EU & US Negotiators Looking To Hold Blind & Deaf Access Rights Hostage To Get A New ACTA/SOPA

from the sad dept

We already talked about how US officials have been working against a treaty to allow more access to copyrighted works for the disabled, but the latest report from Jamie Love highlights an even more nefarious part of the strategy. To hold the agreement hostage in order to backdoor in certain elements of ACTA/SOPA. This is mainly being led by the EU, but with support from the US. And the main part is putting lots of red tape around any exceptions -- and tying it to more standardized enforcement, which is what ACTA was really all about:
The European Union primarily, but with some backing from the US government, is holding blind people's access hostage in and effort to introduce new global enforcement norms for copyright. If you look at most copyright exceptions in most countries, the system works as follows. If the exception applies, an activity is not considered infringement. If you do something that is not protected by the exception, you are infringing, and all sorts of bad things can happen, depending upon your national laws for infringement, which include both criminal and civil sanctions. That is how the US exceptions work for blind persons, and that's how nearly all national exceptions work for blind persons. But here at WIPO, the EU wants page after page of detailed regulation of anyone who uses an exception. The expanding verbiage of the agreement is almost entirely about introducing ACTA and SOPA like enforcement provisions into this agreement.
We've already seen the EU try to backdoor ACTA provisions in elsewhere, so it should come as little surprise that it would also seek to abuse a treaty to help the disabled to get to the same point as well. Shameful, but not surprising.

Another report on the meetings, from David Hammerstein at the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) goes into more detail on the EU's moves during the negotiations:
Instead of trying to help one of the world´s most culturally disadvantaged groups the EU´s copyright specialists guided by Commissioner of Internal Market Michel Barnier are busy launching violent preemptive strikes against the possibility of a clear, exception to copyright for the non-profit production and distribution of works formatted for visually impaired persons.

In Geneva this week the EU made one negative proposal after another to block a global agreement that would greatly improve access to culture for the visually impaired. All of them have been rejected by the organizations defending blind and disabled persons rights. Most of them are “copy and paste” proposals from the publishing industry´s wish list. Not one EU proposal this week in Geneva was to facilitate the right to read of disabled persons as guaranteed by international law. Not one member of the EU´s delegation was a human rights or disability expert; all were hard-line copyright apologists.
Basically, they seem to see this as a war, where any exception is seen as "giving in" on copyright. This is insane. This is not about rational minds looking for the proper calibration of the law, or understanding the real impacts of the law. This appears to be about pure copyright religion, where "more" must be better, and any exception, no matter how reasonable, is seen as a sin. Shameful.
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Filed Under: access, acta, blind, deaf, sopa


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  1. identicon
    CK20XX, 23 Oct 2012 @ 6:56am

    Copyright is dead.

    Hes been strangled to death by the RIAA, MPAA, and all associated industries who kept squeezing him harder and harder in an effort to make him do what they wanted. Their motives were unclear, having something to do with calling ordinary internet users pirates and attempting to exterminate them en masse, but thanks to the abuse and cruelty they inflicted upon the late Mr. Copyright, he wasnt even able to stumble out to his first real assignment. All that remains of him today is a dried, meaningless corpse. His eldest surviving relation, Trademark, has expressed shock and horror over how corporations and studios keep trying to make Copyright work by animating his body like a marionette and has been demanding that the body be returned to him and his family for proper burial.

    Theres been an outpouring of sympathy from all corners of the world. One aspiring author we interviewed, a Mr. CK20XX, said, Copyright had always been a warm, comforting presence for nobodies like me hoping to make it big on hopes and dreams. His job was to protect us for a brief amount of years so we could learn to stand on our own feet without being pummeled by bullies. I had heard rumors of his abduction for a while, but it wasnt until recently that I learned the full extent of the atrocities that had been inflicted on him and are still being committed in his name. Theres just no words for the injustice that has transpired.

    The news of his passing has become a rallying call in the technology sector, especially for Techdirt, Ars Technica, Slashdot, Reddit, and Demand Progress. Theyve been at the forefront of a combined effort to bring the Hollywood-style-villains-who-are-really-actually-from-Hollywood to justice.

    The void left by Mr. Copyrights passing has left up-and-coming artists and entertainers in an uncomfortable position. Im not worried about torrenting, Mr. CK20XX said. Sharing is a natural part of life, and the people who download movies and comics and such online mainly do so because they are there, because they are free, cool-looking treats they happen to find floating around, so each download is not a lost sale or something. But with Copyright gone Im honestly a little scared. Who will do his job now? This novel Im working on is my brainchild; I feel that if I only accomplish one thing in life, it has to be this. But the people who has been defiling his corpse have created such a hostile climate that sometimes I feel tempted to believe that every download really is a lost sale. Its not for any rational reason, its just because these are fearful times, and Im fighting to keep them from overpowering me. Ive heard that Copyright had friends named Creative Commons and Kickstarter, so Im considering going to them now. Maybe they can point me in the right direction at least.

    Though the technology exists to return Mr. Copyright to life if his body is retrieved, the possibility seems unlikely. The people in possession of his body now have brought shame and ruin to his reputation, leading to a consensus among the public that he should just be laid to rest to preserve whatever amount of dignity he may still have left.

    When authorities were asked to comment on any possible investigation involving the RIAA, MPAA, and Mr. Copyrights death, they said, Mind your own business.

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