Imagine this nightmare situation! You work nights and/or weekends. One Saturday morning, you start the JAWS-equipped computer on your desk only to find that, for some mysterious reason, JAWS has decided it is no longer authorized. Even worse, since you have JAWS authorized on three computers, you have no additional activations available. It is time to contact Freedom Scientific, right? Wrong! Freedom Scientific is not open during late evenings or on weekends and holidays! You’ll just have to wait till Monday for Freedom Scientific staff to fix the problem! In the meantime, JAWS will run only in 40 minute demonstration mode. It will be necessary to completely reboot your computer 12 times during your eight hour shift. Will your employer find that an acceptable loss of productivity? What if you are an emergency dispatcher, where your ability to correctly and efficiently process each incoming call may be literally a matter of life and death?

It is long past time for Freedom Scientific to come up with a licensing scheme that protects their precious software while ensuring the highest possible availability to its legitimate, paying customers! An excellent example of a reasonably workable scheme would seem to be the new user-centered licensing system recently implemented by Code Factory. Please, Freedom Scientific, if not Code Factory’s model, then come up with a similarly reasonable scheme to protect everyone’s interests. Most users are not going to be highly technical. They’re just not going to be constantly watching to see if they have an extra key available, just in case the worst happens. Instead, blind employees need reasonable assurances that, barring some sort of catastrophe, their screen reader isn’t going to be the tool that lets them down when they start their work day. Doesn’t JAWS still stand for Job Access with Speech?