Why Is A Treaty For Letting The Blind Have Access To Books Too Difficult, But ACTA Is Fine?

from the questions,-questions dept

We’ve pointed out the hypocrisy of the industry folks who are eagerly supporting the expansion of copyright via ACTA, but who are against a few very limited simple exceptions to copyright for the blind in a new WIPO treaty. However, in defending this position, a European Union Commissioner, Michel Barnier, has explained to the European Blind Union, that doing a treaty is just too hard, and it’s much easier to just do a much more limited “joint recommendation,” which would be a lot weaker. As KEI’s Jamie Love points out in the link above, it seems odd here that the EU is admitting that it’s too difficult to bother creating new treaties around copyright… at the same time it’s heavily involved in ACTA and a number of other copyright treaties. Apparently it’s only worth undertaking that kind of effort when it ratchets copyright up in favor of industry. The blind? Eh. Not worth the effort…

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Comments on “Why Is A Treaty For Letting The Blind Have Access To Books Too Difficult, But ACTA Is Fine?”

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31 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Tired.

  ? Envisional was commissioned by NBC Universal to analyse bandwidth usage across the internet with the specific aim of assessing how much of that usage infringed upon copyright.
    ∘ http://documents.envisional.com/docs/Envisional-Internet_Usage-Jan2011.pdf
    ∘ The study shows a dramatic reduction in copyright infringement for music.
  ? RIETI – Research Institute of Economy, Trade & Industry, IAA – Study about piracy showing that it actually helps sell more DVD’s.
  ? RIETI – Do Illegal Copies of Movies Reduce the Revenue of Legal Products? The case of TV animation in Japan
    ∘ http://www.rieti.go.jp/en/publications/summary/11010021.html
    ∘ Author Name: TANAKA Tatsuo (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
    ∘ Creation Date: January 2011 11-J-010
  ? The Norwegian Music Industry in the Age of Digitalization. (Richard Bjerkoe, Anders Sorbo)
  ? Date of submission: 01.09.2010
    ∘ http://www.scribd.com/doc/37406039/Thesis-Bjerkoe-Sorbo
    ∘ The study shows that the music industry in Norway is growing despite piracy claims to the contrary.
  ? Jailhouse Frocks: Locating the Public Interest in Policing Counterfeit Luxury Fashion Goods
    ∘ http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/50/6/1094.short?rss=1
    ∘ http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1649773
    ∘ David S. Wall and Joanna Large (2010)
    ∘ This article seeks to locate the public interest in policing counterfeit luxury fashion goods by separating it out from the broader debate over safety-critical counterfeits such as aircraft parts. Meaning to stop wasting resources trying to protect something that doesn’t need protections like luxury fashion goods.
  ? PRS for Music – Economic Insight 20 ? Adding up the UK music industry for 2009
    ∘ http://www.prsformusic.com/creators/news/research/Documents/Economic%20Insight%2020%20web.pdf
  ? The Swedish Music Industry in Graphs – Economic Development Report 2000 – 2008 – Dec2009
  ? Daniel Johansson & Markus Larsson (December 2009)
    ∘ http://www.trendmaze.com/media/1038/swedish_music_industry_2000-2008.pdf
  ? Legal, Economic and Cultural Aspects of File Sharing
Nico van EIJK, Joost POORT, Paul RUTTEN (2010)
    ∘ http://www.ivir.nl/publications/vaneijk/Communications&Strategies_2010.pdf
    ∘ The studies demonstrate that filesharers buy more secondary merchandise and there is no apparent change in purchasing habits from them in relation to music.
  ? Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation: Evidence from the Human Genome
    ∘ Heidi L. Williams
    ∘ July 2010
http://papers.nber.org/papers/w16213

“Celera’s short-term IP thus appears to have had persistent negative effects on subsequent innovation relative to a counterfactual of Celera genes having always been in the public domain.”

