Words to Ponder....

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Friday, October 17, 2008

VIPs are VIPs

Yes, Visually Impaired Persons are Very Important People. Those of us who are sighted, even if we wear a form of corrective lenses, tend to take our vision for granted and often don't consider how access to information can be seriously hampered or even impossible to those who are visually impaired. Who are the visually impaired? Anyone:
  • whose visual acuity is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses, or whose widest visual field is no greater than 20 degrees;
  • whose visual disability, with correction, prevents the reading of standard printed material;
  • unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations. (NLS 2006)

So, what does the Chaffee Amendment do for those who are visually impaired? It allows for an "accessible copy" to be made without requiring permission from the author or creator of the work as long as that copy is only to be used by the visually impaired and expressly states that purpose.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Did You Know?

Who is aware that there are special copyright laws and considerations for the visually impaired? I hadn't even thought about the possibility of copyright laws hampering information access for visually impaired persons, until now! Over the next couple days, I'll present a few facts and points that have been addressed by the Chaffee Amendment which was passed September 16, 1996. This information could be helpful to us as teacher-librarians with the very real possibility of having students with visual difficulties using our libraries and knowing how to serve these students.

If anyone happened to read this post previously, you might notice a change in the name of the Amendment and the date it came into effect. I mistakenly had put the name and date of the Act passed in the United Kingdom dealing with the visually impaired.

Interesting Observation

There were only 5 total respondents to my quick poll regarding viewing rights of DVDs in schools, but I found the results very interesting. When we consider our educational background, we know we've at LEAST gotten through 4 years of undergrad studies. More of us are unaware of a lot of copyright issues, including this one, than are well versed. Compare that to the general public and I think we'd find most know even less than we do. It lays a lot of responsibility at our doorstep to help educate others, whether we're in a public venue or school media center!!