Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Books Your Rights Online

Copyright Industries Oppose Treaty For the Blind 135

Posted by kdawson
from the see-it-my-way dept.
langelgjm sends in a piece from Wired, which details the background of a proposed treaty to allow cross-border sharing of books for the blind — a treaty which is opposed by an almost unified front of business interests in the US, with the exception of Google. "A broad swath of American enterprise ranging from major software makers to motion picture and music companies are joining forces to oppose a new international treaty that would make books more accessible to the blind. With the exception of Google, almost every major industry player has expressed disapproval of the treaty, which would allow cross-border sharing of digitized books accessible to the blind and visually impaired. Google's chief copyright counsel believes the industry-wide opposition is mainly due to 'opposition to a larger agenda of limitations and exceptions... We believe this is an unproductive approach to solving what is a discrete, long-standing problem that affects a group that needs and deserves the protections of the international community.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Copyright Industries Oppose Treaty For the Blind

Comments Filter:
  • Rob you blind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @04:33PM (#30416914) Journal

    Extree! Extree! Read all about it! Copyright holders rob you blind!

    Seriously what the fuck do these jokers hope to gain? How much can you expect to profit in this niche market to begin with?

    I'm surprised the fuckers haven't hired thugs to go around and burn down public libraries.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@nOsPAm.gmail.com> on Saturday December 12, 2009 @04:40PM (#30416988) Homepage Journal

    Why would these business really oppose a treaty that would make life easier for one section of society. Are they afraid we would all rush out, buy some eye patches

    Well, a lot of people would rather just not have to do any extra work or shell out any extra money to create products to benefit the disabled. It might be inhuman, but it is easier to just forget about the less fortunate and sorta hope they die off or something rather than cramp your style helping them.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @04:48PM (#30417068)

    Ist der Ruf erst mal ruiniert, lebt sich's völlig ungeniert

    (Once your reputation is ruined, you can act without shame)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, 2009 @04:51PM (#30417106)
    I'll just resort to Bittorrent for my books, just as I do now. If the corporations that run the US and my own country's government oppose this, I don't give a shit. I refuse to let them take away my right to read.
  • Re:Rob you blind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WGFCrafty (1062506) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @04:51PM (#30417108)
    I'm sure your pressing dilemmas are on the same level of LACKING FUCKING EYESIGHT.

    This article doesn't talk about getting anything for free, maybe you should study it.

    proposed treaty to allow cross-border sharing of books for the blind

  • by KibibyteBrain (1455987) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @04:52PM (#30417124)
    They are not opposing this treater per se, but instead any treaty that would set exceptions to the status quo of copyrights. They view it as a threatening precedent to allow any exceptions to copyright law, because it might snowball into eventually allowing society to think about more radical change to copyright.
  • Re:Rob you blind (Score:1, Insightful)

    by pgmrdlm (1642279) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @04:54PM (#30417136) Journal

    I doubt you will find one blind person that wants your pity.

    Bet you will find every blind person wanting to tell you to shove your pity up your ass.

  • Re:Rob you blind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @04:58PM (#30417174)

    Ah yes, the entire "American" attitude of "I've got mine! Fuck you!"

    Well, sir, fuck you and fuck off.

    --
    BMO

  • Re:Rob you blind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davester666 (731373) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @05:01PM (#30417192) Journal

    "We believe this is an unproductive approach to solving what is a discrete, long-standing problem that affects a group that needs and deserves the protections of the international community".

    The affected group referred to by this sentence is, of course, copyright holders, and they believe the approach is unproductive because it fails to maximize their profits.

  • by fermion (181285) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @05:28PM (#30417392) Homepage Journal
    Some of this is simply laziness. For example, Building a computer interface that allowing real time scaling of screen blocks so that people with visual impairments can read them is not that hard, yet we did not see that in all major OS until the past five years. Web pages that allow screen reading is not a hugely complex, but many have made no effort to use screen reader.

    But some of this is manufactures trying to keep their inefficient subsided products from being made irrelevant. For instance, who needs a special TTY phone when every cell phone can text? Who needs a special large print books when any e-book can be set to use any size font? Who needs special books on tape when a computer can read a book. None of these may be as good as the specialized product, but the 'good enough' nature certainly appears to make the ingrained interests worried about their future.

    This does not even take account of the fact that technology is allowing some people to work who previously could not, increase the competition in the job market.

  • Re:Rob you blind (Score:2, Insightful)

    by davester666 (731373) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @05:42PM (#30417488) Journal

    It's not just physical books. This also relates other types of access, like audio books, where Amazon caved to publishers by disabling text to speech conversion in Kindles for books you purchase (which is just another case where corporations collude to deny you your fair-use rights in order to get more money out of you).

