Research & policy

eReader producers continue fight to avoid accessibility

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eReader manufacturers Amazon, Kobo and Sony have petitioned the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to seek  exemption from laws requiring products to be accessible to users with disabilities.

The issue for the companies centres around the 21st Century Video and Communications and Video Accessibility Act requiring any product offering ‘advanced communication services’ to be “accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities”.  However, the companies argue that their budget eReaders, including the Amazon Kindle, are used primarily just for reading, and therefore the Act should not apply. The companies argue that adding accessibility features would lead to products being more expensive, heavier and with shorter battery life.

Digital media and technology: 

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When are bad captions permitted on television?

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When a viewer complains about inadequate TV captioning Australia’s media regulator steps in to determine if the breach is excusable. We look at the regulations to see what the TV networks can get away with.

Caption quality is one of the most talked about issues among caption users. There have been advances in dealing with quality in recent years, including the incorporation of quality standards into Australian regulations with the passing of the new captioning rules and regulations in 2012.


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Virgin America found in breach of access regulations

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The Virgin America airline has been fined for failing to make its safety videos accessible for passengers who are Deaf or hearing impaired.

Under the Air Carrier Access Act, which was introduced in 1986,airlines are required to offer either open captioning or sign language interpretation on all video safety briefings. Since beginning its service in 2007, Virgin America has failed to offer either. The US Department of Transportation has fined the airline $150,000 and ordered it to cease and desist from further violations of the Act.Virgin America has agreed to add captioning by 30 September 2013.


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Print Disability Round Table: call for papers

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The Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities is now calling for presentation abstracts for its May 2014 event.

The Round Table focuses on how information can be made more available for those for whom print materials such as books and newspapers present a barrier. This includes people who are blind, vision impaired, have dyslexia or have limited dexterity.

The theme of the 2014 conference is ‘Information Access – Putting the person at the centre’. This explores how current systems and policy frameworks can be improved to put the needs of print disabled consumers first.


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