Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Kindle Lawsuit Settled

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Kindle Lawsuit Settled

Article excerpt

In mid-January 2010, Arizona State University (ASU) settled a lawsuit brought by two consumer groups, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), over the university's plan to adopt the Kindle DX e-book reader.

ACB and NFB originally filed suit against ASU and the Arizona Board of Regents in June 2009 after ASU began a pilot program to distribute electronic textbooks to students via the Kindle DX. Kindle only supports limited text-to-speech capabilities--the content of books can be read aloud, but the menu system, Kindle Store, and other aspects of the device are not accessible. As a result, blind students were unable to navigate the device or turn on the text-to-speech feature without help. This lack of independent access, ACB and NFB asserted in the lawsuit, is a violation of both the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. ASU argued that no blind or visually impaired students were prevented from enrolling in the class that was participating in the Kindle DX pilot, and said that there were alternate reading options for students who could not use the e-book reader.

The settlement, which involved no monetary damages, was agreed upon when ASU committed to use devices that are more accessible to students who are blind if it chooses to select e-book readers for university-wide use in the future; and the university cited its commitment to providing access to all programs to students with disabilities. …

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