Monday, July 6, 2009

Lawsuit filed against Kindle pilot program

There could be legal trouble on the horizon for the University's Kindle pilot program, Inside Higher Ed reported on Monday morning.

In May, introduced the Kindle DX and announced it was launching a pilot digital textbook program with Princeton, Arizona State University, Pace University, Case Western Reserve University, Reed College and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

But two organizations (the National Federation for the Blind and the American Council of the Blind) filed a lawsuit against Arizona State University on June 25, arguing the pilot program is illegal because blind people cannot operate the device.

It seems that while the device has a number of accessories that will prove helpful to those who are visually impaired, the only way to turn them on is through the on-screen menu...that is not accessible to blind people. The complaint argues that while the software exists to use audio or keyboard shortcuts to fix that, Amazon has chosen not to incorporate that technology into the device.

The two groups also asked the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to review the pilot programs at the other five institutions, alleging they are in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Princeton's pilot program will include 60 Kindles, spread between students and professors in three courses during the upcoming academic year. The device, which costs $489, can hold up to 3,500 books that are downloaded from Amazon's online store via a wireless connection.


Anonymous said...

have they announced which classes it will be?

a boring person said...

Aren't books (which Kindle is replacing) not accessible to the blind?
If there are devices that can help the blind read books, but not Kindle, and the university is giving away free Kindles, maybe they can give free books to the blind.