Of Cows, Captions and Copyright: Users Need the Right to Caption and Subtitle Videos for Access and Learning

Claude AlmansiBy Claude Almansi
Editor, Accessibility Issues

Disclaimer | Digesting grass | Digesting videos | Video and text | Read-Write culture and tools | Universal Subtitles | Copyright hits the fan | Lessig’s plea | Other obstacles |Solution?

Disclaimer

Non scientists should refrain from using scientific concepts as metaphors. I am fully aware of this, and actually, when a sociologist or other humanistic scholar thus hijacks terms or phrases like “black hole,” “big bang,” “DNA,”  etc., I skip his/her text if possible.

Nevertheless, what little I understand of how the cellulase enzyme works for ruminants has been very instrumental  in my first perception of how captioning videos helps all users digest their content, and underlies what I have written here so far about captioning. Hence the decision to come out explicitly with this subjective and uninformed perception of  it.

Digesting grass

Cows can digest and assimilate the grass cellulose because they ruminate it, but not only: humans could  chew and re-chew grass for hours and hours, yet they would still excrete its cellulose whole without assimilating any because we lack  something cows have: the cellulase enzyme that chops up the molecules of cellulose into sugar types so that they can be assimilated Continue reading

ICE’s Seizures of Domain Names Concern Us All

Claude AlmansiBy Claude Almansi
Editor, Accessibility Issues

‘Operation in Our Sites II’ – Out of Sight for the Blind was about the inaccessibility for the blind and for people with print disabilities,  of the notices  added to the sites that were seized by ICE in the last week of November: because accessibility is what I write about here, normally and because this crass violation of the very first principle of accessibility  was so odd, from a US government’s agency, that it suggested a hoax or a parody.

Conquest Of Constantinople By The Crusaders In 1204

However,  make no mistakes these seizures concern us all, and particularly educators. As Hartwig Thomas pointed out in
US-Attacke auf das System der Domänen-Namen (my translation):

…One consequence [of the seizures] is that average users must now learn about the concepts of IP addresses and domain names, in order to keep control of what happens with them (…).

Continue reading

‘Operation In Our Sites II’ – Out of Sight for the Blind

Claude AlmansiBy Claude Almansi
Editor, Accessibility Issues

[Note: On Cyber Monday, Operation In Our Sites II, a coordinated effort of the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division, the Department of Homeland Security, and nine U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, “obtained and executed seizure orders against 82 domain names of websites engaged in the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and illegal copyrighted works.” It specifically “targeted online retailers of a diverse array of counterfeit goods, including sports equipment, shoes, handbags, athletic apparel, sunglasses, and illegal copies of DVDs, music and software” (USDOJ). In her letter below to the Justice Department, Claude Almansi, Educational Technology and Change Journal associate administrator and editor for accessibility issues, points out that “the seizure notices added to the sites seized in ‘Operation In Our Sites II’  are surprisingly inaccessible to people who must use a screen reader because they are blind or have other print disabilities.” -js]

from: Claude Almansi <claude.almansi@gmail.com>
to: askdoj@usdoj.gov
cc: Webmaster.ICE@dhs.gov,
webmaster@usdoj.gov,
James N Shimabukuro <jamess@hawaii.edu>
date: Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 11:29 PM
subject: Accessibility issue with the seizure notices of “Operation In Our Sites II”

I am associate administrator and editor for accessibility issues at Educational Technology and Change Journal (1) and am thinking of writing a piece on “Operation In Our Sites II”, described by Attorney General Eric Holder and ICE’s Director John Morton in their Nov. 29, 2010 press conference (2).

In view of the US government’s commitment to digital accessibility as per Section 508 of ADA, evidenced for instance in the joint letter about the accessibility of e-book readers  sent last to the presidents of US universities and colleges by the US Departments of Justice and of Education last Summer (3), the seizure notices added to the sites seized in “Operation In Our Sites II” (4) are surprisingly inaccessible to people who must use a screen reader because they are blind or have other print disabilities.

Image of text used without alternative description on the homepage of the seized sites Continue reading