Blindness Organizations and Arizona State University Resolve Litigation Over Kindle
Phoenix, Arizona (January 11, 2010): The National Federation of the Blind
(NFB), the American Council of the Blind (ACB), and Arizona State
University (ASU), today announced a settlement agreement resolving
litigation filed by NFB and ACB against the Arizona Board of Regents
(ABOR) and ASU. The lawsuit arose from the university's participation in
a pilot program using the Kindle DX, a dedicated device for reading electronic books, or e-books, developed by Amazon.com, Inc. The NFB and ACB alleged that the Kindle DX was inaccessible to blind students and thus violated federal law. ABOR and ASU denied and continue to deny any violations of the law.
The settlement agreement among the parties was reached in light of several
factors, including: (1) ASU's commitment to providing access to all
programs and facilities for students with disabilities, including students
who are blind or have low vision; (2) the fact that the pilot program will
end in the Spring of 2010; (3) Amazon and others are making improvements
to and progress in the accessibility of e-book readers; and (4) the
university's agreement that should ASU deploy e-book readers in future
classes over the next two years, it will strive to use devices that are
accessible to the blind.
The United States Department of Justice is also a party to the agreement,
which does not involve the payment of any damages or attorney's fees or costs.
Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The
National Federation of the Blind is pleased with this settlement, which we
believe will help to ensure that new technologies create new opportunities
for blind students rather than new barriers."
Mitch Pomerantz, President of the American Council of the Blind, expressed
support by commenting: "I believe this settlement between Arizona State
University and the two major national consumer-advocacy organizations of
blind and visually impaired persons will encourage the industry to develop
fully accessible e-book readers in the near future."