from the sad dept
The European Union primarily, but with some backing from the US government, is holding blind people's access hostage in and effort to introduce new global enforcement norms for copyright. If you look at most copyright exceptions in most countries, the system works as follows. If the exception applies, an activity is not considered infringement. If you do something that is not protected by the exception, you are infringing, and all sorts of bad things can happen, depending upon your national laws for infringement, which include both criminal and civil sanctions. That is how the US exceptions work for blind persons, and that's how nearly all national exceptions work for blind persons. But here at WIPO, the EU wants page after page of detailed regulation of anyone who uses an exception. The expanding verbiage of the agreement is almost entirely about introducing ACTA and SOPA like enforcement provisions into this agreement.We've already seen the EU try to backdoor ACTA provisions in elsewhere, so it should come as little surprise that it would also seek to abuse a treaty to help the disabled to get to the same point as well. Shameful, but not surprising.
Another report on the meetings, from David Hammerstein at the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) goes into more detail on the EU's moves during the negotiations:
Instead of trying to help one of the worldÂ´s most culturally disadvantaged groups the EUÂ´s copyright specialists guided by Commissioner of Internal Market Michel Barnier are busy launching violent preemptive strikes against the possibility of a clear, exception to copyright for the non-profit production and distribution of works formatted for visually impaired persons.Basically, they seem to see this as a war, where any exception is seen as "giving in" on copyright. This is insane. This is not about rational minds looking for the proper calibration of the law, or understanding the real impacts of the law. This appears to be about pure copyright religion, where "more" must be better, and any exception, no matter how reasonable, is seen as a sin. Shameful.
In Geneva this week the EU made one negative proposal after another to block a global agreement that would greatly improve access to culture for the visually impaired. All of them have been rejected by the organizations defending blind and disabled persons rights. Most of them are “copy and paste” proposals from the publishing industryÂ´s wish list. Not one EU proposal this week in Geneva was to facilitate the right to read of disabled persons as guaranteed by international law. Not one member of the EUÂ´s delegation was a human rights or disability expert; all were hard-line copyright apologists.