Overblog
Suivre ce blog
Administration Créer mon blog

Búsqueda

Los Verdes

13 novembre 2013 3 13 /11 /novembre /2013 09:26

Cultura e internet pájaro pared

      Rarely has an official "participatory" initiative been such a waste of time, money and futile debates.  Today the European Commission under the leadership of Internal Market Commissioner  Michel Barnier will conclude the year-long Licences for Europe stakeholders  process on the future of copyright in the European Union. This exercise consisted of four working groups on user-generated content, cross border portability, cultural heritage and text and data mining. In the end the conclusions presented by Barnier only reflect the rigid, wish lists of the publishing industry

      Instead of facing the challenges of much needed copyright reform and flexibility, the Licences for Europe stakeholders process has been clamorous failure. The European Commission´s main objective was to avoid the tough legislative alternatives concerning the future of copyright in the European Union. Pushed off the agenda of Licences for Europe were the crucial questions of how to favor innovation, wide access to science, culture dissemination and the efficient use of public funds. 
 
  As the name denotes  the European Commission designed this year-long process with a narrow, pre-ordained scope to be about "more licences" not about copyright reform promoted through exceptions and limitations.  The official framework of  L4E excluded any serious consideration of the necessary legal reforms needed to inject a degree of social and economic rationality and flexibility into the present copyright laws. Far from an open-ended inclusive exercise, Licences for Europe has been exclusively oriented toward self-satisfying publisher-approved proposals of "best practices", "self-regulation" and "streamlining" within the present copyright regime.  The hidden agenda of Licences for Europe is that  legal changes are not needed because a series of "memorandums of understanding" among stakeholders will suffice.

  Given the rigid scope imposed by the European Commission it should not come as any surprise that many important stakeholders decided to abandon or reject the process. During the process Licences for Europe was abandoned or deeply criticized by the  practical totality of organizations representing librarians, research librarians, consumer organizations, digital rights associations, scientific research centers and a number of innovative business initiatives. Here are a just a few of many examples that explain the disappointment in the process by civil society: http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number11.13/edri-letter-licences-for-europe and http://www.ubiquitypress.com/files/licence4europe/Letter_of_withdrawal_L4E_TDM_May_24.pdf and http://www.clarin.eu/node/3826

  This has been a major missed opportunity to bring EU copyright laws closer to the social reality of the digital age.  The European Commission keeps burying its head in the sand.

Published by Europa en Verde - dans Internet
commenter cet article
24 juin 2013 1 24 /06 /juin /2013 17:11

ciega-nena.jpg 

Sobre la encarnizada lucha de la industria cultural y las leyes del copyright contra el bien común y los derechos de acceso a los bienes culturales por parte de las personas ciegas.

 

Comentarios sobre la conferencia diplomática de la Organización Mundial de la Propiedad Intelectual sobre el acceso a la lectura de las personas con discapacidad visual celebrada en Marrakech y su finalidad de establecer un tratado global que regule la excepción a los derechos del copyright para las personas invidentes.

 

Curiosamente, la palabra “equilibrio” está siendo una de las más utilizadas en las actuales discusiones sobre un Tratado para las Personas con Discapacidad Visual a pesar de su inutilidad para describir y comprender los problemas de acceso a la lectura que padecen las personas con diversidad de grados de ceguera. Este eufemístico lenguaje del deseable "equilibrio" entre los derechos y los beneficios económicos particulares, en realidad busca fomentar la confusión al servicio del dominio del negocio económico frente a los derechos básicos de minorías discriminadas como son los ciegos. Muchos de los delegados participantes hablan retóricamente en favor de conseguir un “equilibrio” entre las necesidades de millones de personas ciegas existentes en el mundo y los derechos de los propietarios privados de copyright. Se trata de toda una interesada orquestación para evitar la consecución de un digno y avanzado Tratado para la regulación mundial de derechos de las personas invidentes.

 

Lo que realmente está en juego en Marrakech no es alcanzar este falso “equilibrio” sino el corregir la multiplicada e inmoral discriminación que padecen las personas ciegas, quienes además de sufrir unas graves limitaciones físicas por su escasa o nula capacidad visual, también son marginadas socialmente en el acceso a la cultura y a los productos de una industria editorial que ya goza de muchas leyes para proteger sus  particulares beneficios económicos. Un injusto y desigual trato es el que se da por un lado a las personas videntes que sí pueden acceder a la lectura de millones de libros y por otro lado el que se da a los invidentes, quienes han sido privados de muchas de las facilidades y oportunidades para el acceso a la cultura obtenidas mediante la revolución de las tecnologías de la información.

