Hi, Josh.

Josh wrote:

Is it possible that there is some kind of conspiracy going on with copyright laws that gives companies godlike control over their so-called intellectual

My response:

No, that's just the way it is. Since we live in a capitalist society, where everyone maintains the right to hold private property, the copyright laws are there to protect companies intellectual and material rights to their products, ideas, and services. That said, there are limits on how much control companies and individuals has over a certain copyright, and often this is where the courts get involved to draw those boundaries.

For example, the case, Intel VS AMD, regarding the 586 processor. In that case Intel sued AMD for releasing a 586 processor, and Intel maintained they had full rights to the 586 trade mark. The Supreme Court made a ruling that a number could not be copyrighted, and a trade mark has to be a unique product name of a specific design. After that Intel released their 586 line as the Pentium processor and AMD later released their Athelon series of processors. Both the Pentium and Athelon names are true trade marks where a name like 586 is not.

Anyway, even though there are limits on copyrights and trade marks the law more often as not comes down on the side of the company or individual who comes up with a product or idea first. Issues like accessibility were not included in the original copyright laws, and therefore have had to be fought for in the courts every step of the way. Laws like Public Law 9-22, which gives us the right in the U.S.A. to get written materials in an accessible format, was necessary to force publishers into allowing books, magazines, etc to be produced in accessible formats. Otherwise without Public Law 9-22 publishers could sue American Printing House, Bookshare, Recordings for the Blind, etc for reproducing printed materials in braille, audio, or daisy format without written permission from the publisher. It is, in fact, areas like this where the copyright laws have obstructed the needs of the blind and others with physical disabilities.

When it comes to certain media like games we really got the short end of the stick. Unlike books most people see games as purely entertainment, they are a non-essential item, and therefore there aren't currently many people out there pushing for their rights to accessible games. There are, unfortunately, more important issues like making our money accessible by feel rather than having to purchase and use a money reader. Being able to tell the difference between a $10 bill and a $1 bill is imho much more important in the long run than weather or not the latest video game is accessible or not.

The only way I can see to solve this problem is if our government would either pass a law to enforce equal accessibility for movies, books, games, etc forcing all publishers and companies to include accessibility from the start, or create a more generalized Public Law 9-22 that allows third-party organizations to freely create accessible versions of books, movies, or games in an accessible format. Unfortunately, neither of these are very likely given our current laws and the publics general indifference to accessibility rights and issues. Not to mention the very companies who lines this or that candidates pockets aren't going to approve of either of those suggestions, and you can bet they will put the squeeze on anyone who tries to sponsor a bill like that.

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