Friday, February 13, 2009

Kindle Accessiblity Is Illegal?

The Authors Guild is furious with Amazon about Kindle's new voice capability, which provides people with visual limitations (and I presume even page turning limitations, if the voice is continuous) some additional accessibility. There are limitations--people with visual disability would need a sighted person to set up and electronically access the book, which could then be read via audio (update from information at Media Dis-n-Dat).

Such functionality cuts into profits from other audiorecordings and is illegal, they say. Personally, I have to question whether making text accessible via different formats is illegal.

Has the Authors Guild (what, no apostrophe?) not even though about the accessibility function, or do they just not care? While some reviewers say there are limitations in the technology, it certainly offers a world of books that are often unavailable to people with visual limitations. The audio text function can also help people with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. I certainly wouldn't mind using such a feature while I go about other activities or when I have difficulty concentrating on the written word.

I wonder if disability accessibility will come up in what may well become a legal case. To me, it's the primary issue, but I'm not sure Amazon will even see it this way.

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