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From: Moore, Michael
Date: Nov 24, 2008 8:45AM


This was sent to me this morning, I thought that the folks on this list
would be interested. Congratulations to Google!

Mike

Google Settlement with Authors, Publishers
Will Have Positive Results for the Blind


Terms of Proposed Settlement Agreement
Will Revolutionize Blind People's Access to Books

Baltimore, Maryland (October 31, 2008): The National Federation of the
Blind, the nation's leading advocate for access to information by the
blind, announced today that the recent settlement between Google and
authors and publishers over the Google Books project, if approved by the
courts, will have a profound and positive impact on the ability of blind
people to access the printed word. The terms of the settlement that was
reached on October 28, among Google, the Authors Guild, and the
Association of American Publishers, on behalf of a broad class of
authors and publishers, allow Google to provide the material it offers
users "in a manner that accommodates users with print disabilities so
that such users have a substantially similar user experience as users
without print disabilities." A user with a print disability under the
agreement is one who is "unable to read or use standard printed material
due to blindness, visual disability, physical limitations, organic
dysfunction, or dyslexia." Blind people, like other members of the
public, will be able to search the texts of books in the Google Books
database online; purchase some books in an accessible format; or access
accessible books at libraries and other entities that have an
institutional subscription to the Google Books database. Once the court
approves the settlement, Google will work to launch these services as
quickly as possible.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind,
said: "Access to the printed word has historically been one of the
greatest challenges faced by the blind. The agreement between Google
and authors and publishers will revolutionize access to books for blind
Americans. Blind people will be able to search for books through the
Google Books interface and purchase, borrow, or read at a public library
any of the books that are available to the general public in a format
that is compatible with text enlargement software, text-to-speech screen
access software, and refreshable Braille devices. With seven million
books already available in the Google Books collection and many more to
come, this agreement means that blind people will have more access to
print books than we have ever had in human history. The blind, just
like the sighted, will have a world of education, information, and
entertainment literally at our fingertips. The National Federation of
the Blind commends the parties to this agreement for their commitment to
full and equal access to information by the blind."

"Among the most monumental aspects of the settlement agreement," said
Jack Bernard, assistant general counsel at the University of Michigan,
"are the terms that enable Google and libraries to make works accessible
to people who have print disabilities. This unprecedented opportunity
to access the printed word will make it possible for blind people to
engage independently with our rich written culture. Moreover, it is
refreshing to find accessibility for people with disabilities explicitly
included upfront, rather than begrudgingly added as an afterthought."

"One of the great promises of the settlement agreement is improving
access to books for the blind and for those with print disabilities,"
said Dan Clancy, engineering director for Google Book Search. "Google
is committed to extending all of the services available under the
agreement to the blind and print disability community, making it easier
to access these books through screen enlargement, reader, and Braille
display technologies."