AFB Celebrates DMCA Exemption
janina at rednote.net
Tue Nov 4 16:46:28 EST 2003
Librarian of Congress ruling is victory for people who are blind or visually impaired
American Foundation for the Blind celebrates improved access to eBooks
November 4, 2003 (Washington)--The Librarian of Congress issued a ruling last week supporting the right of people who are blind or visually impaired
to gain full access to electronic books (eBooks). The ruling provides an exemption to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act DMCA), making it
to circumvent any encrypted or protected features that render the text inaccessible for the specialized computer technologies used by people who are
blind or visually impaired to read electronic text.
"This ruling upholds the fundamental right to read for all people," said Carl Augusto, President of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). "The
emerging electronic book technologies have the potential to make published information more accessible and usable to people who are blind or visually
impaired. By removing barriers to utilizing eBooks, the Library ensured all people can continue to enjoy the benefits of progress."
This ruling is the result of a concerted advocacy effort by AFB to bring this issue to the attention of the Librarian of Congress. AFB originally
requested the exemption in December 2002, and later provided testimony and evidence to show that approximately 50 percent of currently published
eBooks are inaccessible for people who are blind and visually impaired.
"This is a major victory, but there is more work to do," continued Augusto. "AFB will continue to work with Congress, the Librarian and publishers to
ensure future titles are fully accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired."
DMCA, which became U.S. law in 1998, makes it a felony to develop or use technology to get around security provisions of various classes of
intellectual property including software, ebooks, DVD movies and audio, among others.
The Librarians ruling provides an exemption for: "Literary works distributed in eBook format when all existing eBook editions of the work (including
digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling of the eBook's read-aloud function and
the enabling of screen readers to render the text into a specialized format."
Additional information about the DMCA and on this ruling, including copies of all testimony, can be found on line at, www.copyright.gov/1201/.
212-502-7674 or cfernandez at afb.net
Or use traditional mail services:
American Foundation for the Blind
11 Penn Plaza
New York, NY, 10001, USA
Email: janina at rednote.net
Phone: (202) 408-8175
Director, Technology Research and Development
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
Chair, Accessibility Work Group
Free Standards Group
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