Thursday, March 16, 2017

Unintended consequences

AKA The Dog in the Manger


September 20, 2016 : The University of California, Berkeley, has announced that it may eliminate free online content rather than comply with a U.S. Justice Department order that it make the content accessible to those with disabilities.

And today I read that:

Today, the University of California at Berkeley has deleted 20,000 college lectures from its YouTube channel. Berkeley removed the videos because of a lawsuit brought by two students from another university under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We copied all 20,000 and are making them permanently available for free via LBRY.

I don't think this was the intent of the ADA. Not that it matters anymore. Seriously--retrofit 20000 videos so they're suitable for the blind or the deaf? Not remotely feasible. Even the best transcription software still has (last I heard) 5% error rates, and I know no way to turn blackboard sketches of Feynman diagrams into something tactile.

2 comments:

jaed said...

I'm surprising myself with how outraged I am about this. It's not just UC Berkeley's lectures, either—they were the only university with a court order against them, but in principle this would also apply to any university that makes such things available. The wealth of free educational resources available online is one of the best things to happen in my lifetime, and the plaintiffs in this case may well have destroyed it.

And the Gallaudet students didn't even get a benefit for themselves or for deaf people, in exchange for denying the resource to all others. It seems like just pure malice. $%*#! bookburners.

Mark Anderson said...

More fruits of the aggrieved.