Press Release: March 4, 2003
O'Reilly Makes Books Accessible to People with Disabilities Worldwide Under Landmark Agreement with Bookshare.org
PALO ALTO, Calif., March 04, 2003 - Today Bookshare.org, an online library of accessible digital books for people with disabilities, announced an agreement with O'Reilly & Associates, a leading publisher of computer books, to make digital versions of O'Reilly books available worldwide to qualifying users with disabilities.
Bookshare.org is a subscription service that provides an extensive online library of accessible digital books to people with severe visual, reading, and mobility disabilities. The service, which was created by Benetech, the leading technology nonprofit in the Silicon Valley, operates under a copyright exemption in US law allowing the redistribution of copyrighted works in specialized accessible formats for people with qualifying disabilities.
Under the agreement, O'Reilly & Associates will transfer digital copies of its books to Bookshare.org, which will convert the books into accessible formats and make them available to qualifying subscribers in the US. In addition, O'Reilly has granted Benetech rights to provide the books in accessible formats to qualifying users from other countries, the initial step in a planned expansion into providing accessible digital books internationally.
"This is truly a landmark event in the struggle to make books accessible to people with disabilities," said Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman. "Tim O'Reilly's visionary contribution will make it easy for people with print-related disabilities worldwide to access his outstanding collection of technical books."
"For years, we've done our best to make our books available to disabled customers on request," said O'Reilly founder and CEO Tim O'Reilly. "After overcoming the technical hurdles, the greater challenge was keeping up with the requests. Benetech's Bookshare.org will give our efforts a real boost through their expert assistance on both the technical and administrative fronts. This partnership builds on Bookshare.org's expertise in providing accessible formats and the XML conversion tools O'Reilly developed to support our online Safari Bookshelf. I'm quite pleased that we'll be able to make O'Reilly books available worldwide through the Bookshare.org service."
Bookshare.org offers a collection more than 12,000 accessible digital books to its subscribers. The books are protected by a comprehensive digital rights management system, which was designed in collaboration with the Association of American Publishers and features extensive controls, including file encryption, watermarks, fingerprinting and a security watch program.
About Bookshare.org and Benetech
Bookshare.org is a project of Benetech, an innovative Silicon Valley nonprofit that develops technology projects to address pressing social issues in areas such as disability, human rights, literacy, education and the digital divide. Many technologies have compelling social applications that are not developed because such efforts do not meet investors' financial expectations. Benetech specifically pursues endeavors with a strong social, rather than financial, rate of return on investment, bringing commercial technology and private sector management techniques to bear in creating innovative solutions to difficult social challenges.