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Showing posts from January, 2014

Fighting Accessibility Weaseling by Amazon et al, Victory!

Last September, I wrote a Beneblog post: Objecting to Accessibility Weaseling, about Amazon and other ebook reader makers trying to dodge out on making their devices accessible. This is an update on that fight. 

It's always been highly ironic to me that the most natural buyers of ebooks, people with disabilities that make regular print useless, are constantly blocked in getting digital content that will talk to them, show up enlarged or in Braille!  So, last year, Benetech joined with the National Federation of the Blind and over twenty other groups that care about consumers with disabilities to object to an attempt by Amazon and their competitors to secure a permanent exemption from accessibility requirement for many of the ebook readers.

Something that particularly bothered the advocates was Amazon's dropping features already in their basic ebook readers in what looked like an attempt to get out of accessibility requirements.

This week, in an important decision by the FCC,

The Case for Copyright Exceptions and Fair Use

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The next time you set your digital device of choice to record your favorite show so you can watch it whenever you want, take a moment to be thankful that you’re protected from lawsuits from the entertainment industry. For on January 17, 1984, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that consumers could tape their favorite TV shows and watch them later without the copyright holder’s consent. Such action, the Court decided, didn’t constitute copyright infringement because it was fair use, that is, a limitation and exception to the exclusive rights granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work.

This ruling by the Supreme Court in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984), also known as the “Betamax case”, is a landmark copyright precedent that has had enormous implications for the media economy. It affected every step of the evolution of digital media—from the VCR to the digital video recorder to YouTube. It also underscores just how cri…