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Old 05-29-2009, 07:07 AM   #1
kacir
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USA, Canada and the EU attempt to kill treaty to protect blind people's access to wri

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Right now, in Geneva, at the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization, history is being made. For the first time in WIPO history, the body that creates the world's copyright treaties is attempting to write a copyright treaty dedicated to protecting the interests of copyright users, not just copyright owners.

At issue is a treaty to protect the rights of blind people and people with other disabilities that affect reading (people with dyslexia, people who are paralyzed or lack arms or hands for turning pages). This should be a slam dunk: who wouldn't want a harmonized system of copyright exceptions that ensure that it's possible for disabled people to get access to the written word?

The USA, that's who. The Obama administration's negotiators have joined with a rogue's gallery of rich country trade representatives to oppose protection for blind people. Other nations and regions opposing the rights of blind people include Canada and the EU.

Update: Also opposing rights for disabled people: Australia, New Zealand, the Vatican and Norway.

Activists at WIPO are desperate to get the word out. They're tweeting madly from the negotiation (technically called the 18th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights) publishing editorials on the Huffington Post, etc.

Here's where you come in: this has to get wide exposure, to get cast as broadly as possible, so that it will find its way into the ears of the obscure power-brokers who control national trade-negotiators.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:07 AM   #2
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No thanks. Disabled people have no more right to my commercially written words than someone who can't read English. Should non-English speakers be entitled to free copies of my work? What about the rights of the poor who can't afford it? Etc.

Last edited by sirbruce; 05-29-2009 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:09 AM   #3
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:29 AM   #4
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Have I missed something here? That post made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. What are they trying to accomplish here?
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:40 AM   #5
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This is potentially a hot topic and I'm posting as a moderator to say at the beginning of this new thread to remind all contributors that we should try to play nice and to be nice as we express our strong opinions.

(For those who know me through my postings, you know I love hot topics, controversial issues, and debate. I think you know where I'm coming from...)


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Old 05-29-2009, 08:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by sirbruce View Post
No thanks. Disabled people have no more right to my commercially written words than someone who can't read English. Should non-English speakers be entitled to free copies of my work? What about the rights of the poor who can't afford it? Etc.

*Unable to resist bait any longer. Clamps down onto hook*


They're not asking for it to be free, but to be able to convert it into a format that they can use. Which to me doesn't seem unreasonable.
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:05 AM   #7
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I think the underlying reason is not a unconcern for disabled people, it is to stop the precedent that users can use the law to get better terms (for readers) for copyright. Sort of like a business fighting a union's formation by any means available or the rolling of the tanks in Hungary in 1956...
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
I think the underlying reason is not a unconcern for disabled people, it is to stop the precedent that users can use the law to get better terms (for readers) for copyright. Sort of like a business fighting a union's formation by any means available or the rolling of the tanks in Hungary in 1956...
And to continue the FUNDAMENTALLY dishonest assertions we have seen from the writer's guild apologists for literally months now.
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:45 AM   #9
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No thanks. Disabled people have no more right to my commercially written words than someone who can't read English. Should non-English speakers be entitled to free copies of my work? What about the rights of the poor who can't afford it? Etc.
No. This is not about blind person getting your book for free.

This is about the blind person that needs to convert his legally purchased book into format he can use with his read-aloud software.

Stripping DRM from a legally purchased e-book so the user that paid for the content can personally use it on a device of his choice is a CRIME in increasing number of jurisdictions. This is about creating legal way for disabled people to use DRM-crippled content using technical means that they are able to use.
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by kacir View Post
No. This is not about blind person getting your book for free.
I'm sure sirbruce knows that. He's just trolling.
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:43 AM   #11
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Apparently the groups opposed to this are in favor of a "free market solution". I'm amazed that the group with a monopoly that extends 50-70 years after death and takes the stance of play by our rules or not at all is lobbying for a free market solution. I'm sorry but the true free market solution is to abolish copyright.