  ? Wired – Labels: Lower Music Prices And Increase Your Profits, Study Says
  ? By Eliot Van Buskirk (January 29, 2010 11:57 am)
    ∘ http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/01/labels-lower-music-prices-and-increase-your-profits-study-says
  ? File-Sharing and Copyright
No. 09-132
Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf
Strategy
May 2009
    ∘ http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/09-132.pdf
    ∘ http://www.hbs.edu/research/facpubs/workingpapers/papers0809.html#wp09-132

So much to read and so little time all those studies saying that copyright is crap its just tiresome LoL

Anonymous Coward says:

Since Mike Masnick is bereft of original thought, copyright doesn’t offer any benefit to him. But still, for some reason, day in and day out, he feels the need to whine about copyright on this blog.

Other than the fact that copyright is a thorn in the side of his precious love, music piracy, why is he so obsessed with it?

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Re: Geese and Ganders

Since “Anonymous” is bereft of original thought, TechDirt doesn’t offer any benefit to him. But still, for some reason, day in and day out, he feels the need to whine about Mike Masnick on this blog.

Other than the fact that Mike Masnick is a thorn in the side of his precious love, blind ignorance, why is he so obsessed with it?

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How’s copyright benefiting you these days, Anon? Obviously, it’s leaving you plenty of free time to copy and paste your usual thoughts. Perhaps your time would be better spent elsewhere, promoting your presumably “original” thoughts and ideas, rather than slumming it with the “kool aid drinkers.”

Or do you just grab three nails every morning and “get your Jesus on,” dying over and over on the cross of technology?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Just because it doesn’t directly affect him he’s still speaking out because he feels that current politics are heading in a dangerous direction.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Since Mike Masnick is bereft of original thought, copyright doesn’t offer any benefit to him.”

The same can easily be said about the corporate output the current laws are intended to protect. If originality is your benchmark, why do you support a system that protects those who churn out nothing but cover versions and remakes?

“copyright is a thorn in the side of his precious love, music piracy”

So, you’re saying that anybody who advocates copyright exceptions to allow access to copyrighted material for the blind is a pirate? Quite typical of you. It’s a shame that your corporate worship has left you unable to spot untapped markets in favour of trying to maintain a status quo that’s 2 decades out of date, but we know by now what a poor businessman you are.

Here’s a quick hint: blind people would buy this material legally, if measures were in p[lace to allow them to use it legally. Why are you opposed to servicing paying customers?

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why are you opposed to servicing paying customers?

Its TAM, he doesn’t oppose servicing paying customers…he opposes anything that Mike Masnick says just because it makes him cool among his pre-school brethren. Some day he will grow up and join the real world as a productive member of society, but for now he is trollin’ for the lulz on Techdirt.

sam sin says:

what a disgusting, but typical, attitude! i assume it is because the blind dont have enough money to line the pockets of the corrupt politicians and law makers. considering that they are only too willing to step all over the rights of ordinary citizens, on receipt of the ‘little brown envelopes’ what hope do handicapped people have? as for the entertainment industries, they should be absolutely ashamed of themselves! assholes!

Anonymous Coward says:

17 USC 121 provides that under Section (a) that:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 [17 USC 106], it is not an infringement of copyright for an authorized entity to reproduce or to distribute copies or phonorecords of a previously published, nondramatic literary work if such copies or phonorecords are reproduced or distributed in specialized formats exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities.”

The provision contained is US law is not necessarily reflected in the national laws of other countries who have ratified the noted treaty. Given that the amendment of treaties is oftentimes a lengthy activity, it is not at all unusual to adopt non-binding resolutions encouraging countries to consider the adoption of national laws addressing the subject matter in such resolutions.

