[Nfbc-info] FW: [chelas-general-chat-list] Fwd: [CCB-L] Fw: [acb-l] Mayday!--Stop Tech Lobbyists from Scuttling Accessible TV; We'll Help You Respond!

Eric Calhoun eric at pmpmail.com
Mon Jul 29 15:58:36 UTC 2013

Original Message: 
From: Chela Robles <cdrobles693 at gmail.com>
To: chelas-general-chat-list at freelists.org
Subject: [chelas-general-chat-list] Fwd: [CCB-L] Fw: [acb-l]
Mayday!--Stop Tech Lobbyists from Scuttling Accessible TV; We'll Help You
Sun, 28 Jul 2013 21:40:05 -0700


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[CCB-L] Fw: [acb-l] Mayday!--Stop Tech Lobbyists from 
Scuttling Accessible TV; We'll Help You Respond!
Date: 	Sun, 28 Jul 2013 20:11:56 -0700
From: 	Andy Baracco <wq6r at socal.rr.com>
To: 	ccb-l <ccb-l at ccbnet.org>

*From:* Mark Richert <mailto:4justice at concentric.net>
*Sent:* Sunday, July 28, 2013 4:30 PM
*To:* acb-l at acb.org <mailto:acb-l at acb.org>
*Subject:* [acb-l] Mayday!--Stop Tech Lobbyists from Scuttling 
Accessible TV; We'll Help You Respond!
AFB DirectConnect Letterhead

*Mayday! Mayday!
Tech Industry Lobbyists Threatening Future of Accessible Television!
With One Email, Tell Them and the FCC What You Think!

!!!"This is not a test; this is an actual emergency"!!!

For further information, contact:*

*Mark Richert, Esq.
Director, Public Policy, AFB
(202) 469-6833
MRichert at afb.net <mailto:mrichert at afb.net>*

Dear Advocate:

When we all celebrated the enactment of the historic Twenty-First 
Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) almost three 
years ago, we were promised by our bipartisan champions on Capitol Hill, 
by the U.S. Congress, and the President of the United States, that one 
day, things would be significantly different. We were promised that the 
experience of people with vision loss in terms of our/their independence 
and full participation in American life through the full and fair use of 
today's most ubiquitous technologies would be forever changed.

We were thrilled to know that there would be much more video description 
available on TV, and indeed today there is. We were gratified to know 
that the manufacturers and service providers of some of the most 
commonly used communications technologies, such as electronic messaging 
and mobile phone web browsing, would no longer be able to ignore the 
needs of people who are blind or visually impaired. And we were hopeful 
that emergency alerts would finally be meaningful for our community, and 
it looks like they will be.

But we were also promised, and the new law requires, that TVs and 
TV-like equipment would need to be fully accessible to us. Now, in what 
is essentially the proverbial eleventh hour in the series of federal 
regulatory proceedings implementing the CVAA, the seemingly shameless 
consumer electronics lobby is demanding, with implied threats to go to 
court if they don't get their way, to strip the CVAA of its TV 
accessibility obligations and to violate the vision of a more accessible 
technology society that the CVAA represents.

So what do our tech lobbyist "friends" want?

Well, to answer this question, you need to know just a little bit about 
how the CVAA works. the CVAA says that your cable or satellite provider 
needs to make the equipment, the settop boxes and other such devices 
they give you to get their programming, accessible to you upon your 
request. While this is a good thing in comparison to how things have 
been, it is a compromise, and one that advocates reached with cable and 
similar providers as a condition for their willingness to allow the CVAA 
to become law. So, with regard to cable and satellite providers, they 
don't necessarily need to make all, or even most, of their equipment 
accessible as a matter of course; they merely have to accommodate your 
request for equipment you can use by providing you with something, even 
if it is not state-of-the-art.

In contrast, the CVAA requires that TVs and TV-like equipment, 
essentially anything that receives or plays back video programming of 
any kind, a ton of very cool technology out there, must be accessible by 
default; TVs and TV-like equipment will only be allowed to be 
inaccessible in a given instance if, and only if, fairly strict legal 
exceptions apply. This means that, unlike the cable and satellite sector 
which may regularly traffic in inaccessible equipment so long as they 
can ultimately give us something we can use upon our request, makers of 
TVs and TV-like equipment are charged with the clear responsibility to 
fundamentally change their behavior in a way that would exponentially 
increase the commercial retail availability of the accessible and most 
popular video-related consumer electronics on the market.