The existing copyright laws need to be balanced with the recognition of consumer rights and when the copyright holders don't understand this ... well unfortunately this means more legislation.
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:48 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cheese bogart View Post
They're not asking for it to be free, but to be able to convert it into a format that they can use. Which to me doesn't seem unreasonable.
Uh, no, you're mistaken. They're talking about granting the right of reproduction without compensation to the copyright holder.

http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/deta...eting_id=17458

Bruce

Last edited by sirbruce; 05-29-2009 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by sirbruce View Post
Uh, no, you're mistaken. They're talking about granting the right of reproduction without compensation to the copyright holder.
You do realize that exceptions already exist in US copyright law? They basically say that if the copyright holder refuses to make the material available in a format usable by the disabled, then someone else can. However, as long as the holder or an authorized agent makes it available, then you still have to buy it from them.

This isn't about getting it for free, this is about being able to get it at all.

BTW: "someone else" being a state body, or else a non-profit specifically dedicated to helping the disabled.

Last edited by Shaggy; 05-29-2009 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by kacir View Post
No. This is not about blind person getting your book for free.

This is about the blind person that needs to convert his legally purchased book into format he can use with his read-aloud software.

Stripping DRM from a legally purchased e-book so the user that paid for the content can personally use it on a device of his choice is a CRIME in increasing number of jurisdictions. This is about creating legal way for disabled people to use DRM-crippled content using technical means that they are able to use.
I'm afraid you need to read the proposal. Here's the a relevant portion:

http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/html.../sccr_18_5.doc

Quote:
Article 4. Limitations and Exceptions to Exclusive Rights Under Copyright


(a) It shall be permitted without the authorisation of the owner of copyright to make an accessible format of a work, supply that accessible format, or copies of that format, to a visually impaired person by any means, including by non-commercial lending or by electronic communication by wire or wireless means, and undertake any intermediate steps to achieve these objectives, when all of the following conditions are met:


1. the person or organisation wishing to undertake any activity under this provision has lawful access to that work or a copy of that work;

2. the work is converted to an accessible format, which may include any means needed to navigate information in the accessible format, but does not introduce changes other than those needed to make the work accessible to a visually impaired person;

3. copies of the work are supplied exclusively to be used by visually impaired persons; and

4. the activity is undertaken on a non-profit basis.

(b) A visually impaired person to whom a work is communicated by wire or wireless means as a result of activity under paragraph (a) shall be permitted without the authorisation of the owner of copyright to copy the work exclusively for his or her own personal use. This provision is without prejudice to any other limitations and exceptions that a person is able to enjoy.


(c) The rights under paragraph (a) shall also be available to for profit-entities and shall be extended to permit commercial rental of copies in an accessible format, if any of the following conditions are met:


1. the activity is undertaken on a for-profit basis, but only to the extent that those uses fall within the normal exceptions and limitations to exclusive rights that are permitted without remuneration to the owners of copyright;

2. the activity is undertaken by a for-profit entity on a non-profit basis, only to extend access to works to the visually impaired on an equal basis with others; or

3. the work or copy of the work that is to be made into an accessible format is not reasonably available in an identical or largely equivalent format enabling access for the visually impaired, and the entity providing this accessible format gives notice to the owner of copyright of such use and adequate remuneration to copyright owners is available.


(d) In determining if a work is reasonably available in (c)(3), the following shall be considered:


1. for developed economies, the work must be accessible and available at a similar or lower price than the price of the work available to persons who are not visually impaired; and


2. for developing countries, the work must be accessible and available at prices that are affordable, taking into account disparities of incomes for persons who are visually impaired.

In other words, the visually disadvantaged can get it for free. Everyone else will have to renumerate the copyright owners on "adequate" terms not determined by the copyright owner.

So, for example, if I sell my book for $10, and the Virginia M. Woolf foundation makes a large-format version of that book without my authorization, they can sell or rent it to everyone, at the lower price they choose, for their profit, on indeterminate renumeration terms that are going to be set by the government, not by my contract.

Last edited by sirbruce; 05-29-2009 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:08 AM   #15
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Your link isn't working now (goes to a different page instead of bringing up the document), so I can't quote it directly.

But you missed the part in there where it said that the exceptions DO NOT APPLY if the work is originally available in an accessible format.

Quote:
So, for example, if I sell my book for $10, and the Virginia M. Woolf foundation makes a large-format version of that book without my authorization, they can sell or rent it to everyone, at the price they choose, for their profit, on indeterminate renumeration terms that are going to be set by statute, not by my contract.
Only if you refuse to offer one yourself. As long as you make a version available that meets the requirements for being accessible to the disabled, then you retain control and profits.

BTW, all of this already exists in US copyright law.
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