Human rights coalition from the global south to W3C: don't put DRM in web standards!

The Just Net Coalition -- whose membership roll includes leading human rights organisations from across the global south -- have written urgently to the World Wide Web Coalition and its founder, Tim Berners-Lee, calling on him to intervene to stop the Consortium from publishing its first-ever DRM standard, a system for restricting video streams called Encrypted Media Extensions. Read the rest

Britons! Ask the W3C to protect disabled access, security research, archiving and innovation from DRM

With two days to go until the close of the World Wide Web Consortium members' poll on finalising DRM and publishing it as an official web standard, the UK Open Rights Group is asking Britons to write to the Consortium and its founder, Tim Berners-Lee, to advocate for a much-needed, modest compromise that would protect the open web from the world's bizarre, awful, overreaching DRM laws. Read the rest

Unesco warns the World Wide Web Consortium that DRM is incompatible with free expression

Unesco's Frank La Rue has published a letter to Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium, warning him of the grave free-speech consequences of making DRM for the web without ensuring that lawful activity that requires bypassing it is also protected. Read the rest

UC Berkeley nuked 20,000 Creative Commons lectures, but they're not going away

A ruling about a DC university held that posting course videos to the open web without subtitling them violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (while keeping them private to students did not) (I know: weird), and this prompted UC Berkeley to announce the impending removal of 20,000 open courseware videos from Youtube. Read the rest

Inside the "sweatshop" terminally ill Britons must call to get benefits

An anonymous phone-bank worker at Britain's Department of Work and Pensions describes the cruel system under which call are handled, designed to purge the faintest hint of sympathy and to likewise deny callers access to basic, vital information without which their benefits will not be approved, or can be terminated. The DWP is who you call if you've been widowed and need help caring for your children, or when you get a cancer diagnosis, or when your organs fail. Read the rest

Australian media accessibility group raises red flag about DRM in web standards

Media Access Australia is the only Australian nonprofit that advocates for making media accessible to people with disabilities -- and they're also a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an open standards body that disappointed its supporters when it bowed to the big entertainment and browser companies and agreed to make a DRM system for online video. Read the rest

One of the copyright's scummiest trolls loses his law license

For more than four years, we've chronicled the sleazy story of Prenda Law, a copyright troll whose extortion racket included genuinely bizarre acts of identity theft, even weirder random homophobic dog-whistles, and uploading their own porn movies to entrap new victims, and, naturally, an FBI investigation into the firm's partners' illegal conduct. Read the rest

How DRM would kill the next Netflix (and how the W3C could save it)

The World Wide Web Consortium's decision to make DRM part of HTML5 doesn't just endanger security researchers, it also endangers the next version of all the video products and services we rely on today: from cable TV to iTunes to Netflix. Read the rest

Kickstarting Braille RPG dice

Emily writes, "64oz Games is working once again to improve Braille accessibility in popular board games, this time in tabletop RPGs. This kickstarter will allow them to purchase a high resolution 3d printer to produce a polyhedral die set (D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, D20 & Percentile) with Braille as well as print numbers. This will also allow them to continue to produce high quality Braille teaching materials that improve Braille literacy world wide." Read the rest

The Mad Max game is every bit as brilliant on disability as Fury Road was

Mad Max: Fury Road has attracted praise for its deft handling of some of the themes that Hollywood normally gets very, very wrong. The way that women take charge, for example, the Gamergate crowd had the rare perspicacity to realize that Furiosa was a new, significant stride in the evolution of female action protagonists. Read the rest

Fury Road cosplay: wheelchair and amputated arm edition

When Fury Road came out, Laura Vaughn made an iconic post about how her left-arm transradial amputation gave her the potential to be the world's greatest Imperator Furiosa cosplayer -- and now she's done it, homebrew prosthetic and all. Read the rest

Stephen Hawking's speech synthesizer now free/open software

Intel has released ACAT (assistive context-aware toolkit) under an Apache license in the hopes that people will improve it -- it only runs on Windows XP or better at the moment, and has a limited range of input-sensors. Read the rest

3D printed cochlear implants for your toys

Building on their Toy Like Me accessories, Makies has shipped 3D printed cochlear implants for your 3D printed custom doll, in white or pink. Read the rest

Dolls with hearing aids, port-wine stains and canes

Makielab, the 3D printed toy company my wife Alice founded, has created a line of toys for the Toy Like Me campaign, which urges toy companies to make toys that all children can see themselves in. Read the rest

Lying down in bed desk

The kneeling desk led to the standing desk and thence to the treadmill desk, but I propose that we bring this full circle to the lying down in bed desk (instructions available in Japanese only). (via Sean Bonner) Read the rest

DRM screws blind people

Any digital text can be read aloud through text-to-speech, granting people with visual impairments the basic human right to read -- unless there's DRM in the way. Read the rest

El Deafo: moving, fresh YA comic-book memoir about growing up deaf

Cece Bell's young adult graphic novel El Deafo is a beautiful, sweet, moving and funny memoir about growing up deaf. Take one part Ernie Pook's Comeek and two parts of Peanuts, mix thoroughly, and add some indefinable secret ingredients, and you'll get El Deafo, which Cory Doctorow thoroughly enjoyed.

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