Marrakech Treaty For The Blind Signed; MPAA Unable To Kill It

from the could-it-be? dept

It took decades to get this done, but it appears that a copyright treaty for the blind has been signed in Marrakech, and despite a full court press from the MPAA to further water down the agreement, it appears the final version is closer to what the various public interest and blind groups wanted. Apparently, US and EU negotiators were not thrilled with the outcome, but couldn’t fight it any more. The full text hasn’t been released yet, but from all the commentary out of Marrakech, it sounds like the MPAA failed to poison this treaty. I’m sure we’ll have more on this later, but two things to discuss out of this:

  1. Contrary to the claims of the USTR about how it would be crazy to negotiate agreements like ACTA, TPP or TAFTA with openness on the drafts being considered, this agreement was negotiated with transparency and (mostly) openness. Once again, we see that the USTR is full of it with its lack of transparency.
  2. There is still a ratification question. Expect the MPAA efforts to now shift to blocking the US from actually ratifying the treaty, which is rather important, since the key part of the treaty is letting creative works for the blind enter into various countries, but most of the books would likely originate from the US….

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Comments on “Marrakech Treaty For The Blind Signed; MPAA Unable To Kill It”

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29 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

You know, this business with the NSA will probably result in more fall out than is presently considered by the US government, corporations, and treaty processes.

Unless the US government comes clean with all the spying business, these countries they are asking for signing on to treaties is likely to tell the US they can’t trust them to honor what they sign. Antigua comes to mind in that one as a prime example that could now work against them.

While the entertainment industries do have national copy right enforcers and pushers for law, most of them are actually viewed as being arms of the US group.

That’s not going to be good for the long haul without this government restoring trust and so far they are batting zero.

Beech says:

I do hate to quibble, but I think you need to consider how the USTR is going to spin this. As you said, the negotiations were pretty open. They also went on for a decade, as you also mentioned. Now of course there’s correlation=/=causation to consider there, but the USTR will absolutely not consider it. Nevermind the industry groups stalling and trying to poison the well, because the USTR is quite fond of industry groups. They are going to say “See, open treaties take just soooo long to negotiate. We neeeed to do ‘something’ about piracy NOW! We are losing bajillion jobs and enough money to build a death star a year because of it! We can’t wait the 10+ years it takes to get an ‘open’ treaty signed.”

Slimey? You bectcha. But that’s how these people operate.

Rekrul says:

Contrary to the claims of the USTR about how it would be crazy to negotiate agreements like ACTA, TPP or TAFTA with openness on the drafts being considered, this agreement was negotiated with transparency and (mostly) openness. Once again, we see that the USTR is full of it with its lack of transparency.

And the final treaty went against the wishes of the MPAA, which the USTR considers a disaster. So to them, this is a perfect example of how openness is a problem, since the outcome of such open negotiations won’t please their corporate masters.

john e miller (profile) says:

'Blind Treaty' Ratification

As is noted in item 2. above on ratification (or not) of the Treaty, this is most likely already in the works. From the International Publishers Association (IPA) Newsletter #101 in April 2013:

The ?success? of the Marrakech diplomatic conference in June was inevitable. We will probably have a treaty. However, whether it will then be ratified by member states is another question.

G Thompson (profile) says:

I personally wouldn’t be surprised if this is not ratified by the USA, especially in light of the USA still not having ratified the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) where it has the dubious honor of being only 3 countries on the planet not to of.. Somalia and South Sudan being the other two…

So if kids can’t get there natural rights to be free of death penalties and/or life imprisonment for children the blind are basically stuffed in the USA.

Though Mike your second point alludes to the situation that if the books originate from the USA they wont be available elsewhere , this is false.. The treaty would allow ratifying countries to distribute books for the blind and if the USA companies who own the content try to sue for infringement they would be stopped by an affirmative defense under the treaty.

john e miller (profile) says:

Re: post #11

I am not attorney so I will not take issue with your statement. However, in any Member State which does not ratify the treaty, Authorized Entities / NGOs may be precluded from exporting accessible materials at least under the provisions of the Treaty as national laws will not have been modified — if necessary — to conform with the provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty.

john e miller (profile) says:

Re: Re: post #12

OK I’ll just add this from the version of the Treaty Draft Text as of last night:

Article 1 — Relation to other Conventions and Treaties

Nothing in this treaty shall derogate from any obligations that Contracting Parties have to each other under any other treaties, nor shall it prejudice any rights that a Contracting Party has under any other treaties.

So the ‘affirmative defense’ statement above may be questionable.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: post #12

That actual text is pretty much a stock standard template for any treaty nowadays, and is basic contract terminology. And as read highly ambiguous.

Though once ratified it becomes law in whatever jurisdiction it is ratified in. Yes other treaties are also part of the law of that jurisdiction too which is where conflicts arise all the time. I’d agree that the affirmative part of my original comment is suspect, though it is highly dependent on how the law is stated after the ratification is completed. A prime example of this is using the UNCRC in conjuction with extradition treaties of say Australia and the USA. Both treaties have a similar ” Relation to other Conventions and Treaties” statement but due to the actual law of Australia the UNCRC Treaty overrides the extradition treaty absolutely with an affirmative defense if a child were wanted for extradition to the USA on criminal charges (Interestingly the same applies to Adults wanted too if the death penalty could be imposed in the USA).

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: post #11

Authorized Entities / NGOs may be precluded from exporting accessible materials

That will always be the case since the jurisdiction where they are exporting from has sadly not ratified it and still considers it an infringement on copyright to allow these works to be transformed etc for disability purposes.

What I’m stating is that anyone who imports, copies or distributes who resides in the jurisdiction where the treaty has been ratified would be less likely to be sued for wrongful infringement under this situation [ my comment below states reasoning why]

john e miller (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: post #15

Again, I do not know of the disposition of US copyrighted materials if the US does not ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. However, as persons in Ecuador are finding out regarding the Snowden affair, if the USA finds that its laws have been intentionally violated, there are sundry means involving other aspects of trade at its disposal.

Anonymous Coward says:

i fail to see (no pun meant) how any organisation could want to be associated with anything that was so vindictive, so discriminating against a section of the community, world wide, that is disabled! how anyone would want to do whatever they possibly could to prevent the blind from ‘seeing’ things is disgraceful. and all over money and control! everything out of the USA, particularly as far as Hollywood and the entertainment industries are concerned is about how they can make more money and hang on to what they’ve already got (by not paying their own artists!). to openly discriminate against the blind is something to be ashamed of and if possible they need to be taken to court for discrimination!

Who Cares (profile) says:

Re: Why?

Simple. They are using the slippery slope argument. As is explicitly stated in the older TD article linked:

?What happens here could affect other future treaties,? said Chris Marcich, who is in charge of dealing with the negotiations for the MPAA and its international wing, the Motion Picture Association.

So the blind are just collateral damage in an attempt to prevent copyright from being watered down.

john e miller (profile) says:

Re: Re: Why?

As to the blind being ‘collateral damage’, those who sponsored the treaty in 2009 and have taken it to this point were well aware of the opposition that would be deployed.

Now, given the approval of the treaty text, we will soon enough find out if they have adequately prepared themselves for what may be a grueling ratification process at least in those countries from where the bulk of copyrighted materials — and copyrighted materials already available in accessible format — will originate.

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