RE: Disabled people and copyright infringement


I don't have specific information on individual litigation but this reminds me of the issues  between the Author's Guild and the NFB here in the US several years ago.


Access to e-books has also been the subject of recent litigation. In 2005, a group of libraries and universities began to work with Google Inc. to digitize their library collections. In 2008, the University of Michigan made the more than 9 million digital books in its collection available to students, faculty, and staff who had documented print disabilities.[18] However, in late 2011, the Author's Guild and a number of individual authors sued a number of universities whose collections had been digitized by Google, alleging copyright infringement and seeking impoundment of all the digital scans.The Author's Guild Inc. v. HathiTrust, No. 11-cv-6351 (S.D.N.Y.). The National Federation of the Blind and several blind scholars intervened as defendants in the litigation to argue that the new access to these digital books is nothing more than fair use and is also permitted under the Chafee Amendment to the Copyright Act. On Oct. 10, 2012, the court held that a university, in discharging its ADA obligations, may digitize its library as a fair use under copyright law because it is a "transformative use."[19] This means that students with disabilities will, for the first time, have the same opportunity to conduct research on an equal footing with their peers. These students will be allowed to peruse at will the table of contents and indices and skim pages to determine if a particular book is pertinent and then, if it is, to read it on demand, just like a sighted scholar. The court also held that because equal access is a primary mission of universities under the ADA, universities can be an "authorized entity" under the Chafee Amendment to the Copyright Act who, as such, can make their digital collections available to all blind persons in the United States who document their visual disability.

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-----Original Message-----
From: Léonie Watson [] 
Sent: Friday, May 20, 2016 4:38 AM
To: 'w3c WAI List'
Subject: Disabled people and copyright infringement

Hello WAI IG,

I'm looking for examples of law suits and/or court cases, where people with disabilities have been sued/prosecuted for copyright or other copy protection infringement (anywhere in the world) because they were trying to access content that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.

Rudimentary online searches have turned up nothing useful, so I'm hoping that someone/some people on this list will be able to point me in the right direction! Thanks.


@LeonieWatson Carpe diem

Received on Friday, 20 May 2016 14:12:20 UTC