May 25, 2008
Dear Mr. Pogue,
It is really disappointing to see blind people mentioned categorically in a negative light through your article entitled Can e-Publishing Overcome Copyright Concerns? in the New York Times. Unless there have been piracy convictions in a court of law, you have no absolute proof that those two blind people to whom you provided electronic copies of your books were the same ones who posted the illegal copies two days later. As people who lack physical eye sight, or who’s sight is extremely limited, we endure serious information accessibility challenges. This circumstance is completely beyond our control. Despite current technologies, we probably have access to easily 10 percent or less of the printed material you enjoy as a fully sighted person.
There are protected ways in which you may provide your books in an accessible format, one of which is Bookshare at http://www.bookshare.org. You could have also asked for some reasonable proof of disability before sending your books to complete strangers in an unprotected format. Please consider dawning a blindfold and a free screen reader like System Access to Go (http://www.satogo.com) and experiencing the world our way for a few hours, then consider clarifying your position toward blind and visually impaired people and the accessibility obstacles we face.
I hope you will consider making this right, so that your words don’t negatively impact our abilities to acquire an education and avail ourselves of employment opportunities through further worsening of the bleak inaccessibility we continue to encounter on a daily basis.