Accessibility Excitement in Geneva

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

This is totally the “how sausage and law are made” view, so don’t read this unless you want to know more about global accessibility in detail! WIPO has a mandate from its member states, and is working to address the need to change laws and get more accessible books flowing.

The Case for Copyright Exceptions and Fair Use

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

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. It also underscores just how critical a balanced copyright law is for technology innovation.

Accessible eBooks for Equal Opportunity

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

One of their main challenges is that they do not have adequate access to educational materials that are necessary to learn and succeed in school. Accessible ebooks and Bookshare have helped sixth grader Kevin Leong overcome his reading challenges.

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Fair Use Victory Advances a Future of Accessibility for All

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

HathiTrust, a unanimous three-judge panel concluded that digitizing books in order to enhance research and provide access to individuals with print disabilities is lawful on the grounds of fair use —that is, a limitation and exception to the exclusive rights granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work ( Section 107 of the U.S. copyright law). In September 2011, the Authors Guild sued the HathiTrust, alleging massive copyright violations.

The Road to Accessibility without Borders: Celebrating the One-Year Anniversary of the Marrakesh Treaty

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

One year ago, on June 28, 2013, at a diplomatic conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, the World Intellectual Property Organization ( WIPO ) agreed on a historic international copyright exception for people with print disabilities.

Reply Comments on the Proposed Treaty for Access to Copyrighted Works

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

We filed the following comments to the Copyright Office's request for comments on issues about access for people with print disabilities. December 4, 2009 Benetech’s Reply Comments in response to the Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry and Request for Comments on the Topic of Facilitating Access to Copyrighted Works for the Blind or Other Persons With Disabilities The issue all comes down to human rights vs. money. And access doesn’t happen.

Copyright treaty in Geneva Advances!

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Bookshare pretty much has been made possible by the Chafee Amendment, a copyright exception provision in U.S. During the meeting in Geneva, there was worrisome rhetoric coming from the advocacy community, like the Boing Boing post USA, Canada and the EU attempt to kill treaty to protect blind people's access to written material. Copyright treaty backing e-books for disabled readers survives US and EU resistance | OUT-LAW.COM WIPO Limitations & Exceptions Treaty Advances.

Upholding The Social Bargain: Bookshare and Copyright Compliance

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

copyright law. The Section 121 copyright exception (often known as the Chafee Amendment after the Senator who introduced it in 1996) makes it possible for Benetech to scan just about any book and make it available to this community. The publishing industry and disability organizations both agreed on this provision of copyright law. The deal was: help people with disabilities that can't access books and don't hurt the economic interests of the publishers (and authors).

Bringing Millions of Books to Billions of People: Making the Book Truly Accessible

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Literacy and access to knowledge underpins just about every social good, from education, to economic development, to health, to women’s empowerment, democracy and respect for human rights. To bring the power of books to everybody on this planet, we must make books truly accessible.

Increasing Accessible Publishing Globally

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Plenary Talk at the Eighth General Assembly of the World Blind Union Access to published information is an essential requirement for education, employment and full social inclusion. People with vision impairments and other print disabilities deserve equal access to that treasure of information. In my talk, I highlighted three global movements towards increasing accessible publishing. What can we do today to build that accessible future?

Breakthrough on Global Access at WIPO in Geneva!

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

There has been a major breakthrough recently on international copyright negotiations in Geneva around improved access for people who have print disabilities. Answer : • Countries should provide for a copyright exception in their national laws to allow nonprofit organizations serving people with disabilities to make accessible versions of inaccessible books and other content • Import and export of such accessible materials shall be permitted 2.

Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights at WIPO

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

I'm here in Geneva for the 20th Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights meeting. This is the international forum for discussing copyright issues, and it is the body considering the Treaty for the Visually Impaired (TVI).

Mass Market Accessible Books

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

We take their files and convert them to the DAISY format which is a digital format designed specifically to create accessible materials for people with print disabilities. We're excited about this trend and the opportunities it creates for the commercial availability of mass market accessible books. Because Bookshare is only available for people who qualify under a very narrow copyright exemption. We've worked with O'Reilly Media for a long time.

Making the Book Truly Accessible for All Students

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

This includes accessible educational materials, such as e-books that can be used with computers, or mobile devices that display enlarged text or read the book aloud while also highlighting text. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) selected our successful Bookshare library as the provider of accessible materials to every student in the U.S. with a legally qualifying print disability per the Chafee Amendment to the Copyright Act.

Bookshare to Convert Open Content Textbooks to Accessible Formats

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Our new announcement about the Department granting Bookshare supplemental funding to convert open content textbooks to accessible formats went over very well. We're promising to do highly accessible versions of 80 open content textbooks. Accessibility is a huge asset of open content materials, which are frequently released under the Creative Commons licenses and are freely distributable. Since they are open, we can get them and do the adaptations for accessibility.

