Public Knowledge has asked the U.S. Copyright Office to recommend a global policy that allows blind or visually handicapped people to use technology to read electronic material that is otherwise protected by digital rights management (DRM).
Normally, works are converted into formats that can be used by visually handicapped, such as Braille or large type, after the work is published. Those methods are expensive and only delay the availability of material. PK noted that another approach, adaptive technologies—hardware or software products that convert characters that appear on a computer screen into accessible formats like Braille displays, digital speech, or enlarged text — could shorten the time lag and make more material available.
In the U.S., the Copyright Office has acknowledged that digital protections can be circumvented, and PK, in comments filed with the Copyright Office, recommended that policy be extended worldwide.
“This is clearly a case in which circumvention of digital rights management is necessary if a significantly large group of people are to be able to have access to a significantly large selection of material,” said Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge.
PK's comments are here.
A blog post on the topic by our attorney Rashmi Rangnath is here.
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.