabilities have for
> the first time in history the opportunity to
> enjoy access to books on an equal basis with
> those who can read print.  Authors and publishers
> who elect to disable text-to-speech for their
> e-books on the Kindle 2 prevent people who are blind or have
> other print disabilities from reading these
> e-books.  This is blatant discrimination and we will not tolerate it."
> Mike Shuttic, president of the Association on
> Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), said:
> "AHEAD envisions educational and societal
> environments that value disability and embody
> equality of opportunity.  This vision of AHEAD is
> directly aligned with the efforts of this
> coalition.  Although much rhetoric is made about
> potential obstacles and problems that exist, the
> basic goal is clear and simple--access for
> everyone.  And why create something that prevents it?"
> Mitch Pomerantz, president of the American
> Council of the Blind, said: "Removing the
> text-to-speech features closes the door on an
> innovative technological solution that would make
> regular print books available to tens of
> thousands of individuals who are blind or visually impaired."
> Andrew Imparato, President and Chief Executive
> Officer for the American Association of People
> with Disabilities (AAPD), said: "It is outrageous
> when a technology device shuts out people with
> all kinds of disabilities.  AAPD works to remove
> barriers to accessibility and usability in
> technology, and we don't expect to see people
> with disabilities singled out by having to pay
> more for access.  New technologies, such as
> electronic books, should be available to everyone regardless of 
> disability."
> Paul Schroeder, vice president of programs and
> policy for the American Foundation for the Blind,
> said: "Those of us with print disabilities have
> long dreamed of a world in which books and media
> are available to us at the same time as everyone
> else. The Kindle 2 offers that possibility for
> the first time.  We hope publishers and authors
> come to see that text-to-speech is simply an
> alternative means of access to print."
> Dr. Peter Blanck, chairman and university
> professor at Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse
> University, said: "As electronic books become the
> norm, denying universal access will result in
> more and more people with disabilities being left
> out of education, employment, and the societal
> conversation.  We will all suffer from the
> absence of their participation and contribution
> to the debates that occupy us as a society."
> George Kerscher of the Digital Accessible
> Information System (DAISY) Consortium, said: "The
> DAISY Consortium envisions a world where people
> with print disabilities have equal access to
> information and knowledge, without delay or
> additional expense.  Authors and publishers
> surely must share this vision.  Now that the
> issue of human rights has been explained, and the
> opportunity for larger sales are known, I urge
> the Authors Guild to reverse their position on
> text-to-speech and join us in actively
> encouraging all publishers and reading technology
> developers to open the world of reading to
> everybody.  Authors, join us on the picket line."
> Steve Jacobs, president of IDEAL Group Inc.,
> said, "Not only is text-to-speech important to
> people who are blind, it is critical in providing
> quality educations to millions of young people
> who rely on text-to-speech to learn
> effectively.  This includes students with autism,
> learning disabilities, mobility disabilities, and
> cognitive disabilities that impact their ability
> to acquire information with their eyes only. I
> remain hopeful that the talented members of the
> Authors Guild come to understand the potential
> negative impact of disabling the text-to-speech
> function on their e-books and reconsider their position."
> Cynthia D. Waddell, executive director of the
> International Center for Disability Resources on
> the Internet (ICDRI), said:  "The mission of
> ICDRI supports the removal of barriers in
> electronic and information technology and the
> promotion of equal access.  ICDRI welcomes the
> text-to-speech functionality being offered by the
> Kindle 2 since it increases mainstream access to
> books for the first time in history.  We question
> why the Authors Guild demands that it be turned
> it off since many more books would be sold if
> text-to-speech was turned back on.  Not only
> does this feature benefit persons with
> disabilities, but it also helps persons for whom
> English is not their native language.  In an
> increasingly mobile society, flexibility in
> access to content improves the quality of life for everyone."
> James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology
> International, said: "Knowing full well that not
> everyone can see, the Authors Guild wants the
> right to be seen, but not heard.  By bullying
> Amazon to change the technology of Kindle 2, the
> Authors Guild will either deny access to people
> who are disabled, or make them pay more.  By
> attacking disabled persons in this way, the
> Authors Guild is attacking everyone who would
> otherwise benefit from the contributions this
> community has the potential to offer."
> James H. Wendorf, executive director for the
> National Center for Learning Disabilities, said:
> "Access to the written word is the cornerstone of
> education and democracy.  New technologies must
> serve individuals with disabilities, not impede
> them.  Our homes, schools and ultimately our
> economy rely on support for the future, not
> discriminating practices and beliefs from the past."
> While the Kindle 2 is not currently accessible to
> blind users, Amazon recently announced on its
> Kindle 2 blog that it is currently at work on
> making the device's navigational features accessible to the blind.
> The coalition includes: American Association of
> People with Disabilities, American Council of the
> Blind, American Foundation for the Blind,
> Association on Higher Education and Disability,
> Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Burton
> Blatt Institute, Digital Accessible Information
> System (DAISY) Consortium, Disability Rights
> Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), IDEAL Group,
> Inc., International Center for Disability
> Resources on the Internet, International Dyslexia
> Association, International Dyslexia
> Association--New York Branch, Knowledge Ecology
> International, Learning Disabilities Association
> of America, National Center for Learning
> Disabilities, National Disability Rights Network,
> National Federation of the Blind, NISH, and the
> National Spinal Cord Injury Association.  In
> addition to the April 7 New York City protest,
> the coalition will participate in the Los Angeles
> Times Festival of Books on April 25-26.

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