Our WIPO Statement on the Treaty for Access for People with Disabilities

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Statement of Benetech to the 22nd Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights at the World Intellectual Property Organization June 15, 2011, Geneva, Switzerland • Greetings from California’s Silicon Valley! Now, more than 30,000 current copyrighted books are available globally on Bookshare to thousands of users. • SCCR22 publishers blind copyright copyfight SCCR Authors Guild limitations Bookshare WIPO exceptions

Accessibility and ACTA

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Brief Comments on Accessibility Concerns on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) The disability community should be concerned about ACTA for two reasons: At its core it’s an anti-piracy agreement. The digital measures designed to defeat piracy usually end up equating accessibility with piracy. We don’t know if it’s benign or hostile to accessibility.

Social DRM: It’s About Equal Access for All

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Our commitment is to provide access to books for those who are unable to read a traditional print format and to do so without harming the economic interests of authors and publishers. You can read much more about this in Jim Fruchterman’s blog post, “Upholding the Social Bargain: Bookshare and Copyright Compliance.” However, strong DRM turns out to be an impediment to the commercial distribution of accessible ebooks.

What is in the Treaty of Marrakesh?

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

have been asking about the Treaty of Marrakesh (formal name: The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities. Although it might seem like a complicated document , we’re really excited about it because we think it will greatly improve global access for people with bona fide print disabilities. First, it makes creating a national domestic copyright exception an obligation of countries that ratify the Treaty.

Commercial Availability: The Poison Pill for Marrakesh Treaty Implementation

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

That’s the lobbying position of some companies in the intellectual property field when implementing the new Marrakesh Copyright Treaty. Libraries for people who are blind or dyslexic are the primary source of accessible books in audio, large print or braille. Wouldn’t it make more sense to make it easier for people with disabilities to get access to the books they need for education and employment? We simply act to ensure the person who needs an accessible book can get it.

Towards Global Access for the Print Disabled

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

A Policy Update from an engineer, Jim Fruchterman of Benetech June 8, 2010 The international copyright negotiations in Geneva around a proposed Treaty for the Visually Impaired (“TVI”) have been steadily heating up. The Goal The goal is pretty clear: insuring that every person on the planet with a serious print disability has access to the books and other printed material that they need to get an education, make a living and be included in society.

The Struggle for Book Access (Blog Post #1)

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

I think it’s time to write a series of short essays on the struggle for accessible books, starting with this brouhaha. The essence of the Soundproof Book essay was the dueling moral high grounds: author’s rights vs. the right to access. Thanks to a legion of people who care about usability and access, ebooks have more and more enabled great flexibility in presentation. Tags: Kindle Kindle2 Authors Guild copyfight copyright blind NFB

Benetech's Statement to the Treaty Delegates in Marrakech

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Our library is made possible both by a domestic copyright exception that makes it possible for us to add any book requested by a blind person to our library, as well as strong cooperation with publishers who provide many of their books directly to our library for free, including the rights to serve people in certain other countries. Help us see that people with disabilities get the access they need for education, employment and full social inclusion!

Lawsuit over denying access to a student with learning disabilities

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

We're up to more than 125,000 users, with over 95,000 books available, and our users are now accessing content at a rate of more than million downloads per year! That's why it's painful to hear about disputes over denying students with very real print disabilities access to these resources. I've recently been corresponding with a mother whose son's school district seems to be suing them to deny access to accessible material.

Austria conference on access technology

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

This is an academic conference on access technology, full of researchers trying out new things that will help people with disabilities. My first day was hanging out at the Young Researchers seminar, which was organized by Professors Paul Blenkhorn (the UK's first professor of access tech) and the ICCHP host Klaus Miesenberger. The goal is to get more people working to make this happen: getting access tech to every person in the world who needs it.

Receiving the 2013 Migel Medal

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

The book famine may be receding here in the United States with Bookshare and the increasing advent of universally designed and accessible ebooks, but globally we have only scratched the surface of the need. That treaty should replicate the successful copyright exception here in the U.S. that made Bookshare possible, by putting the power to make accessible books into the hands of blind people in far more countries of the world.

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Guest Post: Collections Access - Open the Door Wider

Museum 2.0

are well versed in new ideas for audience engagement and committed to opening up their institutions to increase public access. Can collections access be a way to entice new audiences? I stirred up a debate by raising the question “why not allow access?”

Poisoning the Treaty for the Blind

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

The goal of the treaty is to make it possible for people who are blind, or have other print disabilities, to get access to the books they need for education, employment and inclusion in society--no matter where they live. Early versions of the treaty embodied this principle, and in addition, would ease the international transfer of accessible books for people with disabilities. We are at a point where accessibility can and should be the default mode for all books.