Ok, but what are those lobbyists up to?

With forked-tongued craftiness, the consumer electronics lobby is, even 
as we speak, assuring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of 
industry's commitment to the needs of people with disabilities while, 
without blushing, propounding some of the most contorted legal reasoning 
that we have seen yet. They are using the full weight of their 
over-indulged influence to pressure the FCC into applying the inferior, 
more limited cable and satellite requirements to TVs and TV-like

If these "friends" of ours in the tech lobby get their way, rather than 
being able to shop for the digital TV or other video player you want and 
to have a robust array of choices just like everyone else, you will be 
forced to beg for an accessible product directly from the manufacturer. 
Rather than being able to enjoy the product you want to buy, you may 
even be expected to live with an inferior model, if you can get an 
accessible inferior model at all. Why are the tech lobbyists proposing 
this manifestly unfair arrangement? quite simply, their scheme would let 
their client companies off the hook for doing the right thing but leave 
consumers with little recourse.

What can you do?

Right now, the FCC is accepting comments from the public about how to 
implement the CVAA's TV and cable and satellite equipment requirements. 
AFB will help you voice your concern if you will take just a moment or 
two and write your thoughts in an email to us; AFB will file your 
comments for you. No, AFB's name will not be on your comments; your 
comments will be your own. We are simply offering to make the process as 
easy for you as possible because this issue is so uniquely critical.

The FCC's electronic comment filing system is not the easiest system to 
use, and any comments filed need to include certain technical legal 
references. Send an email to:

TV at afb.net <mailto:TV at afb.net>

We will be glad to add the technical pro forma details for you and to 
submit your comments on your behalf for the official record.

So what exactly do you need to do?

All you need to do to help get things back on the right track is the 

1: Write an email of whatever length you wish stating in polite but 
pointed fashion that begging for an accessible TV or similar equipment 
directly from a manufacturer is categorically unacceptable to you. Tell 
the FCC that it was the obvious intention of Congress, and it is the 
expectation of people who are blind or visually impaired across America, 
that accessible TVs and TV-like equipment will be readily and regularly 
available at commercial retail stores. Remind the FCC that the so-called 
"upon request" compromise that we reached with the cable and satellite 
industries neither involved the consumer electronics lobby at the time 
nor applies to their client companies now. Tell the FCC that people with 
vision loss will not stand for the consumer electronics lobby's proposed 
gutting of one of the most popular and important parts of the CVAA. Tell 
the FCC your own story of frustrations trying to simply adjust the 
volume or channels on your equipment, to simply play a show or movie, to 
find and activate your TV's video description controls, and to otherwise 
make full use of your TV or TV-like equipment.

2: At the conclusion of the text of your email, be absolutely certain to 
type your first and last name, followed by your regular mailing address. 
When we properly format and file your comments, the FCC needs to know 
that you are a real person, and your comments must be accompanied by 
more than your email address; they must include a regular identifying 
mailing address. It is up to you to decide which of the addresses that 
you might be associated with you want to use, a home, work, or some 
other appropriate address. So long as your email includes both your full 
name and a real related address, your comments will be accepted as part 
of the official record. Don't worry about anything else; we will be sure 
to fill out the rest of the required information, such as the docket 
number for this proceeding and similar formalities.

3: Between now and Monday, August 5, send your email to:

TV at afb.net <mailto:TV at afb.net>

and simply begin the text of your email with the greeting, "To whom it 
may concern." A simple "Sincerely" or "Respectfully" at the conclusion 
of your message and before your full name and address will be fine.

Once we receive your email, we will properly format it and submit it to 
the FCC. The deadline for all comments is Wednesday, August 7. However, 
given that we hope and expect that we will receive a considerable number 
of comments, please send us your email comments no later than Monday, 
August 5 or as soon as you possibly can.

Thank you in advance for your advocacy, keep hope alive, and please 
share this call to action widely.

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