by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
acta, copyright, treaties, vision impaired

Funny How Those In Favor Of ACTA Are Against Treaty Providing More Access To Content For Vision Impaired

from the must-strengthen-copyright-at-all-costs dept

It seems pretty bizarre that companies and industry organizations would be against helping those with reading disabilities or vision impairment -- but that's exactly what you get in the discussion over creating some loopholes in copyright law to make it easier to reformat content to help those who would have difficulties reading it otherwise. Their concern, of course, is anything that can be seen as weakening copyright law. As we've noted in the past, there's never really been any weakening of copyright law... ever. The only exception I can think of is when the US officially established that government documents could not be covered by copyright. But every other change has only strengthened it -- so perhaps it's no surprise that the usual suspects, including the MPAA and the RIAA are upset about this, claiming that this WIPO treaty on this subject would "begin to dismantle the existing global treaty structure of copyright law, through the adoption of an international instrument at odds with existing, longstanding and well-settled norms."

Now, that's funny, because you could pretty much say that ACTA is doing the same thing... and yet these same groups are strongly in favor of ACTA, which would also be at odds with existing, longstanding and well-settled norms." Funny how their view changes completely when discussing treaties that would beef up copyright law vs. those that would create important and useful loopholes in it.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    mjb5406 (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 6:17pm


    As someone with low vision due to diabetic retinopathy, it pains me to see thngs like this... however, it's not surprising, especially in light of organizations like The Authors Guild who pushed Amazon to restrit the Text-To-Speech capabilities in the latest Kindles sp an author can determine whether their work can be spoken or not. I'm not a cruel person, but things like this make me want to believe in karma, wanting the people who write such discriminatory policies to themselves be stricken with disabilities too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    I take it you are a strong supporter of the "Brazil, Paraguay, and Ecuador" proposal...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 12:58am


    Which is???

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re:

    While wrapping their proposal up in the flag of "this is for the disabled", their proposal goes far beyond this laudable and limited purpose. It seeks, contrary to international treaties such as the Berne Convention, to impose madatory statutory language, which puts it squarely at odds with treaties that are directed to "concepts" that signatories are free to tailor to their particular circumstances or reject entirely and not incorporate into their national laws.

    As much as persons may despise the MPAA, the RIAA, the BSA and all the other "A's", their comments in response to the US Copyright Office's Request for Information, a process that is far from finished, the trade associations do raise many important points, the most important of which are that the language of the Brazil, Paraguay and Ecuador proposal is so loosely drafted and ambiguous that its enactment would in fact have a significantly negative impact on national laws having absolutely nothing to do with meeting the needs of those with visual and hearing impairments.

    The other groups and idividuals who submitted comments are generally laudatory of efforts to address issues associated with the visually and hearing impaired. They do not, however, provide any analysis of the actual language.

    All parties submitting comments agree with the broad concept, but the devil is always in the details, and the details in this case extend way, way beyond the concept.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    wvhillbilly, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 5:04pm

    Control, control, control.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    wvhillbilly, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 6:00pm

    Control, control, control.

    It would seen the RIAA, MPAA, BSA, Authors' Guilds and all the music licensing agencies want nothing less than total control of what consumers can and cannot (mostly the latter) do with their content even once they have legally purchased it. If they had their way, I believe, there would be no such thing as fair use, the term of copyright would be forever, all public domain content would be recaptured under copyright (owned by them of course) and there would be no such thing as public domain. IMO these sorts of policies defeat the whole purpose of copyright, which is to encourage authors to bring forth new works. Instead, it would seem to me, they want to be able to sit on their fat ***es, let the world go by and collect royalties on the same works forever.

    My question about ACTA is, if it is so great, why is what it says being kept such a deep dark secret? Is it that they want to implement exactly the sort of policies I have listed above, and they want no one else to know what's in it so the rest of us will be unable to effectively oppose it?

    Copyright is ever being tilted more and more in favor of big corporations and against consumers. And this trend seems to be increasing at an exponential rate.

    I think such policies, if carried to their ultimate extremes, will ultimately be counterproductive by making criminals of anyone who does anything the copyright owner does not like, such as by driving ordinary users to resort to "piracy" to get content in a form they can use as they see fit, instead of loaded up with DRM that leaves it nearly unusable.

    May they come to their senses before it's too late.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Ben from Baltimore, Dec 4th, 2009 @ 3:44am


    I was going to buy a Kindle, but after reading on consumerist.com a while back about how publishers were against the Kindle's and other ebook reader's text-to-speech function because they were afraid that it would cut into books on CD/MP3 sales and caused a fight between advocates for the blind and book publishers, I decided to stick to paperback books. I do think that advocates for the blind would have a case in a ADA vs. DMCA lawsuit, though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.