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White House Actually Goes Against Hollywood, Supports Copyright Exemptions For Visually Impaired

from the didn't-expect-that dept

With the Obama White House appearing thoroughly convinced of the entertainment industry's views on "piracy," it's a bit surprising to hear that it has come out in favor of a proposed treaty to create copyright exceptions for the visually impaired. This is the WIPO treaty that we recently wrote about, noting that all those organizations pushing for ACTA were very much against this particular treaty. The Commerce Department even responded to the entertainment industry by saying that nothing about the treaty appears to "weaken" international copyright law, as they fear.

Unfortunately, the details suggest a bit of horse trading may be going on. The report suggests that the Commerce Department is saying that it will support this particular treaty, but it will seek to strengthen copyright law pretty much everywhere else (by which it means full support for ACTA). There's been a near universal alignment on these two treaties: those in favor of the WIPO one are against ACTA, and those in favor of ACTA are against this treaty. Reading a bit between the lines, it looks like the Obama White House is saying it will support both treaties. While the WIPO treaty is important, it's a much smaller deal than the ACTA treaty. So, even if the White House is supporting it, it looks like it may just be doing so to remove some complaints on ACTA, which is the big problem.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    It was pretty clear to me that the copyright industry's token objection to the WIPO treaty was nothing more than a ruse to help get the ACTA passed.

     

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  2.  
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    Elohssa (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:34am

    Great.

    To celebrate, I'm offering a 2 for 1 deal on blindings this week.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:42am

    "White House Actually Goes Against Hollywood, Supports Copyright Exemptions For Visually Impaired"

    but that's only temporarily, Hollywood knows they will eventually get their way on this one as well, even if it's with the next president.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    True. But it's a start.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    This is one of the most misleading articles I have read here, particularly in its disingenuous and sophomoric attempt at linking an activity associated with WIPO to that associated with ACTA.

    Perhaps if you took even a nanosecond to read up on what is being discussed regarding the WIPO matter you would note:

    1. What has been proposed at WIPO is treaty language prepared by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay. The language is so hosed up that it impacts far, far more than anything having to do with the laudable effort of helping persons with relevant disabilities.

    2. The comments within the US that have been provided to date were in response to a request for comments sent out by the US Copyright Office. The purpose of the Office's request for comments was solely to receive public input pertaining to the proposed language so that an educated and informed position could be developed. No one, including all of the groups continually vilified here, have disagreed with the concept of helping people with such disabilities. Their coments pertained to other aspects of the language having nothing to do with the concept. If fact, all commenters to date have voiced support for the concept.

    Sorry, but this article is little more gossip-mongering lacking any substantive basis. Try reading the proposed treaty language, think about it in context with many of the comments provided to the US Copyright Office, and then prepare an article based upon an accurate understanding of the facts.

     

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  6.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    This is one of the most misleading articles I have read here, particularly in its disingenuous and sophomoric attempt at linking an activity associated with WIPO to that associated with ACTA.

    I'm sorry, but I am confused. What is misleading? What is sophomoric?

    1. What has been proposed at WIPO is treaty language prepared by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay. The language is so hosed up that it impacts far, far more than anything having to do with the laudable effort of helping persons with relevant disabilities.

    That is your opinion. Reasonable people disagree. I had no idea that your opinion was the only one allowed.

    2. The comments within the US that have been provided to date were in response to a request for comments sent out by the US Copyright Office. The purpose of the Office's request for comments was solely to receive public input pertaining to the proposed language so that an educated and informed position could be developed. No one, including all of the groups continually vilified here, have disagreed with the concept of helping people with such disabilities.

    Nor did I say they were against helping people with disabilities. But they did disagree with this particular treaty, *because* they saw it as weakening copyright law. And that's what we were discussing. Accurately, despite your claim.

    And I fail to see what is "sophomoric" about making an educated guess -- clearly stated as such -- as to what is happening by reading between the lines.

    You appear to have read much more into my post than was written or intended, which is funny, since you seem to claim that I was doing the same of the original article.

    But to then demand that I must write a new article? Since when did you become my boss?

    The article is accurate, it expresses my opinion, backed up by facts. I am sorry that you dislike it -- though, if you are who I believe you are, it is only fair to admit that you are an IP lawyer who benefits from stronger IP laws, and has, on a regular basis, ridiculed those of us who are concerned about such laws. I, at least, am willing to stand behind my words and make my biases clear. I wonder why you are not.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 11:18am

    My being a lawyer is totally irrelevant, no matter how much you want to make it an issue.

