A last laugh on ADA vs. Berkeley online courses?

Those free online course materials may be gone from the University of California, Berkeley, courtesy of a U.S. Deparment of Justice interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and related statutes, but they’re not gone from the Internet: “20,000 Worldclass University Lectures Made Illegal, So We Irrevocably Mirrored Them” [LBRY] Won’t that infringe on a lot of copyrights? The site claims not: “The vast majority of the lectures are licensed under a Creative Commons license that allows attributed, non-commercial redistribution.” Earlier coverage here, here, here, and here.

As someone put it, it looks as if the internet recognizes ADA litigation as damage and routes around it.


  • One of the perceived values of the Internet when it was still being developed by DARPA was its ability to route around holes when part of it went down. On 9/11, I couldn’t phone Manhattan because of the destruction of the lines beneath the World Trade Center; however, I was able to chat with people via computer.

    This sounds like another case of the Internet solving the same issue.


  • Glad that it amuses you. Why don’t ya’ll all go back to your private men’s school free from coloreds, women and hom-I-sexuals and figure out how to privatize another golf course. After all, having a publically funded school produce course materials that are actually accessible might just let them crips get out of the corner where they’re supposed to sit waiting on your charity.

    • I think the above comment by Cecil illustrates why so many people are hesitant to criticize even the most obviously extreme and damaging results of ADA activism — lest they be vilified this way — and why it is all the more important that they speak up and do so.

  • It always amuses me when people insist they have a moral right to free cake and I have a moral duty to support their insistence on it. I know where my moral duties lie, and don’t don’t need instruction on the subject from the Internet.

    As for Cecil’s vituperation, it’s another case of some one not only being wrong, but wrong at the top of his lungs.


  • […] Olson at Overlawyered […]

  • Taxpayer. I don’t believe in scorched earth. I also don’t believe in celebrating this outcome. Public institutions using taxpayer funds to produce materials should produce ones that are accessible. Private institutions, as with race, gender and all the other triggers can do as they please. If I am mistaken and this wasn’t about a California State university, then I apologize, your glee was reasonable, although I still cannot join in.
    We are still in agreement that there is too much litigation for too little purpose other than providing a lawyer an income. And I agree that the ADA is heavily abused for that purpose, and I vehemently disagree with that. Accessibility does not sound like “Ka-ching!”.

  • While we’re lingering over Cecil’s uncivil outburst, it may be worth noting that the LBRY site’s mirroring of content makes exactly no difference to Berkeley’s legal obligation to spend large sums to add accessibility features to course materials. That obligation will stand or fall on other legal issues. Instead, the mirroring of content spares a large number of users outside the Berkeley community, notably including many disabled users, the loss of resources valuable in distance education and, particularly, self-education. It is curious to speculate why an outcome that creates a benefit for one group, without undermining the legal rights of another, should provoke such fury.