To: Members And Friends
NFB R&D Committee
From: T. V. Cranmer, Chairman
Subject: Descriptive Video
Date: June 19, 1994
Mike forwarded to us last week the testimony of ACLU opposing
inclusion of descriptive video in legislation dealing with the
communication infrastructure. ACLU expressed sound reasons for
opposing such legislation. Mikes comments understandably stopped
short of taking a firm position on the subject, although it was
easy to discern his leaning.
The World Institute on Disability is firmly supporting mandatory
captioning for the deaf along with descriptive video for us.
Their arguments are not without merit.
On the one hand it makes no sense to require descriptive video
services for every video transmission--after all, it should be
possible to show a silent movie, from days of yore or current
productions. And any artist or craftsman should enjoy the
privilege of expressing his work in a purely visual format, just as
any musician must have the right to create wordless compositions.
By the same token, a blind consumer should be able to receive the
picture that he can't see and the deaf consumer should be able
to receive the symphony that he can't hear.
Some one on this list should be able to frame the right
language for legislation that makes the right decision on this
matter. Perhaps some protection that would guarantee that the
consumer or a third party must be allowed to add DVS to any
public transmission without copyright permission.
I am including below the WID communication that asks us to contact
our Senators. We do that all of the time. You will notice that
Senator Ford of Kentucky is on the committee dealing with this
legislation. It just so happens that he is also a personal friend
of President Niceley and a long time acquaintance of a score or
more Kentuckians who visit with him during our annual
Here is the question: What should we say to Senator Ford?
Here is the WID communique:
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