[nfb-talk] Fw: [BlindLikeMe] Copyright TreatyBackingE-Books Survives Resistance From US and EU

Ray Foret jr rforetjr at comcast.net
Thu Jun 11 01:48:20 UTC 2009

Well, this entire article is sent to us by a fellow (Cory Doctoroe) who 
relies on the Huffington Post.  Know what that is?  I'll tell yuh.  It's a 
leftist anti-American anti-Vatican web site that is nothing but hate hate 
hate hate!!!  Frankly, I think it's beneath Our normal professional 
standards in the NFB to rely on such third party leftist tripe for factual 
information.  I'm not just disappointed here, I'm EXTREMELY disappointed!!! 
I thought we vetting things better than this!!!

The Constantly BAREFOOTED Ray

"Old friend, what are you looking for?  After those many years abroad you 
come With images you tended Under foreign skies Far away from your own land"
George Seferis

Phone or Fax::
+1 (985) 360-3614
+1 (985) 791-2938
Skype Name:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John G. Heim" <jheim at math.wisc.edu>
To: "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 4:36 PM
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Fw: [BlindLikeMe] Copyright TreatyBackingE-Books 
Survives Resistance From US and EU

The Vatican didn't exactly oppose it. It's just that they are part of "Group
B" and Group b opposed it. No doubt, the voices of the United States, the
United Kindom, and the European Union carried the day within Group B.

Too bad I'm in your killfile, TJC. Last week I posted a link to an article
on copyright.gov that addressed these issues.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "T. Joseph Carter" <carter.tjoseph at gmail.com>
To: "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: "NFB of Florida Listserv" <nfbf-l at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:42 PM
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Fw: [BlindLikeMe] Copyright Treaty BackingE-Books
Survives Resistance From US and EU

