Law researcher backs digital equality over copyright

12 Jun 2017

Dr Paul Harpur explores the hurdles faced by people with print disabilities such as blindness, dyslexia and quadriplegia in his new book, Discrimination, Copyright and Equality – Opening the e-Book for the Print-Disabled.

The law must do more to help people with print disabilities achieve reading equality.

Dr Harpur says that the print disabled are in the midst of a ‘book famine’ despite new equality laws and innovations in technology.

“In theory, technology has opened up access to the written word,” Dr Harpur said.

“Adaptive technologies like e-books, iPhones, and e-readers have revolutionised the way the print disabled can consume content. When you factor in anti-discrimination and human rights laws, there’s no good reason why anyone should be denied access.

“Unfortunately, copyright concerns usually beat out equality of access. For instance, a lot of core textbooks aren’t available as e-books because publishers want people to pay for content and limit students illegally sharing material with their friends.

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