[Athen] Interesting discussion with an author

Susan Kelmer Susan.Kelmer at colorado.edu
Fri Jan 15 13:10:14 PST 2021

Hi Debee. These are interesting observations!

I, too, am finding roadblocks in getting some materials, like self-published things. I argue with publishers on a regular basis about what we do and why and how we do our best to hold to copyright restrictions, but that we cannot guarantee it. I also point out that what we do is protected by law, and that we have a legal mandate to provide alternate format to students who qualify for that accommodation.

I also use my famous phrase: Civil Rights trump Copyrights, every single time. The right of the student is absolutely above the right of the publisher or the author. I make it very clear that I will be scanning a hard copy of their book if they refuse to provide files. We are doing our best by requesting proof of ownership of the book by the student, we are doing what we are able to do. And that needs to be good enough.

We also do not waste time trying to claw back the student's electronic files at the end of the semester. How many students are reading those books after the end of the semester? I was an undergrad once. I can tell you I never went back and re-read books from my classes after the semester was over!

I am an author. I understand and author's reluctance to provide files and why they feel like things will be shared beyond the original. But in reality, this doesn't happen all that much. Our students who are getting alternate format don't even want their friends to know they are getting accommodations in the first place. Sharing of electronic books is likely the furthest thing from their mind.

*Please note: I am currently working remotely, so can be reached by email.*

Susan Kelmer
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
Division of Student Affairs
T 303 735 4836

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