Growing Opposition to the Authors’ Guild Request to Remove Text-to-Speech on Kindle2

The groups below represent 15 million Americans who cannot read print because of blindness, dyslexia, spinal cord injury and other print disabilities. Reading disabled persons affected by the Authors’ Guild request to remove the text to speech function on Kindle 2 include school children, the elderly, professionals, university students, returning veterans, and yes, your neighbors, family members and friends.

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KEI Statement on Authors Guild attack on Kindle 2 synthetic speech functions

The Authors Guild is pressuring Amazon to modify the Kindle 2 so that the synthetic speech function can only be used with the express authorization of the owner of the copyright of a work. A coalition of organizations that represent or work with persons with reading disabilities is organizing a protest to persuade the Guild to change its position. KEI supports the protest, and makes this statement on the Kindle 2 issue:

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Views of Civil Society on USTR Review of Trade-Related Transparency Policies

As mentioned in an earlier KEI blog, on Thursday, March 19, a group of public interest groups met with the Obama administration’s trade officials. As a result of this meeting, USTR has promised to review its policies on transparency and invited groups to submit concrete proposals for evaluation. Further, these proposals are to be discussed as part of the review process in a follow up meeting next month.

Proposed areas of discussion include:

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The 1991 Improvement of Information Access Act

At the COMMUNIA workshop at the London School of Economics, I mentioned a legislative proposal from 1991 that was designed to open up and improve the management of government databases, promote open standards and interoperability, limit prices, and to give the public regular opportunities to engage agencies on policies. Here is a copy of the bill, from the 102nd Congress. In reading the bill, remember it was introduced in 1991, the same year the first web site was built at CERN, and three years before the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was created.

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The 41 proposed COMMUNIA recommendations for Accessing, Using, Reusing Public Sector Content and Data

In London’s, at the 5th COMMUNIA workshop held at the London School of Economics, speakers here are asked to suggest recommendations on the topic of “Accessing, Using, Reusing Public Sector Content and Data.” Here are the 41* that have been proposed in advance, including 9 from KEI.

5th COMMUNIA Workshop:
Accessing, Using, Reusing Public Sector Content and Data

26-27th March 2009, London School of Economics

Policy Recommendations

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KEI oral intervention on patents and standards at WIPO SCP

Thank you Mr Chair.

We take note of document 13/2’s assertion that “inherent tensions exist between patents and standards” particularly when the “implementation of a standard calls for the use of technology covered by one or more patents”.

For our detailed written comments on the issue of patents and standards we request the SCP to please consult pages 36 through 39 of Annex III of document SCP/12/3 Rev.2.

On the topic of patents and standards, we propose the following:

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Statement by the United States on patents and standards at WIPO patent committee

Patents and Standards

The United States thanks the International Bureau for preparing the background paper on Standards and Patents, and we support the statement made by Germany on behalf of Group B.

Mr. Chairman, the United States supports and strongly encourages the use of open standards, as traditionally defined, that is, those developed through an open, collaborative process, whether or not intellectual property is involved.

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WIPO DG Francis Gurry highlights disability as a theme for Conference on Intellectual Property and Global Challenges

As mentioned in James Love’s blog today entitled Notes from Day One of WIPO SCP 13, the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) is examining four key issues at its Thirteenth Session this week including Standards and Patents, Exclusions from Patentable Subject Matter and Exceptions and Limitations to the Rights, The Client-Attorney Privilege and Dissemination of Patent Information.

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