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. icon
    Keroberos (profile), 23 Oct 2012 @ 7:06am

    Re:

    Doesn't look like anything specific, just wording that's open to interpretation, and when applied a specific way could against what the treaty is supposed to be about.

    For example:
    [A Member State/Contracting Party may confine limitations or exceptions under this Article to published works which, in the particular accessible format, cannot be obtained commercially under reasonable terms, including at prices that take account of the needs and incomes of beneficiary persons in that market.]
    Who gets to define those "reasonable terms"? Some government agency, or the publisher (and is there a difference between the two)?
    [Provided that prior to the making available or distribution the originating authorized entity did not know or have reasonable grounds to know that the accessible format copy would be used for other than beneficiary persons.]
    How can anyone know this? The wording is very weaselly, you can claim that anyone that distributes any work electronically has "reasonable grounds to know that the accessible format copy would be used for other than beneficiary persons", this is the nature of the internet--if it's digital, it's being pirated somewhere.
    [Contracting Parties/Member States, in their national [law/legislation], shall/should provide [additional/any] limitations or exceptions [in conformity with/as per Article Bbis of] this treaty/instrument [only] in certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holder.]
    Again, who gets to define this?

    Haven't had a chance to dig too deep into this, but on the surface it looks like their trying to add things which would discourage people from providing accessible works out of fear of falling afoul of some obscure provision (or shutting them down using those provisions)--which is what they tried to do with SOPA\ACTA.

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