> My question is why does the Vatican oppose it?  The Vatican does nothing
> without a reason, and going around denying scholarly pursuit to people
> with disabilities isn't the sort of thing cardinals do without
> justification.  This suggests to me that there is something in particular
> that the treaty requires, and it may not be obvious to us sitting here
> talking about it.
> I'll enquire next week of the appropriate office.
> Joseph
> On Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 02:47:17PM -0400, Sherri wrote:
>> I don't understand why the U.S. opposes this policy. Guess they don't
>> want blind people to read.
>> Sherri
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Claudia" <cdelreal1973 at sbcglobal.net>
>> To: <our-safe-haven at googlegroups.com>;
>> <makinghouseworkeasier at googlegroups.com>
>> Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 6:15 PM
>> Subject: Fw: [BlindLikeMe] Copyright Treaty Backing E-Books Survives
>> Resistance From US and EU
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: Victor
>>> To: Blind Like Me Listserv
>>> Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 4:52 AM
>>> Subject: [BlindLikeMe] Copyright Treaty Backing E-Books Survives
>>> Resistance
>>> From US and EU
>>> Cross-Border Sharing of Books for Disabled Users Survives Resistance
>>> From
>>> the EU and US
>>> Copyright treaty backing e-books for disabled readers survives US and EU
>>> resistance
>>> Copyright treaty backing e-books for disabled readers survives US and EU
>>> resistance
>>> OUT-LAW News, 03/06/2009
>>> A proposed treaty that would change copyright laws to allow the supply
>>> of
>>> books across borders for the benefit of blind people has survived
>>> resistance
>>> from the US, UK, France, Germany and other countries.
>>> A committee of the World Intellectual Property Organisation agreed on
>>> Friday
>>> "to continue without delay" its work on "facilitating the access of
>>> blind,
>>> visually-impaired and other reading-disabled persons to
>>> copyright-protected
>>> works."
>>> At the heart of this work is a treaty proposed by the charitable
>>> organisation World Blind Union (WBU) and written with the help of the
>>> UK's
>>> Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) .
>>> RNIB campaign manager Dan Pescod attended the five-day meeting in
>>> Geneva.
>>> Pescod told OUT-LAW today that the UK and the US were among a group of
>>> countries that did not support the treaty and preferred 'soft options',
>>> though they stopped short of formally opposing it.
>>> Around 95% of books are never published in any format other than
>>> standard
>>> print, according to the WBU. But visually impaired people need books in
>>> other formats, such as large print, Braille and audio. People with other
>>> disabilities, such as cognitive impairments, can also find themselves
>>> 'print
>>> disabled'.
>>> "Imagine if you walked into a bookshop or library, and were told that
>>> you
>>> were only allowed to choose from five percent of the books on the
>>> shelf,"
>>> said WBU president Dr William Rowland in a speech last year. "What would
>>> such a limited choice do to your education, to your leisure reading
>>> opportunities?"
>>> The WBU, RNIB and others have prepared a draft treaty that would relax
>>> copyright restrictions to allow the creation and supply of accessible
>>> books
>>> without the need for prior permission from the copyright owner. The
>>> treaty
>>> requires this generally to be done on a non-profit basis.
>>> In some countries, it is already legal to create accessible books
>>> without
>>> permission. It was made legal in the UK by the Copyright (Visually
>>> Impaired
>>> Persons) Act, passed in 2002. But that law is limited in scope. The
>>> rights
>>> are limited to visually-impaired persons - so while a person with
>>> dyslexia
>>> might benefit from a large-print book, or an electronic book which can
>>> be
>>> played using text-to-speech conversion software, the law does not
>>> facilitate
>>> that person.
>>> Also, the UK law, like equivalent laws in other countries, does not
>>> allow
>>> the supply of a digital book to a customer overseas.
>>> The WBU treaty, if signed and ratified in its present form, would lift
>>> these
>>> restrictions. It seeks to protect all 'reading disabled' persons and it
>>> allows the supply across borders of accessible works, as a Braille hard
>>> copy
>>> or as an e-book. At present, a tiny fraction of books that are available
>>> in
>>> accessible formats can be supplied across borders because their export
>>> requires the agreement of rights holders.
>>> Pescod said publishers have until recently seen little money to be made
>>> from
>>> converting books into accessible formats, meaning that the work is
>>> normally
>>> done by voluntary organisations like RNIB.
>>> "If we make an accessible version of a book in the UK and want to send
>>> that
>>> to another English-speaking country where they don't have the resources
>>> to
>>> make books accessible, we should be able to do that," he said. "But the
>>> copyright law as it stands doesn't allow the transfer of that accessible
>>> info. The exceptions in place in national legislations stop at the
>>> border."
>>> The preamble to the treaty notes that "90 percent of visually-impaired
>>> persons live in countries of low or moderate incomes." These countries
>>> tend
>>> to have the most limited ranges of accessible works, hence the need for
>>> a
>>> right to supply across borders.
>>> Pescod said that voluntary organisations in Chile, Columbia, Mexico,
>>> Nicaragua and Uruguay have only 8,517 books in alternative formats
>>> between
>>> them. However, Argentina has 63,000 books and Spain 102,000. All these
>>> countries speak Spanish. . Spain and Argentina will not share their
>>> libraries with their Latin American colleagues, though, for fear of
>>> breaking
>>> copyright laws, he said.
>>> The proposed treaty would also allow for the circumvention of digital
>>> rights
>>> management (DRM) where necessary to render a work accessible. Some books
>>> are
>>> published in a digital format that is not compatible with the assistive
