MPAA: Oh, Of Course We Want To Help The Blind Read More… Just As Long As You Don't Touch Copyright

from the nice-try dept

So it appears that late last week, the MPAA realized that their whole stance on trying to block the approval of an important copyright treaty for helping the visually impaired and the blind gain more access to works was a PR nightmare, and decided to put out a joint statement with the National Federation for the Blind. Apparently, Chris Dodd’s initial weak attempt at claiming that it loved helping the blind, despite working hard to stop the treaty, wasn’t enough. Of course, the new “joint statement” is really more of the same when you peel back the basics.

We fully support a Treaty that facilitates access to published works in the form of text, notation and/or related illustrations for the blind and print disabled to address the book famine wherein the blind and print disabled have access to less than five percent of published works worldwide.

Then why have your lobbyists been the key blockade in that very agreement for years?

The Treaty must achieve two overarching goals: creating exceptions and limitations in copyright law which allow published works to be converted into formats accessible to the blind and print disabled, and permitting accessible copies of published works to be shared across international borders.

Yup. And that’s what’s been on the table for quite some time. And you know who’s made sure to hold it up? Yes, the MPAA.

Ultimately, we believe it should be for signatories to determine how they will implement the Treaty in accordance with their legal and administrative traditions. We underscore that this important Treaty must not be a vehicle for extraneous agendas. The goal remains, as it has been since the outset, a meaningful treaty to create greater access to published works for the visually impaired.

Again, then you shouldn’t have been blocking what’s on the table for a while. Furthermore, it’s kind of funny to see the MPAA now say that it wants countries to “determine how they will implement the Treaty in accordance with their legal and administrative traditions.” Because that’s the exact opposite position that the MPAA takes on other copyright efforts, like ACTA/TPP/etc. where the goal is to force the US’s way on other countries. Hell, the MPAA has spent years telling other countries they need to add “digital locks” provisions to copyright law, even when that was inconsistent with their own legal and administrative positions. Basically, the MPAA is lying here. They only want that “flexibility” when we’re talking about giving the public more rights, because they know they have enough sway with various governments such that those governments will block any meaningful changes to copyright law to allow more access to works by the blind.

From there, they list out a bunch of “core principles” that any treaty must follow, most of which are completely uncontroversial. But the two at the end are the ones that the MPAA is really focused on is:

4. Ensure that the treaty will be fully consistent with international copyright norms.
5. Avoid addressing extraneous copyright issues not directly related to creating greater access to published works for the blind and print disabled.

Basically, the MPAA will ensure that “international copyright norms” doesn’t allow for things like fair use or other rights of the public, preferring instead to lock everything down as much as possible. And the “extraneous copyright issues” are, basically, the rights of the public. The MPAA’s not a big fan of all that.

It’s great that the MPAA is now saying this kind of stuff, and it could have said all of this a couple years ago and we could have had this treaty in place way back then, because nothing they say goes against what’s been on the table. So, let’s see what happens in the next negotiations, and we’ll see how helpful MPAA lobbyists really are in terms of completing this process….

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Companies: mpaa, nfb

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Comments on “MPAA: Oh, Of Course We Want To Help The Blind Read More… Just As Long As You Don't Touch Copyright”

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SolkeshNaranek says:

Re: Re:

The MPAA lobbyists have been hanging around politicians for way to long.They have learnt the art of saying one thing whilst doing the opposite; which is a vital art for elected politicians.

Chris Dodd was a politician. The MPAA doesn’t need to “learn” anything… they just buy politicians that already have expertise in double speak and lies.

SolkeshNaranek says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh look, it’s an anonymous troll whining about an article that did have a ‘substantive suggestion’ counterpart yesterday where a blind law professor explained what needed to be done. Oh look, he’s that starved for attention.

The troll seems to desperately want a substantive suggestion, so I have one.

If the troll wants to see the real dipshit here, s/he should look in a mirror.


Re: Re: My rights empower others.

There is NO problem. All we have here is the MPAA being big fat jerks. The solution to that is obvious. The MPAA has to stop being big fat anti-social jerks. They have to acquire a little empathy and perhaps some respect for their customers.

Accommodations for the blind are nothing more than showing some respect for MY personal property rights.

The “solution” here is for politicians to listen to something other than corporate lobbyists.

JMT says:

Re: Re:

“Oh look, Pirate Mike is whining about the MPAA again yet not offering any substantive suggestions to solve the problem he’s whining about.”

Stupid troll is stupid. The solution to the problem is for the MPAA to shut the hell up and let the treaty that’s been on the table for years move forward. The treaty is the solution, and the MPAA is blocking it, which Mike has very clearly explained numerous times.

Your inability understanding is not Mike’s or TD’s problem, it’s entirely your own.

out_of_the_blue says:

You've gone blind from masnicking.