  • Re:Rob you blind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davester666 (731373) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @05:46PM (#30417524) Journal

    Oh, and this is about new technologies. Libraries are old-school, well entrenched. There would get a HUGE public uproar if they tried to revise copyright laws to stop the loaning of books for free. But for new technology, where rights and privileges aren't so fixed in how they work for the public, copyright holders have realized they need to minimize your rights now to maximize their profits now and later.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @05:57PM (#30417618) Journal

    They are not opposing this treater per se, but instead any treaty that would set exceptions to the status quo of copyrights. They view it as a threatening precedent to allow any exceptions to copyright law, because it might snowball into eventually allowing society to think about more radical change to copyright.

    More radical change to copyright?
    During the first 186 years of America, copyright doubled from 28 to 56 years.
    During the last 34 years, copyright has more or less doubled again to 95/120 or life + 70years.

    I think it's rather obvious who has been proposing the radical changes.

  • by bmo (77928) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @06:00PM (#30417646)

    "To be fair, copyright has nothing to do with a free market; it's state sanctioned monopolies and fundamentally incompatible with a free market."

    Yeah, I thought about that after my post. The publishing houses that are bent about this treaty remind me of the TARP corporate welfare recipients. "Give us stuff, but don't attach any strings, or we'll throw a fit."

    Copyright as it stands now is just another form of corporate welfare. Why does an author need to keep copyright after he's in the ground? For 90 years? So his descendants can suck on the public teat of rent-seeking? It's all just another version of the Iron Triangle.

    You're right. Abolish it.

    --
    BMO

  • Re:Rob you blind (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @06:03PM (#30417680)

    Godwin'ed. You lose.

    Of course the publishers did not, that's a ridiculous accusation/comparison.

  • Re:Rob you blind (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MoFoQ (584566) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @06:08PM (#30417730)

    it's not really free.
    Think of the price you'd have to pay for the rest of your life for these "free media".

    In fact, I implore you to try being blind for a day....see how far you go.

    Another thing, it's books (digitized form yes) not all media.
    I see no issues with loosening and standardizing restrictions to allow for Text-to-Speech.
    Currently, TTS is disabled on most ebooks (I personally think that's a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act...and I believe it was on slashdot [slashdot.org] as [slashdot.org] well [slashdot.org]
    ).

    Either way, I have a pet-peeve when it comes to profiting off people with disabilities or urgent needs (not "wants") which includes medicines.
    That's one of the ugliest sides to commercialism.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @06:13PM (#30417770)

    They're opposed to their rights being weakened in any way whatsoever. They DON'T CARE about anything else. They DON'T CARE about consumers. They DON'T CARE about the blind. It's all about ME ME ME, MY RIGHTS, and nobody else's.

    These companies VIGOROUSLY pursue their own rights. These companies vigorously pursue the ELIMINATION of ANYBODY ELSE's rights. They would rather the blind have no reading material at all than be allowed to impinge upon their rights, even in the most trivial of ways; and they will happily contrive even the most far-out absurd theories, in order to prove, they will lose lots of money due to a treaty like this.

    Also, Braille is not necessarily the only output... narration ("Audio" book is also possible), see TFA:

    Many WIPO nations, most in the industrialized world including England, the United States and Canada, have copyright exemptions that usually allow non-profit companies to market copyrighted works without permission. They scan and digitize books into the so-called universal Daisy format, which includes features like narration and digitized Braille.

    The Daisy Corp. Consortium, a Swiss-based international agency, controls formatting worldwide and has some 100 companies under its direction across the globe. The largest catalog rests in the United States, in which three non-profits, including the Library of Congress, host some half million digital titles produced by federal grants and donations.

    As it now stands, none of the nations may allow persons outside their borders to access these works, which are usually doled out for little or no charge. The treaty seeks to free up the cross-border sharing of the books for the blind.

    “People who oppose copyright exemptions oppose exemptions on principle that there should be no exemptions of copyright law,” says George Kerscher, Daisy’s general secretary. “They should have sole right and discretion to do what they want with their intellectual property. To a great extent, the opposition to the treaty is based on that principle.”

  • Re:the bottom line (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @06:40PM (#30417970) Homepage
    Rights? What rights? In my mind, copyright is by no definition a "right" - it is a legal means to restrict others from using their rights. No one has a right to that, only a power (of increasingly questionable morality) granted by the government.

