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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Fair Use and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

(by Angel Antkers & Susan Miller, Colorado Law 2Ls—cross-posted from the Authors Alliance blog)

The fair use doctrine allows the unlicensed, unpermissioned use of a copyrighted work in certain situations. It functions, in part, to safeguard First Amendment interests in freedom of speech. But as the world moves toward more digital authorship and online content, fair use is encountering various obstacles.

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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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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 Files DMCA Exemption Renewal for Security Research

(by Elizabeth Field and Justin Manusov, Student Attorneys)

TLPC Files DMCA Exemption Renewal

This week, TLPC student attorneys Elizabeth Field and Justin Manusov filed a petition with the Copyright Office to better protect good faith security researchers. The petition, along with another filed earlier this summer, seeks to renew and modify an exemption from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which prohibits circumvention of technological access controls (such as digital rights management (DRM)) to copyrighted material. The modification specifically seeks to limit the potential risk of liability that good faith security researchers face in their work to protect consumers from security breaches and other harm. The TLPC filed the comment on behalf of the TLPC’s clients Prof. Ed Felten and Prof. J. Alex Halderman, who are both computer scientists whose research includes computer security and privacy.

TLPC Files DMCA Exemption Renewal and Expansion Petition for Multimedia E-Books

This week, TLPC student attorneys Sophie Galleher, Angel Antkers, and Susan Miller filed with our colleagues at the UC Irvine Intellectual Property, Art, and Technology (IPAT) Clinic a petition with the Copyright Office seeking to expand an exemption from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for nonfiction multimedia e-books offering film analysis. The petition asks to modify the exemption to include fictional multimedia e-books, multimedia e-books on subjects other than film analysis, and removing the limitations that refer to screen-capture technology.  The TLPC and UC IPAT team filed the petition on behalf of the TLPC’s client, Authors Alliance, as well as Professor Bobette Buster and the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) as part of the U.S. Copyright Office’s triennial review of exemptions from the anti-circumvention measures in Section 1201. 

Last Week in Tech Policy #47: W3C and EME—Is DRM Being Inserted in Your Web Browser?

(By Lucas Ewing, Colorado Law 2L)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international organization whose goal is to set standards for the World Wide Web. Due to W3C’s highly technical subject matter, internal discussions rarely broach the public discourse, but recently, open internet advocates and some W3C members have expressed concern over plans to endorse Encrypted Media Extensions (EMEs).

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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!