[nfb-talk] Good Press for NFB

John G. Heim jheim at math.wisc.edu
Wed Jun 17 14:09:06 UTC 2009

We've been thrashing out this issue on the email list for the International 
Association of Visually Impaired Technologists. One thing that becomes 
apparent to me is how valuable a service bookshare.org is at least to a 
person who makes their living dealing with computers. And I don't think the 
equivalent service exists anywhere in the world. There are similar services 
but they don't have nearly the inventory bookshare has.

One member of IAVIT pointed out that bookshare actually goes beyond leveling 
the playing field in that we can download books for free and keep them 
forever. This is something of a side issue however.

The real issue is of access. The Chafee Ammendment was in response to a 
specific problem. Publishers weren't providing permission to make books 
available in accessible format in a timely manner. Something had to be done 
about that because access to reading material, especially for people in 
technical fields, is essential.

In fact, the need for the Chafee Amendment is a strong argument against 
market solutions. If the publishing industry had set up the equivalent of 
bookshare.org, the Chafee Amendment wouldn't exist. But the publishing 
industry tends to go in the opposite direction as the Kindle issue shows. 
Knowledge Ecology International recently pointed out that even books free 
for download on Amazon have had the text to speech feature disabled. In 
fact, a book free for download and written by members of Knowledge Ecology 
itself on the Kindle issue has TTS  disabled.

Stuff like that makes the publishing industry's market solution proposals 
look like a joke.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "T. Joseph Carter" <carter.tjoseph at gmail.com>
To: "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 4:05 PM
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Good Press for NFB

> Unfortunately, the CEO of Benetech speaking on how much the NFB and the 
> Reading Rights Coalition have impacted this issue is not nearly as 
> impressive as having someone from outside the coalition talking about the 
> impact.
> Even so, Mr. Frutcherman's post goes far to explain the challenges facing 
> us as advocates.  I think perhaps one key to the problem lies in that 
> while a country may have the necessary Copyright exemption to produce an 
> accessible book, the accessible book may already exist or be of higher 
> quality in another country.
> For example, one UK-based publisher that has many Autism-related titles 
> makes their books available to UK-based equivalents of the National 
> Library Service and Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic.  These books are 
> trivially available and accessible to those in the UK who are blind.  I 
> could not get an accessible copy of the book in the United States when I 
> needed it, however.
> Expanding Chaffee-style Copyright exemptions to cover much of the world 
> would ensure that such a situation does not happen in the future.  A blind 
> person should never be denied access to a book because they live in the 
> wrong country.
> Joseph
> On Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 09:45:53AM -0500, John G. Heim wrote:
>> In a recent blog entry, the CEO of the Benedict Foundation mentions the 
>> impact the NFB has had on the Kindle issue, "This one has gotten a lot of 
>> press, especially since the National Federation of the Blind and the 
>> Reading Rights Coalition has formed to fight the soundproofing of books 
>> on the Kindle2. "
>> http://benetech.blogspot.com/2009/06/fascinating-meeting-at-copyright-office.html
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