[A2k] Mike Masnick: US Looking To Strip Fair Use & Other Key Protections From Copyright Treaty For The Blind from the this-is-helping-the-blind? dept

Manon Ress manon.ress at keionline.org
Thu Jun 6 08:56:24 PDT 2013

US Looking To Strip Fair Use & Other Key Protections From Copyright Treaty
For The Blind
from the this-is-helping-the-blind? dept
by Mike Masnick

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
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.


Manon Ress, Knowledge Ecology International, KEI
manon.ress at keionline.org, tel.: +1 202 332 2670
KEI is a not for profit non governmental organization that searches for
better outcomes, including new solutions, to the management of knowledge
resources. KEI is focused on social justice, particularly for the most
vulnerable populations, including low-income persons and marginalized

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