    Moreover, I no longer practice what you term "IP" law, so I stand nothing to gain by it being made either weaker or stronger. And, no, I do not ridicule persons concerned about such laws. My comments are directed to matters such as statements that are inaccurate as a statement of the law, as well as those where persons are continually trying to equate what I view as "correlation" with "causation", and especially when the data relied upon is in many instances clearly irrelevant to the issue at hand. Morevover, my comments here and elsewhere are directed to both sides of the aisle.

    As for the language proferred by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay, perhaps if you read it as I have, and in addition vetted your reading against that of others...as I have, you would quickly come to the realization that most of the proposed language has little, if any, relevance to the issue that the language purports to address.

    As for the Obama Administration going againd Hollywood, as you state in your title, that is hardly the case. Distilled to its essence, all that has been said is that the concept is laudable and supported (which is what even the industry associations you attempt to vilify have said), but that much work needs to be done to conform the language so that it actually embraces the concept and does not go off into other matters having not a whit of relevance to the supposed purpose of the language that was proferred.

    As for not being your "boss", I am only too pleased that this is not the case. I do not look kindly upon people I may supervise who constantly try and give the impression that they are right and everyone else who may disagree is wrong. I do look kindly upon people who are constantly trying to come up with new and better ways to do things. Certainly this is something you appear to work at quite hard. That in and of itself, however, is only part of the calculus for decision making. The word "compromise" is extremely important, which, unfortunately, does not appear be something that you readily embrace, and this is disappointing because your stridency loses you many who might otherwise lend their support.

     

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  8.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 11:40am

    Re:

    "The word "compromise" is extremely important, which, unfortunately, does not appear be something that you readily embrace, and this is disappointing because your stridency loses you many who might otherwise lend their support."

    Define compromise in your legally impaired point of view. (by "legally impaired, I mean you see too much threw the law.)

    I live in a place called reality. In this place compromise is defined as a solution midway between two extremes. So, by that definition, a compromise would be copyright going back the way it was, the way the founding fathers intended. The exact opposite of compromise would be ACTA and what you seem to push every single day here.

     

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  9.  
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    AC, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    Wow... Mike touched a nerve.

     

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  10.  
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    Robin Smith (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    For a second there...

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    interval, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    Re:

    "Moreover, I no longer practice what you term "IP" law..."

    Funny statement. "IP Law", while perhaps not being a proper term of art, is fairly specific. If indeed you didn't practice what Mike termed IP Law, what exactly would you call it? Plus the fact that he nailed you makes you look ridiculous.

     

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  12.  
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    Robin Smith (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    For a second there...

    ...I actually thought the article was going to point out something the administration would do right, but it's just politics as usual. Same as jobs, education, health care and the wars. Spineless pussies!

     

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  13.  
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    DocMenach (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:35pm

    Re: You still havent learned to use the subject field?

    My comments are directed to matters such as statements that are inaccurate as a statement of the law, as well as those where persons are continually trying to equate what I view as "correlation" with "causation", and especially when the data relied upon is in many instances clearly irrelevant to the issue at hand.

    Ha! I laughed out loud when I read this. You are probably the biggest offender when it comes to confusing correlation with causation. I have never seen you make a statement that wasn't in support of increased copyright protections, and you have quoted obviously biased research (from industry-backed sources) on numerous occasions while simultaneously ridiculing research form non-industry-backed sources.

    Also, you may disagree with the label "IP Lawyer", but you are a lawyer, and you seem to have a very high interest in IP issues, so I would say "IP Lawyer" is an accurate description.

     

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  14.  
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    Bengie, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:52pm

    Copyright laws

    ALL copyright laws should be made with "How will this affect society" and not "How with affect Corp X's immediate income"

     

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  15.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:52pm

    Re:

    "WIPO treaty was nothing more than a ruse to help get the ACTA passed"

    LOL .... hey look over here, something shiny, something shiny

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Lobo Santo's Ugly :, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re: You still havent learned to use the subject field?

    Doc, perhaps you want to consider that there are many different people posting under Anonymous Coward, don't paint them all with the same brush.

     

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  17.  
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    Lobo Santo's Ugly :, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Copyright laws

    They shouldn't be written on the "what does the public actually want" either, because the public wants everything for free or cheap, they want it now, in all formats, download in an instant, without commercials, ads, or any other way to make money, and they want it to be the best possible product, most expensive to make.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re:

    I neither defend nor villify ACTA. It is what it is based upon current law.

