Bookshare Policies Pertaining to Volunteers

Bookshare® exists because of the privileges available to nonprofits like Benetech to serve people with print disabilities as they are outlined in the Chafee Amendment to the US Copyright Act.  While Bookshare may produce copies of print materials for its members it must do so in a manner that is carefully circumscribed in order to protect the intellectual property rights of authors and publishers and meet the requirements of the copyright exception.  Such practices include controlling access to copyrighted materials, requiring contractual agreements for all users and volunteers, and fingerprinting content (which allows us to trace the distribution of digitized material).


During the production process Bookshare also takes great care to prevent the unauthorized release of copyrighted material.  This includes a strict prohibition on volunteers emailing or otherwise exchanging Bookshare content directly with each other.  In most cases, when an exchange of document content is necessary between two volunteers, the complete document must first be returned to Bookshare and checked out by the second volunteer.


Occasionally, there is a need for portions of books to be exchanged between volunteers.  This most often occurs between a submitter/scanner and a proofreader, when sighted and blind volunteers team up, or when a scan contains numerous errors and the proofreader does not have access to the physical book. 


Bookshare’s policy permits a limited exchange of material directly between two Bookshare volunteers (both must be in good standing: active volunteers who have signed the Volunteer Agreement) in order to produce more accurate digital documents.  This exchange is limited to a single chapter or up to 10% of the content at a time, whichever is larger.  In the case of graphic elements such as genealogical charts or illustrations, up to one chapter's worth of these elements may be sent in one communication if these elements are separated from the book.  If neither of these exceptions applies, content must continue to only be shared by the existing process of the first volunteer returning the content to Bookshare and the second volunteer checking it out.


Adult Content: Bookshare has developed a program through which we run all text to compare against a list of extremely graphic words to filter for adult content. Bookshare is content-neutral and strives to serve all portions of its community.  This includes members in our community who wish to opt-in to seeing adult content and those who wish to opt-out of seeing this material.


Communication with authors: Volunteers have a passion for books and literacy, and are avid readers who sometimes have contact with authors and publishers, not related to their work with Bookshare. Should you receive questions from an author or publisher about Bookshare procedures or policy, please direct them to Bookshare’s Volunteer Program Manager to respond.