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.

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Comments on “Obama Administration Stalls Treaty To Help The Blind In An Effort To Appease Big Publishers (AKA Campaign Donors)”

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27 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Vote Obama, even though he's a traitor

Its is absolutely not a two choice question. There will be a Libertarian candidate for sure and probably a Green Party one as well.

Remember, your one vote does not really matter. If it is so close that it would be tied before your vote was counted, the courts would decide. So you might as well vote for who you really want, and not just the lesser of two evils.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Vote Obama, even though he's a traitor

Remember, your one vote does not really matter. If it is so close that it would be tied before your vote was counted, the courts would decide. So you might as well vote for who you really want, and not just the lesser of two evils.

Theoretically, your vote doesn’t matter. Electoral Collages pick the President, and those usually pick along party lines (whichever party got the seat in the collage.) Theoretically, they are supposed to look at the numbers of their constituents and chose based on that number, but since there is no checks and balances involved, they really can pick whatever President they want.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Vote Obama, even though he's a traitor

We elect Congress directly.

We also elect our Governor and many of our local representatives too. In some states, we also vote for the members of the electoral college too (some states have appointed positions, from the governor or state assembly, and others have direct ballots.)

The point is, like Anonymous Coward said, and I clarified, we don’t elect the President or Vice President, and therefore it really doesn’t matter who we vote for. I can tell you right now, if two-thirds of the great state of California was to vote for Kang, 55 votes would be received for Obama.

Which is why I have written-in a vote for every election (I voted for Mickey Mouse once,) and have not been disappointed at all that I was “throwing away” my vote (since I have nothing to throw away to begin with.) I laugh whenever someone tells me I am throwing away my vote if I don’t vote in the Presidential election because I don’t have one to throw away to begin with.

However, I suspect that most people vote for Congress Critters straight across party lines (and in the case of multiple people in a run-off election, who spends the most money and who has the nastiest ads,) and thus really don’t have much of a choice who to vote for either. I prefer to find out as much as I can before voting for my representation, but usually my candidate doesn’t win.

Electoral college made sense back when people couldn’t find out enough information about the candidates because a universal communication method to disseminate the information didn’t exist. Now-a-days, it is an antiquated system which should be revised and corrected, much like intellectual property laws.

I hate to sound like a citizen of Roma during the 3rd Century A.D., but it is hard not to be cynical when politicians and political processes are involved.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Vote Obama, even though he's a traitor

To all you saying you won’t vote for Obama because of bullshit like this, I sympathize. I truly understand. But stop and think a minute: would Romney be any better?

Well, let’s see. Romney has come out openly against SOPA and similar legislature. Obama (and Biden moreso, but he doesn’t get much press for it) has been squarely behind every IP-abuse initiative since he got into office.

So if you must ask the question, answer honestly: yes, absolutely he would.

Anonymous Coward says:

Umm, perhaps it’s better explained as “moving things to the point where we have the mandate”. At this point, while Obama is still the President, it is often considered to be the lame duck period of the administration, where they try to do as few things as possible to piss people off, or to color their legacy.

I suspect that if you looked, you would find plenty of things that have been shelved until the next term, or for the next President (if Obama loses). It’s the way things work, you know, in the real world.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Don’t be silly. That’s been debunked ever since it first came up, due mostly to it not being factually true: the guy with the most money does not always (or even almost always) win.

I could point you to any number of studies, but the simplest thing would be to just tell you to go read Freakonomics. It shows that how and why correlation is backwards–it’s not that the guy with the most money wins, it’s that the guy who’s probably going to win tends to raise the most money–and why it doesn’t work sometimes, in a way that makes sense and is easy to understand.

Wally (profile) says:

Voting this year

The best two Democrats we ever had were Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kenedy. Although Bill Clinton was no angel, he created the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (allows us time to take care of our kin if nobody else is availible to do so without the risk of loosing your job), and the Freedom of Infirmation Act (doesn’t give WkiLeaks the right to do what it does, but is intended for insurance purposes to give the courts the power to release classified information based on a resulting injury working on classified projects).

The point i make is regardless of which side of the political spectrum is in power, all I care about is what they have done for our country. What Obamma has done was pretend to not support SOPA and PIPA with a wink and a nudge. What’s worse is that the other major opposing candidate Mitt Romney, is a very weak candidate.

I’ve been voting since 2005 and this is the worst amount of sniping between parties…being from Ohio, where negative campaign ads run to adnauseum, that’s saying something.

Obama officially looses my vote because he has played the single lowest card in the deck….women’s choice. He is very desperate in using this because he can’t seem to gain traction on anything else.

I would also like to point out that this is the first time I’ve seen “change” organizations atttack both candidates. The US is currently in a whole lot of mess and We The People are tired of it. This doesn’t mean revolution, but if all you congressmen keep your pockets lined with bribe money, you will be ousted at the primaries.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

helping the blind (or "saving the children"?)

Wait – by and large, I agree with you. Money has FAR too much influence in all aspects of our life, and especially politics.
However, it would help if you didn’t distort the issue. To the extent that Obama is pandering for money, shame! To the extent that he is avoiding “bad publicity” so that he CAN be reelected (thereby preventing Romney from permanently killing the effort), that is just being pragmatic – it could be a very good thing in the long run.
Don’t “spin” it so it looks like only the negative, and ignores the positive!

Krista Akridge says:

I am blind think this is unfair

I have been blind cence I was 2 and a half, I guess Obama doesn’t care about us blind people like he does the rest of the wourld. And here I am trying to say Obama is a good person, guess not.
Sounds like us without sight are forgotten about, what are we going to do when no SSI is here.
I guess Obama wants to suffer, Its either SSI or More Jobs.
And I spoke on Capital Hill about the bill. Don’t even get me started. Tried to leave a comment on whitehouses website didn’t work.
Capsha not understandable. I am not going to vote for Obama if he is going to do this. 1 less vote.

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