Industry Coalition Attempts to Make E-Readers Inaccessible

On August 1, 2013, the FCC requested comments on a petition filed by the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers, such as Amazon.com, Sony and Kobe (in CG Docket 10-213).  This industry Coalition asks the FCC to waive its rules requiring accessibility of equipment that is used for advanced communications services (ACS). The Coalition states -- for the basis of its request -- that, although e-readers are equipment that consumers can use for ACS, these devices are designed "primarily for reading."   To distinguish e-readers from tablets and other devices that would not be subject to the waiver request, the Coalition would like to carve out for an exemption from accessibility those e-readers that have the following features:  

 (1) they have no LCD screen;  (2) they have no camera;  (3) they are not offered or shipped to consumers with built-in ACS client applications and their manufacturers do not develop ACS applications for their respective devices, although the devices may include a browser and social media applications; (4) they are marketed to consumers as reading devices and promotional material does not tout the capability to access ACS.

Comments are due September 3, 2013 with with Reply Comments due September 13, 2013.   

Links to the Public Notice (including filing instructions) and the industry Coalition petition are below: 

Public Notice in PDF here.

Public Notice in Word here.    

Public Notice in Text format here.

Link to the industry Coalition Petition, submitted May 15, 2013, is here.  Link to the Letter Supplementing the Coalition Petition (July 17, 2013) is here.   For further information from the FCC, you may contact Eliot Greenwald at (202) 418-2235 or Eliot.Greenwald@fcc.gov; or Rosaline Crawford at (202) 418-2075 or Rosaline.Crawford@fcc.gov.  Please comment below if you find this attempt to make e-readers inaccessible an outrageous attack on access to information for literally milllions and millions of people worldwide. Please also comment to the FCC ASAP!

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