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Why Your Country Should Ratify the Marrakesh Treaty

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Access to information and knowledge is a basic human right and a necessary first step towards personal, economic, and social development. It does so by making it legal under copyright to create accessible books without needing to seek permission or (in most countries) paying a royalty.

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The Struggle for Book Access: Amazon (Blog Post #2)

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

And that is setting back the cause of people with disabilities who need that kind of access. We have an action by Amazon that sets back years of work to make ebooks accessible. A recent example of this was web site accessibility. Recently Target settled out of court with the National Federation of the Blind about its accessible website after Target suffered a couple of reverses in the court case against them. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act ("DMCA") workaround.

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Why We're Blacking Out Sites: PIPA and SOPA

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Copyright hawks like Rupert Murdoch and the MPAA have attacked this movement as being for piracy, against jobs, and dangerous. Make no mistake, we are for the Internet, we are for jobs, we are for legal access to content, and we are for human rights and freedom of speech.

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We Have a Treaty…and It’s Great!

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

I’ve been actively advocating for an international copyright exception model that would greatly benefit people with disabilities, as anyone who has read my blog over the years can attest! copyright exception.

Congressional Testimony Statement before the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

In my prepared statement, I explained why well-balanced intellectual property laws inspire technology innovation and social good, and described how our Bookshare initiative models the good that copyright exceptions can create. To make this possible, we must keep the balance in copyright.

Accessible Flash? Maybe | Beaconfire Wire

Beaconfire Wire

Maybe Posted Thursday, March 20th, 2008 at 2:44 pm by Marissa (33 posts) Whenever someone wants to build an accessible Web site, I always try to conceive the design from the simplest elements on up, rather than most complicated pieces on down. Yes, I know you can make Flash accessible. But if you’re not ready to give up your Flash application or your site’s accessibility, you still have some options. Share and Enjoy: Categories: Accessibility.

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President’s Update: Fall 2013

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

We know, however, that we’ve only scratched the surface of meeting the global need for access to books and information. If giving disabled vets the gift of accessible reading resonates with you, I would definitely appreciate anything you can do to support our cause.

Donor Spotlight: Lavelle Fund for the Blind

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Twelve years ago, the Fund made its first grant to Benetech, in support of the then newly launched Bookshare , our accessible online library for people with disabilities that get in the way of reading print, including visual impairments and dyslexia.

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Breaking News on the Global Treaty from Kareem Dale

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

The following is the email I received from Kareem Dale in its entirety (and I have his permission to distribute it): Access to information and ideas is essential for personal and professional growth and full engagement in a democratic society. But engagement can be severely limited when information is not available in accessible formats. We are committed to furthering international efforts to enhance the access to copyrighted materials.

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10X: CEO’s Update: Spring 2014

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Technology currently serves privileged groups through tools that provide access to education, literacy, health, and justice. Canadians with disabilities will now have access to Bookshare through their public libraries and the Canadian National Institute of the Blind.

Make an Accessible Web Site anywhere with WebAnywhere | Beaconfire Wire

Beaconfire Wire

But organizations small and large are often limited by time, software, and/or budget when it comes to making Web sites that are accessible, especially for the blind community using screen readers. Share and Enjoy: Categories: Accessibility , Cool Tools and Tips.

Advancing Reading Equality with Bookshare’s Exponential Growth

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

I’m thrilled to share with you some of the recent amazing impact of Bookshare , a Benetech Global Literacy initiative and the largest accessible online library of copyrighted content for people with print disabilities. students with visual impairments, physical disabilities, and severe learning disabilities like dyslexia, but we also serve international members in nearly 50 countries and are working to extend Bookshare’s reach to veterans who need access to books and information.

Great reads from around the web on October 18th

Amy Sample Ward

And where you stand on the discussion of copyright, digital rights, online content sharing and intellectual property? have been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people's names and, in some cases, their friends' names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found." I come across so many great conversations, ideas, and resources all over the web every day.

Some of My Favorite Accessibility Testing Tools | Beaconfire Wire

Beaconfire Wire

It’s fairly easy to code a site that passes tests like the one found at The HiSoftware Company CynthiaSays portal (a very popular and accurate accessibility test) but that is still utterly unusable by someone using a screenreader, unable to use a mouse, suffering color blindness or any other disability that means they are using your site in any number of different ways. has provided some incredibly useful tools and wizards to help build and test accessible Web sites.

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Bookshare’s Status as an Authorized Entity under Section 121

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Section 121 of the Copyright Act, also known as the Chafee Amendment (17 U.S.C. Together, these facts should be helpful for educational institutions and their legal counsel in permitting institutions to avail themselves of the services funded by the Department of Education, and to be comfortable with the legality of those services under copyright law. Tags: copyright blind Bookshare Chafee Section 121) , defines a special class of organizations known as authorized entities.