This is to a significant degree not an issue in the United States, so if anything your criticism should be directed towards those countries who do not have their own counterparts that address the matter addressed by 17 USC 121.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 [17 USC 106], it is not an infringement of copyright for an authorized entity to reproduce or to distribute copies or phonorecords of a previously published, nondramatic literary work if such copies or phonorecords are reproduced or distributed in specialized formats exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities.”

authorized entity? It’s never an infringement for an authorized entity to make copies. That’s the whole point of being authorized. What does this provision buy the blind?

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Re: Re:

This is to a significant degree not an issue in the United States, so if anything your criticism should be directed towards those countries who do not have their own counterparts that address the matter addressed by 17 USC 121.

Not totally convinced on that given a literal reading of what you posted depending on the meaning of several of the words in it in context of the rest of it:

“authorized entity” for example – does that mean authorised by the US government, or by the rightsholder? Either way it doesn’t necessarily say anyone has to be authorised, just that they’re exempt from ingringement if they are.
Also “Non-dramatic literary work” – does that mean no play scripts? Or no fiction? seems an odd-ish limtation.
And “specialized formats exclusively for…” – what about audiobook format? That’s not exclusive to blind or disabled people, but seems an obvious format for them. I could be wrong but I’d be suprised if audiobooks are exempt from copyright.

The UK also has significant “accessibiity” laws for the disabled – probably as more so than the US- but here too it doesn’t mean disabled people couldn’t use more help still and they certainly deserve more international effort to my mind that enormous mega-corporations, which I think was kind of the point of the article.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Re: Re:

This is to a significant degree not an issue in the United States, so if anything your criticism should be directed towards those countries who do not have their own counterparts that address the matter addressed by 17 USC 121.

Not totally convinced on that given a literal reading of what you posted depending on the meaning of several of the words in it in context of the rest of it:

“authorized entity” for example – does that mean authorised by the US government, or by the rightsholder? Either way it doesn’t necessarily say anyone has to be authorised, just that they’re exempt from ingringement if they are.
Also “Non-dramatic literary work” – does that mean no play scripts? Or no fiction? seems an odd-ish limtation.
And “specialized formats exclusively for…” – what about audiobook format? That’s not exclusive to blind or disabled people, but seems an obvious format for them. I could be wrong but I’d be suprised if audiobooks are exempt from copyright.

The UK also has significant “accessibiity” laws for the disabled – probably as more so than the US- but here too it doesn’t mean disabled people couldn’t use more help still and they certainly deserve more international effort to my mind that enormous mega-corporations, which I think was kind of the point of the article.

James Love (profile) says:

Re: Why a treaty is needed

The World Blind Union wants a minimum standard of exceptions, and some harmonization of exceptions, and an agreement on the cross border uses of those exceptions, in order to share accessible works across borders, and not require duplication of effort. Right now there is both enormous waste and huge disparities of access to accessible works depending upon where you live. The treaty would improve all of these things without requiring new taxpayer outlays.

el_segfaulto (profile) says:

Re: If this isnt an issue...

It used to be a bit difficult to do this. Macs used to run on a completely different chip architecture which meant much of the code could not be reused and the entire project would have to be recompiled. Now that Apple has switched to Intel processors, the process is a bit easier but still not inconsequential.

Converting text to braille is reasonably easy and once the software is written to handle it, doesn’t need to be rewritten every time. As a software developer I like your metaphor but it isn’t really along the same lines.

Anonymous Coward says:

.. and sadly, WIPO Secretariat plays into the hands of the EU-type mentality and industry. What the heck in WIPO thinking when it speaks of Copyright reform with -as one blogger says- band aid solutions, i.e. copyright infrastructure? Franci Gurry’s move for a Blue Sky Commission is only playing into he hands of industry : Blue Sky Conference: Future Directions in Copyright Law

http://wipo.int/about-wipo/en/dgo/speeches/dg_blueskyconf_11.html

The Blind – the WIPO TIGAR Project is WIPO-Industry’s band aid solution to deeper, truly deeper problem of copyright law/system: access to information to educate, liberate and grow economies, peoples.

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