Digital rights (was: kindle)

Eric Oyen eric.oyen at
Tue Sep 15 16:59:07 UTC 2015

well, guys. Amazon has already lost in court once when it comes to requiring that the kindle be used as a classroom platform. SInce they didn't (at the time) include accessibility for the blind user, a suit was brought. THis happened right down the street from me at ASU. Even with the court ruling, amazon has been very reticent to make their products accessible to the blind user.

Take, for instance, the read aloud function. It is supposed to work but because of some terms in the DMCA, it is disabled on most of the e-books. THis was largely due to an action taken by the American Authors guild (which, incidentally, is largely paid for by the publishing industry). Amazon went with this instead of abiding by the terms of the ADA (which does allow for exceptions to the DNCA and copyright laws. WHat they are doing is basically bowing to the larger funding concern. This means that we, as blind people, are getting the short end of the stick again. Now, Amazon isn't entirely to blame for this, but they do have the deepest pockets. ANyway, since Amazon refuses to work with us (the paying customer), it is on us to demand that they do (and make it stick).


On Sep 15, 2015, at 8:34 AM, John G Heim wrote:

> For pete's sake, Sam, would you please stop saying I (or anyone) said that Amazon has an ethical obligation to write a command line app for linux. This is the second time I've pointed out that I haven't said that and I don't think anyone else has either.
> What I've said is that it is not unethical to hack DRM on a kindle book so you *can* read it on your linux command line platform. It's not ethical for Amazon to keep me from doing that.
> It is absolutely NOT reasonable for Amazon to say you have to buy their computer to read their books. Holy cow, have you ever heard of a public library?  Do you think a publisher should be able to say a public library cannot carry their books?
> I think it's very easy for you to say these things but if the world you envision actually existed, you wouldn't like it very much. People with this libertarian attitude don't understand the huge amount of hard work that has been done on their behalf by some very dedicated people over many years. If everybody thought the way you did, there'd be no speakup, brltty, or orca. Android and IOS wouldn't have screen readers. Bookshare wouldn't exist. Public libraries wouldn't exist.
> On 09/15/2015 10:02 AM, Sam Hartman wrote:
>>>>>>> "John" == John G Heim <jheim at> writes:
>>     John> No one on a linux users list should criticize someone else for
>>     John> their choice of platform.
>> I don't criticize the choice of platform.
>> Beyond a certain point--and I definitely think command line linux is
>> well past that point--I don't think it's Amazon's problem to make it
>> accessible.
>> I think it's entirely reasonable for you to try and convince them they
>> should.
>> If I were in there position, I would be very hard to convince.
>> However,  I reject the idea that there is some ethical judgment against
>> Amazon because they choose not to support command-line Linux.
>> I'll note that they almost certainly don't support command-line Linux
>> for sighted users either.
>>     John> Otherwise, Amazon could say if you
>>     John> want access to our books, you have to buy our computers and
>>     John> use our software.
>> I think it's entirely reasonable for Amazon to say this.
>> I'd choose not to do business with them if they did.
>>     John> And if it doesn't work for you, too
>>     John> bad.
>> I wouldn't go that far.  Amazon for a variety of reasons has obligations
>> related to accessibility.  However, I think those obligations are only
>> related to the platforms they support.  I was very frustrated at
>> Amazon's Android accessibility, and cases where they used captchas with
>> no audio option on their websites (and had a nice chat with a VP at
>> Amazon about that issue).
>> However, in these cases, they have chosen to support Android and the
>> browser respectively.
>> They have not, and I don't think it is reasonable that they should be
>> obligated to, support command-line Linux.
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