Slight Progress Made On Treaty To Help The Blind Not Get Screwed Over By Copyright

from the but-still-a-long-way-to-go dept

We’ve covered the efforts by many people over a very, very long period of time to set up a special treaty to help the blind and people who have other reading disabilities have greater access to works that may be covered by copyright. While the US administration rushes through things like ACTA and TPP, it has slow rolled this particular treaty — bouncing back and forth between supporting such a treaty and not supporting it. Part of this issue, it appears, is that some of the key people in the Obama administration who recognized the value of such an agreement left, and the people who took over are known for their extreme maximalist positions. And, the concern with creating this treaty is that (gasp) it might open the door to governments giving people back their rights to make use of products they own.

So it took some people by surprise that the US showed up at the latest WIPO meeting apparently ready to support an agreement. Of course, the devil is in the details and the details showed that the US still didn’t want anyone to call the thing a treaty, even as everyone else wants it to be a treaty. The US is also acting very tentatively on this, making it clear that it wants “final review” of the text, and that it might walk away if big copyright holders protest they don’t like what they see. After some pressure from just about everyone else, the US has agreed that it will at least show up for discussions on making the agreement an actual treaty — and that’s quite reasonably being seen as progress.

The actual conference to discuss all of this will be held in June, and between now and then, expect all sorts of posturing (mostly by the US) in which they try to limit what’s in the agreement and water it down as much as possible. The end result is unlikely to be particularly interesting. It’s likely to be very limited and carve out all sorts of things (for example, it will only apply to text, rather than “audio-visual” works — because, apparently, the MPAA has no interest in making its products more accessible). Having seen all of the scheming and roadblocks US officials have put up over the years concerning what should be a fairly straightforward agreement to help people who are disabled access more content, I’m not particularly hopeful anything useful will come out of this process in the end. But, the big copyright industry can rest easy at night knowing that blind people won’t be able to access their materials.

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Companies: wipo

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Comments on “Slight Progress Made On Treaty To Help The Blind Not Get Screwed Over By Copyright”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“But, the big copyright industry can rest easy at night knowing that blind people won’t be able to access their materials.”

To my knowledge this is not the source of discontent by publishers. Rather, it is proposals defining disabilities in such a way that far, far transcend those who virtually all agree benefit from the availability of publications such as braille, large fonts needed by many to even read, and other disabilities of similar ilk.

Beech says:

Re: Re:

From the one video I saw of an interview with someone from the publishing lobbyist groups that were opposed to this (found the video on techdirt somewhere, I believe, but i am far too lazy to find a link), it sounded to me like their main objection is the idea of “weakening” copyright in any way. In their view, the only allowable changes to copyrights are the ones that make it last longer, have it enforced harder, and exclude more.

out_of_the_blue says:

So, nothing happens until June, then you'll tell us nothing happened.

Gripping stuff, Mike. It’s good you promote user-generated content such as mine below, otherwise it’s thin gruel here.

And now a personal note for Modest Mike “Streisand Effect” Masnick:
To properly honor Mike, I propose “Masnick Defect” as term for out-of-bounds self-aggrandizement such as years of trying to turn a single quip into fame.

out_of_the_bob says:

Google Reptiles waiting until June to strike, nothing happening is part of their plan

Don’t be fooled by Mike’s soothsaying regarding nothing happening. For nothing is everything and everything is nothing and being nothing is everything and knowing is nothing and nothing knows and I know which you know that I don’t know that you will never know MICHAEL MASNICK

And now a personal note for Mike Google:

To properly honor Mike, I propose “Masnick Defected” as the term for summoning google demons from the fifth circle of hell to train entry-level interns on the art of giving unlicensed prostate exams. I know this from years of experience giving and receiving such exams myself by unlicensed google reptiles who watch me while I sleep. Keep your third eye open and aware.

Ric A Ohge (profile) says:

If I buy it.

If I buy it-it’s mine. It stops being yours to dictate uses for and of right after you take my money. That’s called a transaction. If anyone wanting to do transactions can’t deal with their age-old simplicity, then they’re not likely doing a transaction but are performing a lease.

Guess what? I don’t PAY transaction prices for Leases.

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