 

El tratado de regulación mundial que se negocia en Marrakech debe apostar por reparar esta gran injusticia, algo que es bien opuesto a la palabrería del "equilibrio", que resulta ser todo un parloteo para instaurar por la puerta trasera nuevas normas restrictivas en favor de la propiedad intelectual. Contrariamente, el fundamento principal de este nuevo tratado que se está negociando es el de eliminar unas condiciones de intensa discriminación y de violación de los derechos humanos de las personas con disfunciones visuales, algo bien opuesto al intento de imponer bajo los argumentos del "equilibrio" nuevas medidas represivas en favor de los derechos privados de propiedad intelectual sobre los países empobrecidos del Sur.

 

Es una triste verdad el comprobar que los lobbistas de Hollywood y de la industria editorial están buscando al unísono la perversión del tratado que está a punto de nacer al querer convertirlo en un simple vehículo para levantar nuevas y más altas barreras contra la reforma del sistema mundial del copyright. Estos sectores económicos quieren imponer en la nueva regulación del tratado unas medidas draconianas de protección técnica (de gestión de derechos digitales) y buscan eliminar cualquier referencia legal al posible “uso justo” de las obras culturales. También quieren quitar cualquier referencia al derecho a la traducción y buscan consagrar la obligación de anteponer siempre el interés y la racionalidad económica bajo el rutinario lenguaje de la “disponibilidad comercial”, y con ello oponerse a cualquier tipo de excepción al copyright, queriendo hasta prohibir el envío de libros a individuos particulares. Por ello, en Marrakech se han aliado los lobbistas de la industria audio-visual y los lobbistas de los propietarios de derechos de copyright con el fin de forzar el avance de la dominación neocolonial en materia cultural.

 

La creación de nueva regulación con nuevas normas globales sobre excepciones al copyright para personas ciegas, no es solo un intento de inyectar una dosis de mínimo sentido común sobre las exigencias de la justicia en el contexto de un carcomido sistema legal que está gravemente inadaptado a la era digital actual. También se podría entender este tratado que se está negociando como una forma de ayudar a elevar la legitimación y el apoyo social de un marco legal de copyright que tiene un nivel bajísimo de aceptación ciudadana.

 

A lo largo de los últimos meses hemos oído repetidamente la misma cantinela en boca de los representantes industriales: que si se permite un fácil acceso a las producciones culturales por parte de las personas ciegas se “debilitaría gravemente el derecho internacional de copyright”. Algunos de estos portavoces europeos y estadounidenses llegan al extremo de dejarse llevar por una aguda paranoia persecutoria sobre una hipotética piratería por parte de las personas invidentes, aunque en realidad estas suposiciones nunca han estado respaldadas por evidencia empírica alguna.

 

Es especialmente tenebrosa la doble vara de medir empleada por parte de los gobiernos de la UE y de EE.UU. Resulta que mientras que los EE.UU y los estados nacionales miembros de la UE tienen unas sencillas y eficaces excepciones nacionales al copyright para las personas con discapacidad visual, ahora, cuando se trata de un marco normativo y legislativo de escala mundial, va y resulta que la UE y los EE.UU se niegan tajantemente a extender al resto del mundo estas reglas legales que ya son aplicadas en las propias políticas nacionales. ¿Como es que si han funcionado razonablemente bien unas leyes con excepciones al copyright en EE.UU y Europa, en cambio no resultan válidas a escala global para el conjunto de países?. Además, la alianza EU-USA en Marrakech ahora busca añadir al nuevo tratado internacional múltiples capas que ponen más obstáculos y complicaciones en favor de nuevas restricciones al libre acceso a los bienes culturales y el conocimiento, intentando ir mucho más allá de las propias leyes domésticas de sus respectivos países. Ni los Estados Unidos ni la Unión Europea quieren la inclusión en el tratado de excepciones como las del “uso justo” (fair use) y las de los “tratos razonables”, puesto que ambos son términos legales flexibles que amplían y facilitan el acceso a bienes culturales sin ánimo de lucro y que predominan en el marco legislativo del copyright estadounidense. A pesar de que no hay clausulas de “disponibilidad comercial” ni en EE.UU ni en la gran mayoría de países de la UE, cuando se trata de un nuevo tratado como este destinado a la regulación mundial impulsan una vil doble moral: ambos quieren meter la normativa de la "disponibilidad comercial" en la letra del Tratado para las Personas con Discapacidad Visual.

