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Kindle Lawsuit Settled By ASU and Blind Groups

By Minara El-Rahman on January 12, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Kindle lawsuit that was filed by two groups representing the blind -- the National Federation of the Blind, and the American Council of the Blind -- has been settled by Arizona State University (ASU). ABC News reports that the university settled the lawsuit with the two groups who had filed the suit on behalf of a student who claimed that the university's Kindle program was not accessible for the blind last year. The lawsuit alleged that the program was violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Kindle is an e-reader device that was introduced by Amazon as a way to access multiple books without all of the clutter. Amazon announced its expansion of its Kindle reader to include textbooks back in May of 2009. The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon had worked out a deal with several textbook publishers to make their reading materials available through Kindle. Amazon worked out an experimental program with universities to introduce the Kindle to students instead of traditional textbooks. These schools included Pace, Princeton, Reed, the Darden School at the University of Virginia, Case Western Reserve University and ASU.

According to Wired Campus, the complaint against ASU requested that the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice look into the practices of the other universities involved in the Kindle program.

ABC News reports that the settlement of the lawsuit does not involve monetary damages or attorney's fees. The university denies that it violated any federal laws. It released a statement that if they do use e-readers in their pilot program over the next two years, "it will strive to use devices that are accessible to the blind." While Amazon is not a defendant in the lawsuit, it has recently announced that it will add two new featured to its Kindle in order to make it more accessible for visually impaired people. One feature will be read aloud menus while the other feature is an extra large font for people with impaired vision.

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