Culture

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
access, acta, blind, deaf, sopa



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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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2012 @ 7:51am

    Re: Human rights or copyright regulation precedent

    In Europe DMCA is a wet dream of a system. Everything has to go through the rightholders and they therefore have all the power. What is holding back the number of cases is the costs and the human right treaties USA did not sign...

    Any kind of exception is something the copyright-industries fear in Europe since the cost of going to court and setting precedents there is high and even if they win, they lose popularity and do not get much money.

    In USA it is purely about protecting their advantages in certain industries. In Europe it is all about protecting the legal framework that exists today. If exceptions go through, USA will have some mad Hollywood studios and lose some income. EU, on the other hand, will have to fundamentally change how they legislate in the area.

    Don't get me wrong, it is very bad style, what they are doing and it is truely disgusting to see how dirty they fight. But there are reasons for the madness. Getting things through the parliament is problematic enough already. A completely rewritten framework for copyright and internet legislation will be a bloodbath.

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