 

A lo largo de años de debate y discusiones previas también se ha dado un clamoroso déficit democrático y una falta de transparencia por parte de la Unión Europea. Las duras posiciones negociadoras defendidas por los representantes de la UE, no solo están en contra de las posiciones adoptadas por la Unión Mundial de Ciegos, sino que contrastan radicalmente con las declaraciones votadas por los representantes democráticamente elegidos en el Parlamento Europeo, que han apoyado activamente la necesidad de un tratado eficaz, simple y orientado fundamentalmente a los fines de una justicia humanitaria compensadora. Pero por desgracia, el mandato negociador de la UE ha hecho caso omiso del sentir democrático de la ciudadanía europea y de sus representantes europarlamentari@s al haberse forjado en la opacidad, el secretismo y en los patios traseros del Consejo Europeo de los estados miembros. Los negociadores de la UE han priorizado los estrechos intereses del beneficio económico para algunos sectores de la industria cultural por encima del bien común que supone el acceso a los bienes culturales por parte de muchas personas marginadas doblemente por sus limitaciones físicas y por las múltiples discriminaciones sociales que se les añaden. 

 

android-para-ciegos.jpg

 

Finalmente, esta semana en Marrakech las delegaciones de la UE y de los EE.UU están siendo arrastradas contra su propia voluntad para ir cediendo poco a poco en sus posiciones iniciales a consecuencia del peso de las profundas razones éticas, sociales y económicas de los numerosos países empobrecidos y de las numerosas organizaciones ciudadanas que defienden el acceso a la cultura por parte de las personas invidentes. Es de esperar que se llegue a un acuerdo de mínimos que saque adelante un digno texto para el tratado, aunque se haga a regañadientes, pataleando y protestando por la “erosión del copyright”, y aunque no parta de una profunda convicción en favor de unas exigencias de justicia para las minorías con discapacidad visual discriminadas en el acceso al conocimiento y la cultura.

 

David Hammerstein

Diálogo Transatlántico de Consumidores

Published by Europa en Verde - dans Internet
commenter cet article
20 juin 2013 4 20 /06 /juin /2013 11:46

      Opening intervention of TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue at WIPO Diplomatic Conference for Visually Impaired Persons in Marrakesh 

blind girl

“Balance” is one of the words most commonly used during the discussions of a Treaty for the Visually Impaired. Many delegates at this diplomatic conference speak of achieving “balance” between the needs of millions of blind and other print disabled persons and the rights of copyright holders. But this Treaty is not about balance but instead about correcting the enormous, immoral and historic imbalance between blind persons who are deprived access to culture and education and a publishing industry that already has many laws that protect it, between most sighted persons who can access millions of books and the visually impaired who have been deprived of many of the benefits of the information technology revolution. 


This Treaty must be about repairing injustice instead of creating new restrictive global copyright enforcement laws through the backdoor, about eliminating blatant human rights discrimination instead of a biased imposition on the poor global South of technical protection measures, commercial availability clauses and anti-fair use “three step test” amendments. It is true: some entertainment industry lobbyists are trying to cynically use the visually impaired Treaty as a vehicle for building strong barriers against any future global copyright reform. If not, why are there so many movie industry and other audio-visual industry lobbyists present here today?.


To the contrary, establishing new global norms for copyright exceptions for the visually impaired is an attempt at injecting a doses of common sense into the copyright system, an old regime that is very ill-adapted to the digital age. It is a way of even helping to legitimize a system that has an increasingly low level of social acceptance.

 

Over the past few months we have heard from industry representatives that allowing blind persons to have easy access to reading material on a non-profit basis could “severely weaken international copyright law”. Even some EU and US representatives have been carried away by this neurotic paranoia of potential piracy that has never been substantiated by any empirical evidence.


