Just this morning we were pointing out the MPAA's long history
of attacking fair use. We noted that this often happened in international fora, where the MPAA and others would seek to block fair use in treaties and push rules that would limit or reject the possibility of fair use. And, just like clockwork, up pops an example. Apparently the "fair use defenders" at the MPAA are working overtime to get the White House to back down on promises
concerning the decades-long negotiations for a treaty
to help blind people not get screwed over by copyright law. The US has flip flopped on this issue over the past few years, but apparently had finally made some concessions that were allowing the process to move forward. The MPAA wants to kill all of that.
In Geneva this week the US government is taking a harder line in the WIPO negotiations for a treaty on copyright exceptions for the blind, and the reason is simple -- lobbyists for the MPAA and publishers have been all over the White House, demanding a retreat from compromises made in February, and demanding that the Obama Administration push new global standards for technical protection measures, strip the treaty text of any reference to fair use and fair dealing, and impose new financial liabilities on libraries that serve blind people. So far the industry lobbying has worked, and the White House has sided with publishers against blind people. Dan Pescod from the World Blind Union says the conditions the USA are imposing are so severe the treaty "won't work", if they are included in the final text.
I guess they figure that blind people don't watch too many movies, so screw 'em. Apparently, it's so bad that even some US negotiators find the MPAA's actions unseemly.
Some US negotiators are uncomfortable with the intensive lobbying by the MPAA and other publishers, but dismayed by the lack of backbone in the White House to resist such pressures.
Yup, those "fair use defenders" at the MPAA sure do have the public's interest in mind, huh?