>>> technologies used by disabled people.
>>> Lobbying for legislative change in the UK, the RNIB noted recently that
>>> DRM
>>> schemes "can react to assistive technology as if it were an illicit
>>> operation." It also said that "while e-book readers may have the
>>> facility to
>>> reproduce synthetic speech, the rights holder can apply a level of
>>> security
>>> which prevents this from working."
>>> The WBU treaty would allow a company to buy an e-book, hack the DRM and
>>> redistribute a DRM-free version of the work, provided copies are
>>> supplied
>>> exclusively for disabled customers.
>>> Pescod said that main objective of RNIB and the WBU for the week was to
>>> have
>>> the treaty formally proposed within the WIPO committee. Their second
>>> objective was to have it accepted as a viable proposal. "These were
>>> met," he
>>> said. "Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay tabled the treaty as a proposal."
>>> That put the treaty before WIPO's Standing Committee on Copyright and
>>> Related Rights. It was strongly supported by delegates representing
>>> South
>>> American, African and Asian countries. "India and China were
>>> particularly
>>> supportive," said Pescod. Wealthier countries, it seems, were less
>>> enthusiastic.
>>> "Many publishers and rights holders and some states say we need a 'soft'
>>> solution," said Pescod. "RNIB should work with rights holders and others
>>> to
>>> resolve this, they say."
>>> Pescod said these groups want a 'stakeholder platform' to discuss the
>>> sharing of files, but not a treaty. "We're more than happy to speak," he
>>> said. "But where we part company is that the stakeholder platform is
>>> looking
>>> at one set of solutions only." It would address some technical
>>> challenges,
>>> he said; but it would not address other issues, including the production
>>> of
>>> unprofitable Braille works, or the extra work needed to describe images.
>>> "We're insisting that you need to work with rights holders - and we'll
>>> continue to do that - but we still need a treaty which would do three
>>> things: encourage national copyright exceptions for disabled people in
>>> all
>>> countries; allow transfer of accessible books in all countries; and
>>> allow
>>> tightening of rules on DRM systems that can block accessibility."
>>> "No country opposed the proposal [for a treaty] outright," said Pescod.
>>> "Those who wanted to suggest that they weren't happy with it used more
>>> coded
>>> language, like saying discussions were 'premature' or that they wanted
>>> to
>>> take it back home and discuss it [at a national level]."
>>> The published conclusions of the committee include the unattributed
>>> objection "that deliberations regarding any instrument would be
>>> premature."
>>> "Those attacking this [treaty] fear it is going to undermine copyright
>>> law,"
>>> he said. "We disagree completely. Ensuring access for a bunch of people
>>> who
>>> the market was not selling to in the first place doesn't undermine
>>> copyright
>>> law."
>>> "This whole idea that it's 'premature' is bizarre," he said. "A WIPO and
>>> UNESCO working group looked at this in 1982. If that's premature, at
>>> what
>>> point does it become mature and ready to go?"
>>> Pescod said that support for the stakeholder platform instead of a
>>> treaty is
>>> coming only from those who are not disabled. "They're not blind and they
>>> know better? I would question that," he said.
>>> The UK was represented in two capacities: as a member of the European
>>> Union
>>> and as a member of the so-called 'Group B' countries, a WIPO term that
>>> refers to 17 EU member states, the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, New
>>> Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the Vatican. Neither the EU nor Group B
>>> representatives supported the proposal. "Both are sceptical," said
>>> Pescod.
>>> According to another meeting attendee, James Love of Knowledge Ecology
>>> International, a group that promotes access to knowledge, the opposition
>>> from the US and other high-income countries "is due to intense lobbying
>>> from
>>> a large group of publishers that oppose a 'paradigm shift', where
>>> treaties
>>> would protect consumer interests, rather than expand rights for
>>> copyright
>>> owners."
>>> Ville Oksanen, a member of European digital rights group EDRi said Group
>>> B
>>> and the EU "did their best to derail the process of getting the treaty
>>> under
>>> serious consideration." He described the given reasons as "rather
>>> perplexing" and described them as excuses designed to avoid being seen
>>> as
>>> opposing help for disabled people.
>>> "It remains to be seen how sceptical they will be next time," said
>>> Pescod.
>>> "At the end of the day, though, we are happy with the way things went."
>>> On Friday night the WIPO copyright committee reached agreement to
>>> discuss
>>> the treaty at its next meeting in November, in spite of the objections.
>>> In
>>> the meantime, the committee's conclusions note that "Member States will
>>> continue to consult on these issues at national level and report on the
>>> activities and views on possible solutions."
>>> James Love is confident that the treaty will make progress.
>>> "Group B came in the May [copyright committee] meeting to block any
>>> agreement to discuss a treaty," he told OUT-LAW. "We'll be back in
>>> November,
>>> discussing a treaty. The members of Group B will not be able to
>>> consistently
>>> avoid dealing with the treaty proposal. They will have to say yes or no
>>> in
>>> terms of moving this forward, and to explain why."
>>> "The core issue will be, what will it take to liberalize the
>>> cross-border
>>> movement of accessible works created under copyright limitations and
>>> exceptions?" said Love. "Given how harsh the access reality is for
>>> people
>>> who are blind or have other reading disabilities, Group B cannot long
>>> avoid
>>> addressing this topic. There will be more and more data, and fewer and
>>> fewer
>>> chances to claim strategic ignorance." <
>>> http://www.out-law.com/page-10059
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