TLPC Files Comments in the Eighth Section 1201 Triennial Review

Today, the TLPC filed a series of comments in the Copyright Office’s Eighth Triennial Review of exemptions from the anticircumvention measures of Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Section 1201 prohibits the circumvention of technological protective measures (TPMs) that control access to copyrighted works, but allows stakeholders to apply for and receive broader temporary exemptions for a variety of noninfringing uses. The TLPC filed comments on four exemptions, one focused on security research and the other three on various accessibility purposes.

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TLPC and Georgetown Communications and Technology Law Clinic Draft Accessibility Agenda for FCC Transition Team

In consultation with Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI), the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the American Council of the Blind (ACB), the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), and the Technology Access Program (TAP) at Gallaudet University, the TLPC and our sister Communications and Technology Law Clinic (CTLC) at Georgetown Law developed an overview of critical technology accessibility priorities for a new administration at the Federal Communications Commission. The overview encourages the transition team and the FCC to:

  • Prioritize accessibility in agency leadership;
  • Relocate the Disability Rights Office to a new Office of Civil Rights;
  • Address videoconferencing accessibility problems in response to the pandemic;
  • Get the Real-Time Text transition back on track;
  • Bolster video programming accessibility; and
  • Improve the accessibility of wireless handsets.

TLPC Files Comments on Behalf of Disability Rights Advocates to Enforce Carceral Communications Accessibility

TLPC student attorneys Caitlin League, Michael Obregon, and Brandon Ward worked over the last month with a coalition of incarcerated deaf/disabled people and their advocates, consumer groups, including our client, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI), and accessibility researchers to file comments in response to a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) soliciting input on rates charged to incarcerated people for the use of telecommunication devices. Carceral facilities, including prisons and jails, have long denied incarcerated people with communications disabilities access to functionally equivalent communications services and equipment and charged exorbitant rates to maintain crucial connections between incarcerated people and their families, loved ones, and legal representatives.

Because the transition of the phone system from analog to Internet Protocol networks has largely broken compatibility with teletypewriters (TTYs), many carceral facilities essentially provide no accessible services or equipment. Among other remedies, the comments urge the FCC to require that inmate calling services (ICS) facilitate the provision of accessible services, including video relay service and Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) and equipment, including videophones and captioned telephones, to carceral facilities.

TLPC Publishes White Paper on the 911 Accessibility Regulatory Framework- An Update of 2015 TLPC 911 Accessibility Whitepaper

(by Jake Stephens, Colorado Law 2L)

Student attorney Jake Stephens wrote a white paper updating federal and Colorado regulatory frameworks governing 911 accessibility, updating a white paper on the same topic published by the TLPC in 2015. This update covers recent developments in 911 access regulatory dockets at the FCC, a summary of a withdrawal of proposed updates to 911 accessibility regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act by the Department of Justice, and a glimpse into state 911 accessibility regulations with Colorado as the case study.

TLPC Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Print Disability Advocates in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org

On October 16, 2019, the TLPC filed a brief of amici curiae in the matter of Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court of the United States involving the copyrightability of annotations to state law. The TLPC filed the brief of amici curiae on behalf of print disability advocate organizations American Association of the Deaf-Blind, American Council of the Blind, Burton Blatt Institute, Disability Rights Advocates, National Federation of the Blind, World Institute on Disability, and individual print researcher and advocate Sina Bahram. The brief addresses concerns about Georgia’s failure to provide its laws to those with print disabilities in accessible forms as required by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As part of its wider project to promote free and open access to the law, Public.Resource.Org has undertaken to make the law accessible to those with print disabilities. The brief also raises concerns about Georgia’s use of copyright law to quash efforts to provide the accessible information which Georgia has itself failed to provide and underscored that making works accessible to those with disabilities is an uncontroversially non-infringing fair use.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Groups and Researchers Call on FCC to Improve the Quality of Live Captions

WASHINGTON – On July 31, the TLPC, on behalf of its client Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI) and in partnership with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA), the Cerebral Palsy and Deaf Organization (CPADO), Deaf Seniors of America (DSA), the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Technology Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (DHH-RERC), the Twenty-First Century Captioning Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (Captioning DRRP), the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Universal Interface & Information Technology Access (IT-RERC), and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, supported by the American Association of the DeafBlind (AADB) petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address long-standing quality problems with captioning for live television programming.

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TLPC Presents on Disability and Copyright at WIPO SCCR/38

(by Colleen McCroskey, Colorado Law 2L)

From left to right: TLPC Student Attorney Kevin Doss, Prof. Blake Reid, Prof. Caroline Ncube, TLPC Student Attorney John Schoppert, UCT Doctoral Candidate Charlene Musiza, UCT Post-Doctoral Researcher Desmond Oriakhogba, and TLPC Student Attorney John Schoppert

TLPC student attorneys Colleen McCroskey, Kevin Doss, and John Schoppert, along with TLPC Director Blake Reid and colleagues from the University of Cape Town, including Prof. Caroline Ncube recently presented to the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on the intersection of copyright law and disability.

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