The shameful double-standards of the EU and the US is specially stunning. While the US and most EU member states have clear, simple and easy to use national exceptions to copyright for the visually impaired, both the EU and the US refuse to accept the extension of these rules to the rest of the world. If a set of laws have worked fairly well in the US and European countries, why are they not valid globally? Instead, both the EU and the US want to add multiple layers of restrictive complications that go far beyoond their own laws into an international law for the visually impaired. The US doesn´t want to hear of “fair use” or “fair practices” in the Treaty while both terms are prevalent in the US legal copyright system. While there are no commercial availability clauses neither in the US nor in most of the EU, both want to enshrine this very complicated rule into the global Visually Impaired Treaty.


There has also been a clear democratic deficit and lack of transparency on the part of the EU in this discussion. The EU´s tough negotiating positions against many of the Word Blind Union´s proposals are in stark contrast to the positions and declarations of Europe´s democratic representatives in the European Parliament that have repeatedly supported a robust, uncomplicated and human rights oriented Treaty for the Visually Impaired. Unfortunately, until today the disgraceful and obstructive negotiating postures of the EU have been forged behind the closed doors of the EU Council where the narrow industrial interests of a few have taken priority over the common good of many.


This conference will only be successful if it is strongly supported and considered useful by its beneficiaries, millions of visually impaired represented by the World Blind Union. Any other result would be totally irrational. Failure is not an option.

 

David Hammerstein, TACD

 

Published by Europa en Verde - dans Internet
commenter cet article
4 juillet 2012 3 04 /07 /juillet /2012 16:52

Lessons from ACTA and the future

 

 

 

 

Today in Strasbourg a massive majority of the European Parliament voted to reject ACTA

It is the first time the European Parliament has rejected an international treaty already signed by the European Commission (and by 22 of 27 EU member states). The power of the EU´s legislative branch has been clearly reinforced.  This time the Parliament has not been the usual a rubber-stamp for questionable EU trade proposals. Of even greater importance, European civil society has emerged as a very powerful actor that can no longer be dispatched by EU institutions with the traditional “participate a little, then we´ll decide with our industry buddies.”

 

Business as usual” has been disrupted by the ACTA affair for many reasons.

 

  1. Transparency: the fight for transparency was a pivotal way of exposing EU officials who consistently hid documents, negotiated behind closed doors and gave preferential access to inside information to large industries. The eroding effect of leaked documents, tweeted closed-door meetings and widely spread rumours was devastating on the credibility of EU negotiators.

  2. International civil society synergy: There has been an impressive and very fruitful collaboration between the academic world and the advocacy network to lay the intellectual and social infrastructure groundwork for a massive anti-ACTA response. Especially positive has been the common work on monitoring the negotiating strategies and contradictions of USTR and DG Trade proposals, both technically and politically. This transatlantic commonality of interest came to a head after the defeat in the US of SOPA and PIPA which had a contagious effect on European civil society. When the European Parliament finally started to decide on ACTA there was already a wealth of serious critical analysis, networked supporting organizations and clear substantiated bullet-points to convince all kinds of politicians.

  3. Unity in diversity against ACTA: Civil society work on ACTA has been a unique opportunity to at once contrast and inform upon a broad variety of intimately entwined issues, from health to trade, from internet governance to copyright reform. It brought together global South activists worried about ACTA´s institutional arrangements that attempted to bypass existing inclusive UN bodies in order to set a negative benchmark for bilateral free trade agreements with regards to fair access to knowledge and technology transfer.

  4. Europe from the bottom up, from the East: At a time of great European crisis and very low confidence in the European project, EU civil society has given a brilliant example on how to organize a positive European identity across borders,using social networks, in defence of the European values of democracy, open culture and global justice. Polish activists were specially brilliant in mobilizing tens of thousands in the streets against ACTA, clearly changing the tide of the whole relation of forces that had been quite favorable to ACTA until that time.

  5. A divided business community:Of significant importance was the opposition to ACTA of important parts of the business community, especially vocal in the case of Internet service providers and more discreetly on the part of the broader IT industry. ACTA has sparked a broader debate about business models that flourish with a more flexible application of intellectual property rules.

  6. The Internet community defended its space. Milllons of internauts became socially conscious and in some cases “indignados”. The ACTA fight reflected that most people want a decentralized, neutral, open and uncensured Internet. When they felt this was threatened by ACTA, they rebelled.

