TLPC Files Comments on Accessibility of Ride-Hailing Service Communications

Today, the TLPC filed a response on behalf of its client, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI), and a coalition of disability consumer organizations and researchers to a petition from General Motors seeking a waiver of certain FCC rules for its forthcoming ride-hailing service. The petition awaits action by the FCC.

Section 1201 Exemption for Disability Services Professionals

In 2017-2018, the TLPC, including student attorneys Sophia Galleher and John Schoppert, represented the Association of Transcribers and Speech-to-Text Providers (ATSP) before the U.S. Copyright Office’s Seventh Triennial Section 1201 Proceeding in Washington, DC. in an effort to empower disability services professionals to circumvent technological protections measures (TPMs) to provide accessible captioned and described video to students with disabilities . To do so, the Clinic argued in comments and at the hearing that  accessibility purposes were quintessential fair uses and should be the subject of an exemption from liability under Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

In late October 2018, the Copyright Office issued its Recommendation and the Librarian of Congress implemented final rules shortly thereafter, largely granting ATSP’s request, as summarized below.

Important caveat: this post is intended only as general information and does not constitute legal advice. If readers wish to utilize the new exemptions granted by the Librarian, they should consult independent legal counsel before doing so.

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Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) (Updated x2!)

Today, the TLPC filed long-form comments before the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), our client Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI), and a coalition of consumer groups and accessibility researchers. The Commission is considering updates and changes to the IP CTS program, which millions of Americans who are hard of hearing, deaf, and DeafBlind rely on to communicate on equal terms.

Update (Oct. 16): we’ve now filed two additional sets of comments, linked below.

Update (Nov. 15): we’ve filed a final set of reply comments, linked below.

Authorship and Accessibility in the Digital Age

(cross-posted from Authors Alliance)

The Internet has opened up the opportunity for creators to reach worldwide audiences. Authors can transmit digital creations in a matter of seconds by simply uploading an article or ebook, sharing a video, or posting a blog entry. But authors can reach an even wider audience if their digital creations are accessible to those with disabilities. Notwithstanding significant strides made toward making digital content more accessible over the past decade, the prevalence of inaccessible digital content continues to be problematic.

Last fall, Authors Alliance, the Silicon Flatirons Center, and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology convened a group of content creators, technologists, attorneys, academics, and advocates to discuss the role of creators in making digital works more widely accessible to people with disabilities, reported by TLPC student attorneys.

The roundtable discussion focused on the unique role authors, educators, and libraries play in making digital works accessible; the benefits, obligations, and barriers around accessibility; the availability of authoring tools that facilitate accessibility; and the gaps for digital accessibility that technology and policy might fill.

That conversation led to the creation of the report, Authorship and Accessibility in the Digital Age, which distills these topics into a concise summary of the current landscape, as well as recommendations for further action. We gratefully acknowledge the support of Authors Alliance, Silicon Flatirons Center and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology in making the roundtable and the report possible. We also thank Angel Antkers, Susan Miller, and Sophia Galleher, student attorneys in the TLPC, for their role in authoring this report; and Rob Haverty at Adobe Document Cloud for his assistance in creating an accessible PDF.

TLPC Files Three DMCA Reply Comments for Disability Services, Multimedia E-Books, and Security Research

Today the TLPC filed three reply comments to the U.S. Copyright Office as part of the seventh triennial Section 1201 proceeding. Under Section 1201 of the DMCA, parties may petition the Copyright Office every three years to create or modify exemptions when the DMCA adversely affects noninfringing activities. Opponents filed public comments in February responding to the initial long form comments filed in December.

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TLPC Files Three DMCA Comments for Disability Services, Multimedia E-Books, and Security Research

Today, TLPC student attorneys filed three long form comments with the Copyright Office as part of the seventh triennial Section 1201 proceeding. Under Section 1201 of the DMCA, parties may petition the Copyright Office every three years to create or update exemptions when the DMCA adversely affects noninfringing activities.

Sophia Galleher filed a comment to enable better access to films and other copyrighted works for people with disabilities. Susan Miller and Angel Antkers, along with colleagues at the UC Irvine Intellectual Property, Art, and Technology (IPAT) Clinic, filed a comment to enable artistic expressions like fan fiction by expanding the allowed uses of multimedia e-books. Elizabeth Field and Justin Manusov filed a comment to better protect good faith security researchers.

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International Copyright Law and Accessibility

(by Colorado Law 3Ls Gabrielle Daley, Luke Ewing, and Lindsey Knapton)

Over the past two years the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law and Policy Clinic (TLPC) has worked with Professor Caroline Ncube of the University of Cape Town and representatives of member states  of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to prepare a study on the implications of copyright law for people with disabilities around the world.

The 35th Session of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) is fast approaching. This November 13-17, representatives from member states and non-governmental organizations from around the world will gather in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss international copyright policy. During this meeting, our team will present the findings of the study we’ve spent the better part of the last year preparing. As the November meeting nears, this post discusses the work we’ve done to date.
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TLPC Files DMCA Exemption to Ease Making Video Accessible in Educational Settings

Last week, the TLPC continued its efforts to make copyrighted works more accessible to people with disabilities. On behalf of the TLPC’s client, the Association of Transcribers and Speech-to-text Providers (ATSP), as well as the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the American Library Association (ALA), and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) TLPC student attorneys Sophie Galleher, Angel Antkers, and Susan Miller filed a petition for an exemption from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that would allow disability services offices, organizations that support people with disabilities, libraries, and other units at educational institutions to circumvent technological protection measures on videos to make them accessible, including through closed and open captions and audio description. The exemption will allow disability service offices, educational institutions, and libraries to better fulfill their legal and ethical obligations to make visual media more accessible to people with disabilities. The TLPC filed the petition as part of the U.S. Copyright Office’s triennial review of exemptions from the anti-circumvention measures in Section 1201.

TLPC Testifies at Copyright Office DMCA Section 1201 Hearings

Last week, the TLPC testified at several hearings (PDF) in favor of our proposed exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We’ve linked below to various pictures and coverage of the hearing. Congratulations to the many TLPC students who took part!