[Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for the Blind.

Kestrell kestrell at panix.com
Sat Jun 9 07:28:20 PDT 2007


I have spoken to a number of people involved in special librariaries for the
blind, and all of them insist that their players, hardware as well as
software, must include DRM restrictions or the libraries will not be able to
get the cooperations of publishers in distributing their work. My impression
is that the state of the technology is dictated by the libraries' lawyers,
and that perspective dictates the design of the technology, the distribution
method, and everything else involved in the design and distribution of the
books and the players.

There are lots of blind readers who comprehend that this is not the most
efficient or most economically sound method for doing things, but those
dissenters seem tobe in the minority, or, at least, not on any of the
committees that make the decisions.

Ultimately, I find it sadly ironic that the same government which is taking
the NLS to task for insisting on the more expensive "special formats" is the
same government that has contributed so much to the arcane nature of the
copyright laws which have left the special libraries so paranoid about being
held accountable for any infringement that they feel compelled to go design
these special players (read the copyright declaration on any of these NLS or
RFBD or even Bookshare books and you will get an idea of how the format
dictates the player and the distribution method, and even the relationship
witht he consumer).

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ron Stewart" <ron.stewart at dolphinusa.com>
To: "'Access Technologists in Higher Education Network'"
<athen at athenpro.org>
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 5:26 PM
Subject: [Athen] FW: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for the Blind.

>I have a tendency to stick my foot into sticky things and I also know that

> if I respond on any of the blindness lists I would be tarred and

> feathered.



> Based on my understanding from a recent trip to Washigton DC and a couple

> of

> conversations with legislative types, the number one issue for the funding

> is the fact that the NLS did not use off the shelf technology or work with

> any of the exsisting commercial solutions to build this reader. This has

> been an issue throughout the development process on this reader, and to be

> honest I am not surprised by this at all. It is becoming more and more of

> an issues with federal funding of projects when the project goes off and

> reinvents the wheel like this.


> Anybody want to help me become better informed on the whys and werefores

> of

> this.


> Ron Stewart


> -----Original Message-----

> From: blindnews-bounces at blindprogramming.com

> [mailto:blindnews-bounces at blindprogramming.com] On Behalf Of BlindNews

> Mailing List

> Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 4:43 PM

> To: Blind News

> Subject: House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for the Blind.


> House Subcommittee Vote Could End Books for the Blind.



> PressRelease

> Author : National Federation of the Blind

> Earthtimes.org - USA

> Thu, 07 Jun 2007.



> On Wednesday, June 6, the House of Representatives Legislative Branch

> Appropriations Subcommittee voted to substantially underfund the Books for

> the Blind program of the Library of Congress.


> Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said:

> "Since 1931, Congress has consistently supported on a bipartisan basis a

> national program of audio and Braille books for the blind, operated by the

> Library of Congress. The blind of America are shocked and disappointed

> that

> a House subcommittee has callously disregarded our literacy needs since

> literacy leads to independence. By appropriating only $7.5 million of the

> $19.1 million needed for transition from antiquated analog cassette tape

> technology to digital technology, the subcommittee has effectively voted

> to

> shut down the only public library available to blind Americans. The audio

> books produced by the Library of Congress will be useless unless the

> digital

> playback technology is provided for readers. The Talking Book program is

> at

> a crossroads because the analog tape used for the past thirty-six years

> has

> become obsolete and must be replaced for the program to continue.

> Virtually,

> all government programs, except Books for the Blind, have converted to

> state-of-the-art digital communication technology at a cost of billions of

> dollars to the taxpayers. Leaving the Books for the Blind program behind

> is

> unconscionable. Since it is early in the appropriations process, however,

> Congress still has time to correct this grievous error. We therefore

> urgently appeal to the full House Appropriations Committee, the members of

> the House of Representatives, and the United States Senate to provide the

> full $19.1 million requested by the National Library Service for the Blind

> and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress to begin production

> of

> digital talking books and players."


> The Talking Book program serves over 750,000 blind Americans, including

> blind children and an ever-increasing number of older Americans who are

> losing vision. The incidence of blindness is expected to increase as the

> baby boom generation reaches retirement age. Therefore, the need for this

> essential program will only increase.


> CONTACT: John G. Pare Jr., Director of Public Relations of the National

> Federation of the Blind, +1-410-659-9314, extension 2371, Cell:

> +1-410-913-3912, jpare at nfb.org


> Web site: http://www.nfb.org/


> http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,118989.shtml




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