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.

Many archivists announced that they would capture and repost this archive (I understand the Internet Archive is on it), but the first group I know of who've announced a mirror of the UC Berkeley videos is Lbry, a pre-launch startup that says it will eventually host peoples' materials "with no censorship and no advertising." Lbry is making these videos available right now, but only through their command-line API.

The fate of the videos is sad, but it feels like it's also a quirk of history, as the judgment arrived just as it seems likely that videos like these could be subtitled and even translated by software using machine learning (there's already some of this at the margins, like the auto-indexing of Ted Talks).

This could and should be done regardless of whether the videos are licensed under Creative Commons. US copyright law -- and most other copyright systems, and the UN's Marrakech Treaty -- allows for the conversion of copyrighted works to formats accessible to blind people without permission.

Alas, the next generation of video is being specifically designed to thwart the addition of software-generated subtitles by third parties. As the World Wide Web Consortium moves to standardize its DRM system for streaming videos, they've so far rejected all plans to require members to agree not to sue disability organizations that break DRM to allow software to process and subtitle video, a move that has earned it ire from many of its prominent disability-focused members, from the UK's RNIB to Vision Australia to France's Braillenet to SSB Bart and Benetech in the USA.

The organization has just announced the final vote on this plan, and affirmed that protections for disabled people are not to be considered in the final version. The vote closes in a month, and I'll be working with W3C members to let the Director and the organization know that this is a real consequence of this refusal to even discuss protections for disabled web users who need to bypass DRM to make video accessible.

20,000 Worldclass University Lectures Made Illegal, So We Irrevocably Mirrored Them [20,000 Worldclass University Lectures Made Illegal, So We Irrevocably Mirrored Them/Jeremy Kauffman]

Loading...