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
    Robert Reed Daly (profile), 24 Oct 2012 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re: Mike too is holding "Blind & Deaf Access Rights" as cloak

    I myself have other things that I must attend to & it was not my intent to turn this thread into a epic discussion of Ayn Rand. (Particularly
    since she was not the subject of the article). So unless you say something that I feel necessitates a further rebuttal I'll let this be my final comment ( & it is related to the post).

    You wrote:

    Those who consume culture (even if it's mere entertainment) can't be held hostage to the "needs" of the few (content producers), no matter their plight. That path leads quickly to endless "entitled" demands."...

    And I just love when people can't see how self contradicting Ayn Rand's Objectivism is, "Don't regulate business --except when those regulations (copyright and patents) are beneficial to business". Which of course goes against the stated purpose of copyrights and patents; to promote progress --not to promote the profits of businesses.

    This is simply not a accurate presentation of Rand's views.
    She did not believe that we should "not regulate businesses except when those regulations are beneficial to businesses."
    She believed that the state should protect individual rights & should not violate them. She was a minarchist , not a anarchist. That does mean that the state should protect individual rights,including property rights,but she expressly rejected the idea that the government should be "pro-business" or "pro-worker" . She believed that it should simply protect the individual rights of all people businessmen,workers,producers,consumers,the blind,the sighted,the deaf,the hearing etc. For example if a company tried to steal the patent of a impoverished person,she would support the impoverished inventor's rights over the corporation.
    This is no more a contradiction than it would be a "contradiction" to argue that your landlord cannot violate your lease & evict you without cause,while simultaneously arguing that the tenant also cannot violate the terms of his lease with impunity.
    Obviously some would argue that protecting intellectual property rights "benefits the strong at the expense of the weak" ,& some believe that the deaf or blind have a "positive right" to be provided with books,but that was not how she thought,& your statement may convey the impression that she believed that the state should be "pro-business",when she believed that it should side with businessmen when they are the victims of injustice but which also means opposing them when they violate individual rights. As to IP she rejected the rationale offered by the Constitution that Copyright existed to to promote progress & the arts & sciences. She instead believed that creators had a right to their IP because it was the product of their labor. That said,it does not follow that she regarded IP rights as being identical in form to conventional property rights. From what I understand she believed in Fair Use,& I think she would also support a person's right to make private copies of the books that they had purchased. So she might believe that the deaf or blind person could buy a book & then have it adapted so that they could personally use it . I don't think that she would oppose you copying the text of a book that you purchased & magnifying it,or scanning it into your computer & then having it read aloud by a computer etc. But I think that she would oppose any argument that, because the blind/deaf needed books,that some publisher could then make copies of the books en-masse for the blind or deaf without paying any kind of licensing fee to the content creator.
    So yes she did believe in intellectual property rights,but she did not automatically accept any position of the MPAA . I find it difficult to imagine that she would support SOPA given its threat to the DNS & due to its due process concerns.
    I emphasize this last because there is a disagreement ( to put it mildly) between Adam Mossoff ( a pro-SOPA Objectivist law professor, mentioned on this site previously)
    & his allies on the one hand (who share his view that SOPA has been targeted by "vicious lies", ) ,& myself & others who believe that SOPA is a threat to all of our rights,not because it protects IP rights,but because it violates the rights of those who have not infringed on IP rights.

    Patents and Copyrights Ayn Rand Lexicon

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