Obama Administration Stalls Treaty To Help The Blind In An Effort To Appease Big Publishers (AKA Campaign Donors)
from the money-first-politics dept
Last week, we wrote about how the US was holding up a treaty to help visually impaired people be able to access more works, in large part because publishers are somehow offended that the public might want to take back some of their fair use rights (which the publishers unfortunately claim is “taking away” something from them). As more and more details come out, it’s become clear that while most of the countries involved in the negotiations really want this treaty — which has been in discussion for nearly 20 years — to be put in place, there are two major stumbling blocks: the EU Commission and the US. Not surprisingly, these were the two biggest supporters of ACTA as well. As with ACTA, the EU Parliament is at odds with the EU Commission on this and is in support of a treaty, but the Commission is trying to put all sorts of “unreasonable restrictions” on the agreement, and the US is still fighting against the idea of calling this a “treaty.”
The end result is that, rather than finalizing things at the WIPO gathering, the US’s ability to drag the whole process out means that nothing will be decided until after the Presidential election. And that’s by design:
This is really kicking the can down the road — in this case, past Obama’s first term in office. After four years, Obama can’t overcome opposition from a handful of mostly foreign owned publishers to support a treaty for blind people. In many respects, this is a money in politics story. If blind people were financing his campaign, they would have had a treaty a year ago. The Obama administration wants the decision on the treaty delayed until the election so it will not interfere with its campaign fundraising from publishers, and so it will not suffer bad publicity for opposing the treaty, before the election.
The whole thing is pretty shameful, and yet another display of how money corrupts politics… and how copyright helps in that process.