 

 

 

New fronts:

 

  1. Intellectual property reform or counter-reform: A series of legislations are coming up in the EU concerning copyright: a new version of IPRED (Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive), Collective management of copyright directive, Public Sector Information Directive, data protection directive and possibly a proposal on on-line commerce of audio-visual works and Unitary Patent Directive. On the reform side, there is still a big fight to be won on the Treaty for the Visually Impaired and other print disabled persons at the World Intellectual Property Organization. As well, there are other proposals to establish harmonized exceptions and limitations to copyright in the area of libraries, among others.

  2. Open access to scientific research publications and results. There is an “academic spring” going on across Europe in which thousands of scientists are demanding “open access” to scientific articles published from publicly funded research. Another important issue is open access to biomedical research data to prevent the present system that conceals secondary effects and the real efficacy of new medicines.

  3. New Innovation models are on the agenda.  One example is at the World Health Organization where many countries from the South have proposed a Global Research and Development Treaty to provide accessible and affordable medicines to the most of the world´s population through new forms of IPR reform, prize schemes and patent pooling. The EU´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (80 billion euros) now being considered in the EP has proposed a number of new licensing schemes for exploiting results, open access to data and innovation inducement prizes. The coming discussion of collective management of copyright in the EP could  also consider a number of innovative proposals on music and film on-line.

  4. Other Internet issues that are being discused in the EU are open standards in IT, net neutrality and interoperability.  They all need political pressure and public involvement.

 

 


 

 

Published by Europa en Verde - dans Internet
commenter cet article
31 mai 2012 4 31 /05 /mai /2012 15:36

Hoy ACTA ha recibido tres golpes mortales. Hoy tres comités de la Eurocámara han votado en contra del ACTA, de Industria, de Libertades y de Asuntos Jurídicos.  El 20 de junio el Comité de Comercio Internacional decidirá su recomendación sobe ACTA y, finalmente, en la sesión plenaria de Estrasburgo del 4 de julio habrá una votación definitiva.

 

Cultura e internet pájaro pared

 
¿Qué significa este resultado?

 

Es el principio del fin de ACTA. Es un gran éxito de la sociedad civil europea. Sobretodo ha sido gracias a una masiva organización espontánea de jóvenes en las redes sociales, desde Polonia hasta España, quienes no aceptaban de ninguna manera las oscuras maniobras  para "domesticar" la web con medidas extra-judiciales draconianas y convertir a los proveedores de internet en policías. Al rechazar ACTA, los tres comités del Parlamento Europeo han mandado un mensaje claro en defensa de los derechos digitales y de unas leyes de propiedad intelectual justas. La Comisión Europea y el Gobierno Español deben tomar nota de este resultado al intentar legislar futuras medidas represivas contra el compartir información y cultura en Internet.
 
¿Hasta qué punto esta votación puede ser un termómetro para la votación de Julio?

 

  Es un indicador muy claro de que ACTA morirá el 4 o 5 de julio en Estrasburgo.
 
¿Quién respalda el ACTA en la Eurocámara?  

     ACTA solo conserva el respaldo de los Eurodiputados más relacionados con los lobbys de las sociedades de autores, la industria de Hollywood y las grandes productoras de música. Al agrietarse el apoyo a ACTA por parte de los conservadores en los países del Este, comenzando en Polonia por una gran rebelión social, ACTA no tenía posibilidad de prosperar.

Published by Europa en Verde - dans Internet
commenter cet article
17 février 2012 5 17 /02 /février /2012 17:51



Nunca había visto tal nivel de unidad política para machacar a un Comisario Europeo como anoche en el Parlamento Europeo cuando el jefe del Mercado Interno Michel Barnier recibió una verdadera paliza dialéctica por no haber apoyado un Tratado vinculante eficaz para las personas con discapacidad visual. Hoy se aprobó en el Parlamento Europeo una resolución fuerte a favor del Tratado y muy crítico con el papel de la Unión Europea en la OMPI. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2012-0062&language=ES


A continuación algunas de las expresiones utilizadas por los eurodiputados al criticar al comisario Barnier:  "Falta de sensibilidad", "un doble rasero de medir", "Estamos muy irritados con usted", "Su posición es muy decepcionante", "La UE practica el obstruccionismo en la OMPI", "La UE bloquea pasos hacia adelante", "El Tratado no es caridad, es una cuestión de derecho", "Es una locura que los formatos digitales no posibilitan un acceso masivo a la lectura", "Usted solo habla bla, bla, bla..",  "Para cuestiones económicas hay reglas vinculantes pero para derechos de las personas ciegas solo recomendaciones voluntarias", "No utilices a los creadores como una barrera", "No comprendo la rigidez de la Comisión en este tema" y "los derechos de autor son una gran barrera para el acceso a la lectura".