    Remember, in all but a select few cases, a right is not given to you; it is the natural state. Even in those select cases where a right is granted, it tends to be a proxy of a natural right. Voting is a form of the right to choose your leaders, fair trials are the right to not be unjustly imprisoned; all natural rights that existed before governments ever existed.

    There is no right to control information; there is only a legal power to do so.
  • "right to read"? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @08:15PM (#30418540)

    I'll just resort to Bittorrent for my books, just as I do now. If the corporations that run the US and my own country's government oppose this, I don't give a shit. I refuse to let them take away my right to read.

    What part of being blind excuses you from having to pay for something the rest of us have to pay for? And, way to go supporting the companies that do publish material for you. This isn't the anime industry where fansubs were needed to help 'seed' the market outside Asia. You're stealing, plain and simple. If you don't like the copyright model, fine, don't buy. Read public-domain works like the classics, or free garbage like Cory Doctorow's stuff. I have a right to freely associate and travel, but that doesn't mean I get to ride the bus for free (unlike you) or show up to a show all my friends are at and not pay the cover charge.

    Also, you don't have a "right to read", nor does anyone else. Authors, newspapers, publishers, or bookstores publish what, where and when they want to, and the government is not allowed to control that; hence freedom of the PRESS. It doesn't mean you are entitled to braille or electronic versions of whatever you want. It doesn't mean you or anyone else has the right to walk into a library and demand a book, or steal a book - off the shelf or electronically.

    Sorry, but I get a little steamed when people start slinging around the words "I have a right to" or "my right to", or develop a sense of entitlement because of their disability. I also have friends who work for independent booksellers. They're not exactly rolling in the dough- they do it in part because they love literature. I also have friends who are authors, and they're not rolling in the dough either. It's years of writing, followed by a year+ of trying to find a publisher and get the thing edited, then months of promoting the book via tours. What do they get for their trouble? Pennies on the dollar per book. You think it's hard finding a book you want in braille? Try PUBLISHING a book.

    A relative told me years ago: "The world does not owe you a fucking thing." Guess what? The world doesn't owe YOU anything, either.

  • Re:Rob you blind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Saturday December 12, 2009 @09:02PM (#30418746) Homepage Journal

    You're right. Disabled people of any sort seldom want pity. But, they do expect a fair deal. If I can buy, borrow, sell, or otherwise transfer a more normal pinetree version of a book across borders, why can't blind people do the same with their versions? Huh? What's up with that? Special restrictions for the blind?

    I recognize no borders, BTW. Not for digital, or pine tree, or braille, or whatever. If some dude in Moscow has something I'm interested in, it's just the same as some other dude in Peoria having it.

  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @12:01PM (#30422998) Homepage

    however, you do not have the right to read a copyrighted book, unless the copyright holder has granted you permission to do so

    Well that's just plain wrong.

    The person who owns a copy of a book can restrict access to it, and refuse to let other people handle it unless and until they pay for it. However, that person may or may not be the copyright holder. Nor is it necessary that the books are even copyrighted.

    The copyright holder, meanwhile, has no rights as to a work or copies that the work is fixed within, except for the very specific rights set forth in the law, which themselves are full of exceptions.

    The copyright holder has the right to prohibit other people from making copies of the work, and has the right to prohibit other people from distributing copies of the work (both subject to many exceptions, e.g. the distribution right doesn't apply to people reselling lawfully made copies), but he does not have a right to prohibit other people reading books for which he holds the copyright. That right is just not in the law.

    So yes, Virginia, so long as you lawfully have physical access to a book -- something that the copyright holder cannot control once he has initially distributed it -- you have a right to read that book.

    After all, someone had to do go through a number of hoops to eventually release the book in a format you could read, and they deserve to be compensated for doing so.

    People do not always deserve to be compensated for things that they do. I once saved the princess in Super Mario Bros. but no one paid me for that. In fact, with regard to copyright policy, the smart thing is to not grant authors copyrights unless it was absolutely necessary in order to get them to create and publish their work. That's simple frugality, right there. Why pay if the author is willing to do it for free? Or at least for non-copyright related benefits, such as fame.

    You always have the choice to either pay for the book, or not buy it at all. Any other claim that you're 'entitled to X' is just bullshit.

    And in a country with a government that is legitimate because it is consented to by the people, who have a say in such matters, we also have the choice to rewrite copyright law to better suit our purposes. At which point authors always have the choice to either keep being an author under the new, better-for-the-public laws, or to not write at all. Any claim that they're 'entitled to copyrights, particularly copyrights as they'd like them to be' is just bullshit.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.

Working...