Wednesday, September 21, 2016

DOJ enforcement of ADA on UC Berkeley "free" online courses could set a bad precedent for small publishers

I wanted to make a note about the recent decision by the University of California Berkeley to stop access to free online courses because it could not comply with DOJ mandates to provide equal access for the disabled, as part of Civil Rights enforcement.

FEE  (a libertarian-oriented site) has a good story here.  The letter to the school is here.

The idea behind this action worries me as a “small publisher”.  I cannot, in a practical manner, make my books available in large print or audio, for example.  In theory, such a policy could stop self-publishing by content-providers who do not have a large income flow from what they publish.  "Free content" by small speakers certainly does not add revenue to pay for special access.  Of course, browsers can provide tools for access, as can various PC operating system or hardware features, so I wonder why that doesn't enter into the issue.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Berkeley gate by Trisweb (CCSA 2.5).  I stayed in Berkeley for a week on vacation in 1971.

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