US stonewalling treaty that would help disabled people access copyrighted works


9 Responses to “US stonewalling treaty that would help disabled people access copyrighted works”

  1. This is absurd. I don’t understand how Mr. Adler can go on record saying that despite the benefit that would be gained by perceptually handicapped people, he’s unwilling to allow the treaty to go forward because it would set a precedent! How does he sleep?

    As for Senator Lahey, he opposes the treaty because it would require amending the US domestic law. I’m sorry Senator, but enacting, repealing and modifying laws IS YOUR ONLY REASON FOR EXISTING! The statement can easily be re-phrased to say: “Senator Lahey opposes the treaty becuase it would force him to do his job”.

    This is truly pathetic. It’s stories like this that shake one’s confidence in humanity to the core. Shame!

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      Admitting that these shameless proponents of the ‘blind agenda’ have rights would be a dark step down the slippery slope of admitting that consumers in general might have rights… Somebody has to take a stand.

      Next thing you know, they’ll be demanding a DMCA exemption so that they can use their filthy, criminal, circumvention tools on our precious premium content under the guise of needing a screen reader…

      • The worst of all this (in my humble opinion) is that the U.S. exports its policy internationally. Here in Canada, the Federal Government just passed a copyright law heavily influenced by the DMCA and even more heavily influenced by the USTR’s agenda on IP.

        This is unacceptable to me as a Canadian. The U.S. needs to end this culture of exporting its laws and values to places where they’re not wanted or just don’t fit. Canada is not the 51st State!

        • austinhamman says:

           i assure you, no one in america thinks of canada as the 51st state…more like puerto rico, kinda part of america but not with any voting rights,or protection under the constitution, or representation or choice in your law.

          • Culturedropout says:

             I tend to think of it more as, “That place where I’m going to seek asylum if Romney manages to steal the election.”

  2. Robert Martinengo says:

    Whats strange is that some of the groups now supporting a treaty were responsible for the 1996 Chafee amendment that cut off exports of accessible materials. If this issue was on their radar in 1985, why didn’t they include it in the amendment?

    Here is a snip from the 1997 National Federation of the Blind Presidential Report:

    “Last summer, only a few weeks after the close of our 1996 National Convention, Congress took decisive action to amend the Copyright Act. The new provisions relating to blindness, which became effective in September, were drafted jointly by the National Federation of the Blind and the Association of American Publishers. At our request Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island sponsored the legislation.

    The new law authorizes nonprofit organizations or government agencies to reproduce books and other material in special formats that can be used by the blind. No permission is required from the copyright holder. Braille, voice recording, or electronic formats may be used. The role of the National Federation of the Blind in negotiating the agreement with the Association of American Publishers and in taking the result to Congress will make a lasting positive difference in the lives of the blind of our nation, and similar legislation has been adopted in Canada and is currently being considered in Italy and elsewhere.”

    Sounds like they left their international colleagues to fend for themselves.

  3. Robert Martinengo says:

    Truth is, copyright law has never been a significant contributor to the so-called ‘book famine’ for the blind, nor will a treaty have a significant impact on ending it. The debate over a treaty has been marred by a shortage of critical thinking and an excess of empty posturing.

    The real barrier has always been cost. Publishing in accessible formats has simply been too expensive to allow the majority of books to be made accessible. But now, finally, digital publishing is ready to deliver the accessibility promise of ‘same book, same time, same cost’, which is why the DAISY Consortium has moved so strongly to merge with the EPUB standard. This kind of integration is what should be promoted and funded by publishers and disability advocates.

    The irony is that pushing through a treaty will only make print-disabled people more dependent on government and charity largess just when the opportunity is ripe for truly inclusive digital publishing to take hold. Also, justifying a treaty on the basis of the perceived needs of ‘developing’ countries smacks of colonialism. If anything, lets help those countries build up their own publishing businesses instead of relying on ‘foreign imports’.

    The reality is that a treaty would help enforce a form of ‘digital apartheid’, where the distinction between mainstream and ‘accessible’ publishing, and segregation between mainstream and disabled readers, would be encoded in international
    law. Now that would be shameful.

  4. Claude Almansi says:

    Google-plussed: . Let’s share this widely, as the White House is going to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act with a discussion on July 26. The US position on this treaty  should be part of that discussion.

  5. Jason Conort says:

    If its not in big business interests, the United States will not support it. It is the driving force behind all policy choices, and considering the apathy of the public in general, this will not change any time soon.

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