WIPO Negotiations Over Changes To Copyright For Those With Disabilities Once Again Shrouded In Secrecy

from the shameful dept

We’ve talked about the latest efforts concerning a treaty for the blind and others with disabilities, which will carve out some rules to give them slightly more rights to ignore certain copyrights in order to allow them to access some works. The negotiations have been going on for years (decades, depending on who you talk to) and the copyright maximalists absolutely hate the idea. They see it as opening the barn door for others to rush through asking for copyright law to be scaled back for them as well. There have been numerous stall tactics used and, of course, lots and lots of secrecy.

Once again, secrecy seems to be the way business is being done, as Jamie Love explains how everyone had been barred from using social media to inform the public what’s going on.

Today after a short plenary session, the informal negotiations were scheduled to begin behind closed doors again. But WIPO decided to permit NGOs attending the negotiations to follow a live audio of the discussions, subject to a ban on the use of the Internet and related social media to report on the negotiations.

The ban specifically singled out “twitter, blogs, news reports, and email lists” and extends to social media in general.

Love argued that Chatham House rules could be effective (in which you can talk about what was said, just not who said it). But, of course, the US said that was unacceptable. Because, of course, the US doesn’t want anyone to know about its crazy arguments, even if they’re not attached to the US itself.

But, really, the bigger problem is the threat of retaliation under this system for reporting on info discovered through other means. Love explains the problem:

I assume we will be permitted to report and comment in other ways that do not rely upon this audio feed, but people will be careful because there is now a threat to cut off that access if the the forbidden information starts showing up on the Internet, and it maybe difficult to persuade people that the audio feed was not the source. This means less information will be disseminated, including the reports from the relatively accessible negotiators, of which there are many who are willing to talk in the breaks. These bans on the use of social media are increasingly being sought by transparency averse negotiators, particularly when pursuing anti-consumer and anti-freedom policies.

It is simply unacceptable these days to hold such negotiations in complete secrecy. It is for reasons like this that people don’t trust such organizations and think they’re corrupt. Even if they’re not corrupt and totally aboveboard, just doing these kinds of things in secret stirs up distrust for the government.

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Comments on “WIPO Negotiations Over Changes To Copyright For Those With Disabilities Once Again Shrouded In Secrecy”

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9 Comments
tqk says:

Even if they’re not corrupt and totally aboveboard, just doing these kinds of things in secret stirs up distrust for everyone involved.

FTFY. Damn, this is stupid of them all to go along with it. What are they all thinking?!? Isn’t their jobs to come up with something of value? Who do they think their constituency really is? Their financial benefactors? How’d they get the job if that’s how they think?

Sabrina Thompson (profile) says:

I think we would be better off without copyright law than have the copyright law we have now. What ever happened to sharing? If I wrote a book, I would want it shared. I would not get upset if someone made an audio book of it so blind people could listen. I think copyright restricts the 1st amendment.I think some people and corporations have gotten to greedy and want to make money off of use their every work.If copyright existed in ancient days some of the works we have now I think we may not even have. I don’t belive we need strict copyright for people to make money off their work. People made money off artistic works before copyright. The KJV translation of Bible is still sold in stores today and that is public domain. People don’t have to pay that the KJV but still do. I think we should all email our rep.s in the congress. If they get enough emails from us “common people” they may listen. I have seen petitions to get less strict copyright law on the whitehouse.gov site but they don’t get enough signatures. I want the government to know that many people don’t like the strict copyright. Many Americans are ignorant on how strict the law is and break it.I don’t want sharing a work with the blind or deaf to be illegal. I wish the copyright law didn’t protect derivative works. The law did not always protect derivative works. In 1790 a person could write a translation of a book in another language. If we got rid of the derivative works part of copyright people could make versions of works for the blind and deaf without breaking the law. It would also allow for people to express creativity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Of course they are secret they are not supposed to be public unless they knew they would have ample public support there is no interest in building consensus or following the law, tradition or common sense.

The fools just forget one thing, trust is the foundation of any working rule. there are no workable frameworks without it.

Others will challenge these crappy laws at every turn in any way they can and make it unworkable.

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