Boy, you’re STILL trying to get mileage out of this same story! OKAY, we understand that you wish to reduce copyright. Clearly you wish to reduce it to none. Your goals here are to facilitate piracy and your grifter pals who profit from infringing content by further muddying up clear law.

Take a loopy tour of! You always end up same place!
Where arrogance meets ignorance to conspire what they’ll do with someone else’s 100 million dollar movie.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You've gone blind from masnicking.


I’ll gladly die for my right to be what I want, say what I want, and do what I want. And I’ll gladly die so that others can enjoy those liberties also.


Whoa, whoa, whoa! You want me to give up a little bit of my artificial monopoly so that some blind people can read a book? No fucking way!

Land of the brave? Home of the free? HAH!

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: You've gone blind from masnicking.

“OKAY, we understand that you wish to reduce copyright. Clearly you wish to reduce it to none. Your goals here are to facilitate piracy and your grifter pals who profit from infringing content by further muddying up clear law.”

If there is no copyright, there is no piracy and no infringement. What are the goals again?

Anonymous Coward says:

perhaps the answer is a boycott by everyone else until the entertainment industries do what needs to be done, what has to be done, to give sight-impaired people the chance of more books etc. mind you, there’s about as much chance of that happening as whistle blowers getting the protection they were promised prior to the election, look what happened with that!!

Votre (profile) says:

Yeah right!

My my my…what a difference some adverse publicity and widespread public disgust can make when you’re advancing a totally outrageous argument. They were wise to back-pedal. If they’re not careful, they’re ridiculousness might wake the general public up. And even worse, the public might demand that some common sense an fairness finally be brought to bear on the whole issue.

Can’t let that happen now can they?


Re: Appeasement and other forms of grovelling...

It’s hard to judge the motivations of the leader of the weaker and less influential group here. They might be trying to pander to the MPAA as much as possible since they seem to have all of the clout and are willing to abuse it.

You can’t necessarily take things on face value.

Perhaps “appeasement” is the best term for it.

Anything else is likely to trigger the wrath of the MPAA.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So the MPAA speaks to people with fingers crossed behind their backs. Your point being? The MPAA isn’t to be trusted, period. How else did they manage to get away with over-inflating piracy rates by 300%?

Obviously they’re hoping that the National Federation for the Blind…

( ??)
( ?

…Don’t see it coming.

Jens says:

the real question is: why isn't the NFB talking with the publishers?

Dear All,
It would be great if the NFB were open to detailed discussions with the American publsihers on the topic. They have done it in the US before with the Chafee amendment. Why don’t they do it again at the international level?
Publishers and visually impaired organisations are doing a lot together to improve access. Why so many decalrations and so little direct talk?

special-interesting (profile) says:

The treaty negotiations seem to be progressing nicely and somehow the first drafts actually seem to address real life situations of the Bind.

The treaty is good in that, well, its good thinking. The problem is that it does not go far enough to protect the legitimate Fair Use Rights of Blind users and enablers. The slippery slope word ?exceptions? is used too prominently.

There needs to be slipped into the treaty the term ?Blind Use Rights? to further cement the expanded Fair Use Rights. This solid wording would help provide some protection from further erosion from the out of control eternal copyright monopolies.

While we are at it renaming ‘copyright’ into ‘copyexception’ wold be nice too… (hehehe) Because it was originally designed to be a short term (14-28 yr) exception to the greater needs of Public Domain Rights and Fair Use Rights.

Who would even believe anything the MPAA says or does anyway? Isn’t this ?joint statement? just another cigarette sales ad lie? Even the direct interpretation of their actions and words are ?our selfish monopolistic needs are greater than a whole cultural group of Blind handicapped??

The whole thing sounds disingenuous in every way. Am a bit cynical. How much of a donation the the National Federation For The Blind allowed the MPAA to slither up next to the NFB and make these ?joint? statements? Who really wrote the ?joint? statement anyway? Exact wording is of vital importance especially in treaties.

For the MPAA to basically take advantage of a legitimate Blind activist support group is a painful thing to hear about… Isn’t this just some plan to just use the NFB as a platform for their own ends?

Its scary the the MPAA wants to rewrite the treaty in their own way. Surely they would waste all the good work done so far if even one of their sentences end up in the final draft. The MPAA has already stated that they don’t mean to allow ANY benefits at all and are already AGAINST the treaty entirely. Nobody lets their pet shark swim with their kids. Its just not done.

Its not great that the MPAA is trying to schmooze its way past the NFB with what is/was likely bad intent on their part. In cases like this; One just has to realize that groups like the MPAA will NOT be any help. Almost surely the opposite. Its like warning your kids to stay away from bullies, drug pushers in shiny cars and shark infested waters.

Somehow the flashy bling bling bearing special-interest-group lobbyists would make any parent/citizen/voter cry about wayward money addicted politicians.

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