    If you were familiar with any of my conversations with others who actively practice copyright law, as well comments I have made as a member of the ABA and other lawyer associations, you would realize that I am certainly not a fan of the Copyright Act of 1976. The predecessor act, despite it flaws, was much more in tune with the origins of copyright law in the United States.

    The truth be known, patent law is much closer to its constitutional roots than what now goes by the name copyright law, which has morphed into something bearing little resemblance to what was envisioned starting with the original Copyright Act of 1789.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re:

    "IP" has always been a misnomer, having found favor starting about the mid-80's. In contrast, I have always identified this body of law as embracing the practice of "patent, trademark, copyright, unfair competion and related causes". Unfortunately, many so-called "IP" lawyers do not practice anything that I believe even remotely approaches that which is truly necessary in order to represent clients effectively and professionally.

    Seriously, one who knows only how to file copyright registrations is an "IP" lawyer? Hardly. The list goes on.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: You still havent learned to use the subject field?

    "I have never seen you make a statement that wasn't in support of increased copyright protections..."

    Seriously? Please name one such instance because I have no recollection of ever having done so.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:45pm

    Re:

    "I do look kindly upon people who are constantly trying to come up with new and better ways to do things."

    Wow. Wells here's some advice written long ago for ya.

    An ill tempered, unhappy man
    Ridicules all he hears,
    Makes fun of others, refusing always
    To see the faults in himself

     

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  22.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Going to point out the blatantly obvious here.

    There is no way in hell that I'm going to be able to be familiar with anything you have done outside of Techdirt. You post as Anonymous Coward. And nothing you've posted inside Techdirt would make me thing that you dislike copyright law in any way.

    From what you post here the only thing you dislike is Mike. You seem to have a personal vendetta against him. Now, I'm not dumb enough to think that anyone is that two dimensional, but you have to show in some way that you aren't what you post.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Copyright laws

    Swing and a miss (unless it's sarcasm, then it's dead on). People are willing to pay for what they like. I don't have it but I'm sure others can post links to studies that show that not only do pirates buy more than non pirates but the movie and music industry is growing.

     

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  24.  
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    DocMenach (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: You still havent learned to use the subject field?

    Well, I have no way to tell one Anonymous Coward from another, and when two different cowards say similar things in similar ways, I have no choice but to paint them both with the same brush.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:04pm

    I remain a fan of the Lamfalussy process. It should be applied in this situation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Lobo Santo's Ugly :, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright laws

    others can post links to studies that show that not only do pirates buy more than non pirates but the movie and music industry is growing.

    Swing and miss yourself.

    First off, people who pirate (the canadian study) didn't buy exception more music than other music buyers. They bought more than overall average, but that would include a significant number of people who don't buy music. The other study in this category (I think from the UK) showed only 10% of the people having illegally downloaded, which pretty much killed the study outright.

    Now for the "sales numbers". The UK study, ignoring commercial licensing, showed that that over the time of the study, the net consumer spending on music in the UK hadn't moved an inch. They bought much less recorded music, and paid more money for concert tickets (likely with higher prices) but the net was an increase of effectively NOTHING over the full survey period.

    In the recent swedish study, the results are very similar. The net numbers over the entire study time was flat, and in fact showed 2002 as possibly the best year of all.

    So the studies show that at this point, the music industry is flat (at least to the end of 2008).

    So sorry, you assertions are wrong.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Different AC, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So... the argument is 'I'm better than you or them, so shut up and agree with me already because you're an idiot'? yeah. About sums up my experience with lawyers. You do realize what sort of an ass you are coming off as, right?

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You still havent learned to use the subject field?

    Well, then that's a problem with the chasm that exists between the values you hold versus the values think others want it to be.

    Perhaps, even on a subconscious level, you were thinking of someone else you wanted to tear down when you wrote your previous comment.

    Painting them with the same brush is quite possibly, the sign of an unintellegence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You still havent learned to use the subject field?

    To make things easier, I suppose I could sign my name another way.

    But really now, where's the fun in that?

    Do note, I remain a fan of the Lamfalussy process. It should be applied in this situation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:43pm

    So, um, I guess, I am a little confused.

    When you die, do you get to take it with you? Or do you just desire to leave all your riches to the man aside you on your deathbed?

    If you're worth anything, they will oftentimes be lawyers and people who have a vested interest in you... Dying.

    What we're starting to see here is the divestiture of early boomers into businesses to strengthen their 1970s mentality, ergo into their family. Should it continue, it will be a very troubling future.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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