US Looking To Strip Fair Use & Other Key Protections From Copyright Treaty For The Blind

from the this-is-helping-the-blind? dept

We had just pointed out that the MPAA is now pretending to be in support of a copyright treaty for the blind, despite its lobbyists doing all sort of things to try to block it. Now we have reports from Geneva, via Jamie Love, that the US is opposing important language in the treaty, which is part of the reason that it's still being held up. First, as noted in the link above, the US is opposing the following footnote, which may seem like a small deal:
It is understood that Contracting Parties who are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) acknowledge all the principles and objectives of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and understand that nothing in this Treaty affects the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, including, but not limited to, the provisions relating to anti-competitive practices.
As Love notes, similar language has appeared in a variety of other agreements, including ACTA and the Beijing Treaty (which would give Hollywood stars their own special copyrights). Why is this language important? Because TRIPS includes key provisions that allow countries to make some of their own decisions about how they implement the agreements, to protect the public's rights. But, the content industry doesn't want that same language in this treaty, which is focused on the public's rights, because they're afraid it will, once again, open the door to countries expanding the public's rights, and pushing back on egregious copyright restrictions on those rights.

As if to drive that point home, in a later update emailed from Love, he notes that the US is now also trying to get the phrase "fair practices, dealings or uses" deleted from the following section of the treaty:
"Contracting parties may fulfill their rights and obligations under this Treaty through, exceptions or limitations, specifically for the benefit of beneficiary persons,other exceptions or limitations,or a combination thereof within their national legal traditions/systems. These may include judicial, administrative or regulatory determinations for the benefit of beneficiary persons as to fair practices, dealings or uses to meet their needs."
In other words, it's just as we said the MPAA is trying to do: sure they claim they want a treaty to help the blind, but not if it includes anything even remotely suggesting an expansion of the public's fair use rights. So, here, they're "fine" with helping the blind get access to works, but not if it's done via fair use.


Filed Under: blind, copyright, fair use, treaty, trips, wipo

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  1. icon
    special-interesting (profile), 6 Jun 2013 @ 11:13am

    There is nothing wrong with putting the relevant sections of Blind Treaty under Fair Use (Rights). The only thing preventing such a simple categorization is what? The Panicking of a copy-exception (right) support group a hundred times more massive than the entire Blind and Blind-support community?

    Do they see their massive Monopoly crumbling down because of one chip in the verbal/literary column? Maybe. And. For gumming up a perfectly workable treaty for the Visually Impared with political monopolistic nonsense... Fine.

    In any case imagined will the copyright industry stop at just trying to recategorize Fair Use for the Blind community? No way. If they felt frightened by such a small thing as that then there is no appeasing them. Ever. Wont happen. Its likely they will be obstructionist forever regardless of what they speak or say. More cigarette argument lies.

    Until the MPAA entered the scene this was a treaty that everyone (almost) totally agreed upon. Did they understand the high(er) rate of suicide among the Def- Blind and Blind? The utter hopelessness of having everyone around you try to describe a world that you can never visually interpret nor see? Having to pay more for things that others take for granted.

    It is correct to say that people are dying because of the selfish obstructionism of the copyright industry. What we are experiencing is not semantics but literal obstruction for the glory and expansion of a copyright empire that has already crushed the uncrushable American Culture of Freedom. (while the baby slept?)

    Freedom for the Blind community? Ha! Such a long way to go for even such a humanitarian goal as that. Hell. Basic Bill of Rights freedoms have been washed away years ago. All for what? Hollywood Accounting Principles? Hollywood? Porno film stars?

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