Blind people have won the right to break the DRM of e-books. After 3 years, they will have to do it again

This situation rarely happens. On the contrary, screen readers will stumble upon these static images and sometimes recite the gibberish of the file name, making it impossible for the blind reader to distinguish the meaning. Suppose again that there is an accessible textbook version from the beginning. If it does exist, it may only be available on certain platforms.

Inconsistency can be maddening.take Calculus: Early Transcendentalism, A popular textbook from the publisher Cengage Learning. The “electronic textbook” provided on Amazon is actually just a direct scan of the book, and there is absolutely no text-to-speech function. Bookshare is an accessible online library that provides Book version, But even the copy cannot be fully accessed because it does not contain alternate text descriptions of these static images.

Brad Turner, vice president and general manager of global education and literacy of Benetech, the non-profit organization behind Bookshare, said that although his company sometimes injects accessible features into e-books without the cooperation of a publisher, they don’t add images. Write your own description.

“Our agreement with the publisher is to provide your content to us, and we promise not to change it at all. We will only make it accessible,” Turner said. “For many images, graphs, charts, graphs, formulas, equations, we are not as qualified as authors or publishers.”

Emily Featherston, director of corporate communications at Cengage, said the company is committed to providing accessible versions of its e-books, and it has “accessibility guidelines and an internal team of digital accessibility and learning design experts” to support its product and technical teams. Readers who purchase and access texts through Cengage’s own platform will have access to TTS and alternative texts, but these features cannot be guaranteed from third parties that people may be more accustomed to buying.

“While this work helps prove our commitment to providing accessibility solutions, we also recognize that accessibility is a journey, not a destination, and there is always room for improvement,” Featherston said.

That journey is already long.Technological interventions have been around for many years-some people use things like Kindle converter or code Through digital rights management, proprietary e-books are transformed into accessible formats-but the core problem is actually very simple. Publishers can provide fully accessible digital versions of books. They are not necessary, and usually not.

Therefore, American advocates insisted on applying for exemption from a 23-year-old law, which was signed a year before Napster was founded, and was far ahead of the era of smart phones. Rip music on. This month’s proposal to extend the copyright exemption for accessible e-books is good news, but the entire process will be repeated in three years.

By then, permanent repair may be closer. In 2019, the European Accessibility Act Become the law of the European Union. Will be implemented in June 2025, Requiring all e-books published in the EU after this to be fully accessible. Some people hope it can set a precedent here.

“We passed the seat belt law. We passed the unleaded gasoline law. Why can’t we pass the barrier free picture calligraphy?” Turner said.

At the same time, Bridges is looking to the future-with some fear.

“Math will be terrible,” Rebecca said. “There is no doubt in my heart.”


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