[nfbmi-talk] FW: [Writers] CVAA Stuff

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Fri Jan 31 17:57:29 UTC 2014

Right on! Also goes to our right to recieve information in accessable 
formats from our own government including BSBOP!

But, I digress....

Thanks Fred for this rightfully militant post!

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Fred Wurtzel" <f.wurtzel at att.net>
To: "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, January 31, 2014 12:51 PM
Subject: [nfbmi-talk] FW: [Writers] CVAA Stuff

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Writers 
> [mailto:writers-bounces at explorations-in-creative-writing.com]
> On Behalf Of Chris Hofstader
> Sent: Friday, January 31, 2014 11:52 AM
> To: Explorations in Creative Writing
> Subject: [Writers] CVAA Stuff
> Hi,
> If you don't already know about the 21st Century Video and Communication
> Accessibility Act of 2010, known more conveniently as CVAA and you have a
> disability of any kind, you should take a look at the legislation. CVAA is
> the single most important piece of civil rights legislation regarding
> technological accessibility on Earth.
> On Tuesday, the US FCC, the agency charged with making the rules for
> enforcing CVAA, ruled that Amazon and Sony can have an exemption to the
> accessibility requirements for their lower end book readers (devices like
> the $99 Kindle book reader). This is equivalent to allowing Amazon to 
> refuse
> to sell devices to any other identifiable group like black people, women,
> gay people or any other group. This is Barak Obama's corrupt FCC allowing
> Amazon to hang the 21st century version of a "whites only" sign on these
> products.
> What makes matters even more outrageous is that Amazon has been making 
> book
> readers that are accessible at least to people with print impairments who
> can hear (they never added braille support for our deaf-blind friends) 
> since
> 2009. Amazon's petition to FCC suggested they had technical limitations
> which, of course, was a lie. Amazon doesn't want blind people to have 
> access
> to cheap book readers because they do not want blind people to have access
> to their copy protected books. Today, you can go to BestBuy or the Amazon
> web site or countless other consumer electronics outlets and buy an Amazon
> book reader for about $70. Unfortunately, as a blind person, you are only
> allowed to read books out of copyright (great books, Moby Dick, Tale of 
> Two
> Cities, The Rights of Man, etc.) or books by publishers who explicitly 
> allow
> Amazon to turn off the copy protection for readers with disabilities
> (O'Reilly publishing gives all of its content in publication quality files
> to Bookshare for instance but how many blind people care to read serious
> texts about engineering issues?). Thus, blind people who want to get one 
> of
> these low cost devices are screwed out of 98% of all Kindle content. Yes, 
> we
> can use Kindle on our iOS devices but the Windows, Android, GNU/Linux and
> Macintosh versions only allow for books out of copyright or under special
> agreement with the publisher.
> Next week, I will be publishing a blog article that reminds blind readers
> that, according to Library of Congress, the federal agency tasked with
> providing reading materials to people with print impairments as well as
> enforcing copyright law has ruled that blind people like us can legally
> crack any copy protection that prevents us from accessing any reading
> materials whatsoever. I will include a link to download a Kindle crack
> directly from my web site.
> I will also be encouraging blind and other readers with print impairment 
> to
> take illegal action as a form of civil disobedience. I believe the right 
> to
> read is absolute, there is nothing that people with vision impairment 
> should
> be prevented from reading and that this right trumps the rights of 
> copyright
> holders to enforce copy protection. I will ask my readers to get their 
> hands
> on as much Kindle content as they can find and release it all with the 
> copy
> protection removed for anyone on Earth to read for free.
> I can't think of any other way our community can punish Amazon for taking
> direct action to enforce a level of discrimination against our community. 
> If
> Amazon insists that a segregationist policy is appropriate, they have 
> taken
> an immoral position and, must, therefore, be punished for this action.
> Imagine, if Amazon said they would refuse to sell content to a racial
> minority, I'd expect that their building would already be on fire. If it 
> was
> women against whom they were enforcing segregation, there would be 10,000
> feminists blocking the doors to their offices. When the screw over the 
> blind
> community, the government (FCC in this case) permits them to do so and 
> most
> blind people just shrug and say, "accessibility has always sucked, why
> should we expect change ever?"
> So, I'm taking it upon myself to lead as large a civil disobedience action
> by people with print impairments ever. I'll be releasing a pointer to an
> illegal database (with really nice search facility including good access 
> to
> metadata) with about 150 gigabytes of books that have already been 
> liberated
> by blind people. This database is hosted outside of the US, all
> communication to and from it goes through Tor so is mostly untraceable and
> certainly untraceable by any agency tasked with something as minor as a
> civil copyright infraction.
> In the US, we blind people enjoy the Chafee amendment, the law that gives 
> a
> copyright exemption to groups like Bookshare, RFB&D, NLS, etc. As I 
> believe
> the right to read is absolute, I also want to make all of the books
> available to all people with print impairment in the world, regardless of
> their local laws. Yes, this is illegal and, if AG holder comes after me as
> heavily as he did Aaron Schwartz for what was also a massive copyright
> violation, I can technically be thrown into federal prison.
> As cracking copy protection is, as I mention above, perfectly legal in the
> US and as our first amendment protects free speech, I may not actually be
> breaking an US laws as I'm not hosting or giving away the copyrighted
> materials, I'm just encouraging people to take civil action against Amazon
> which is protected free speech.
> I've already been offered the services of the amazing lawyer, Eben Moglen
> (his resume is awesome, look him up on Wikipedia for the details). Eben is
> the founder of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) based at Columbia
> University where he is a fully tenured professor. While he's highly
> confident I won't run into any actual legal problems, he has offered me 
> his
> personal services plus those of SFLC and what he describes as an "army" of
> Ivy League law students just in case Amazon decides to harass me with 
> bogus
> but potentially expensive legal claims.
> One bit of Eben's history, after he clerked for Thurgood Marshall and went
> to work teaching at Columbia, he filed the first ever Internet 
> accessibility
> lawsuit. He's not only a software freedom and civil rights guy, he has
> specific experience in working on legal issues with blind clients.
> So, that's what I'm rocking on this week.
> HH,
> cdh
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