Sin una escapatoria política fácil, totalmente acorralado y bajo una gran presión, el Comisario Barnier primero inútilmente intentaba escabullirse con unas vagas promesas de "diálogo abierto con la sociedad civil", "dejar todas las opciones abiertas" y "queremos una solución pragmática".  Finalmente Barnier se vio obligado a asumir el compromiso público de pedir un mandato a la Comisión y al Consejo (los estados miembros de la UE) para negociar un Tratado vinculante y eficaz en la OMPI. Afirmó que no seria fácil ya que algunos estados se oponían al Tratado. Pidió apoyo al Parlamento para conseguirlo.
Por fin,  el brazo ejecutivo de la Unión Europea apoya un Tratado para las personas con discapacidad visual. Si, una excepción legal al derecho de autor.

Published by Europa en Verde - dans Internet
commenter cet article
10 février 2012 5 10 /02 /février /2012 23:17



ACTA busca meter en cintura al Internet,  la libre circulación de cultura, conocimiento e ideas.

ACTA quiere convertir en policías privados a los servidores de Internet para que controlen la información y cultura que compartimos. No hará falta órdenes judiciales para que estos actores privados actúen.

ACTA propone una nueva arquitectura de gobernanza mundial de la propiedad intelectual al margen de las instituciones de la ONU y de espaldas a la sociedad civil y  los parlamentos democráticos.

ACTA promueve sanciones criminales y multas astronómicas ("a valor de mercado" para cualquier violación de los derechos de autor que "aporte una ventaja económica o comercial, sea de forma directa o indirecta". O sea, cabe en esta categoría millones de personas que comparten sin lucrares ficheros, sueños y ritmos.

ACTA proyecta controles fronterizos draconianos con "la cooperación" de la industria y al margen de la iniciativa judicial.

ACTA: privatización del saber, control policial extra-judicial y el proteccionismo de modelos de comercio anacrónicos.

El Parlamento Europeo tiene que decidir en los próximos meses. La ciudadanía activa tiene la palabra para defender los derechos fundamentales y el acceso al conocimiento.

Published by Europa en Verde - dans Internet
commenter cet article
14 décembre 2011 3 14 /12 /décembre /2011 06:37

News from the copyright bunker

 

 

European Commission and the right to read:

If you can´t beat them, join them and try to spoil it

 

Last week in Geneva at WIPO the EU was dragged kicking and screaming into a concrete textual debate on the creation of a legal international instrument for the Visually Impaired for an exception and limitation on copyright. Under heavy pressure and criticism from the European Parliament and the European Blind Union, the European Commission, represented by French Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier, has been forced to abandon its previous outright rejection of a legally binding treaty and now has launched a new strategy. The EU, represented by the Commission has now made a series of obstructive and destructive amendments to the working text of the World Intellectual Property Organization with the double objective of undermining the whole purpose of a Treaty and provoking an endless debate in order to filibuster any practical solution for millions of print-disabled persons. The European Blind Union and the World Blind Union strongly reject most of the EU´s significant amendments for going against the needs of millions of print-disabled persons.

 

Considering that the whole point of the Treaty for the Visually Impaired is to establish an “exception and limitation on copyright” for certain uses and taking into account that the very title of this area of negotiations at WIPO are called “Exceptions and Limitations”, it is pretty startling that one of the first EU “de-constructive” amendments proposes to suppress entirely from the text “copyright exceptions and limitations” and to substitute it with “appropriate measures”! Also in this uncooperative sense the EU also proposes to eliminate from the text “ to provide the necessary flexibilities… to open the door to licensing alternatives.”.

 

When it comes to defining the “trusted entities” that would be responsible for distributing reading material to the print disabled, the EU propose to radically narrow the scope to only organizations whose “primary mission” is serving the print-disabled. This would eliminate public libraries, schools and universities, as well as severely limiting access to books in poor countries of the South where there a very few or no strong organizations whose “primary mission” is to serve the visually impaired.

 

The EU especially fails when it comes to social sensitivity to blind persons of the South. The EU proposes to define a “reasonable price for developing countries” as “the accessible format copy of the work is available at a similar or lower price that the price of the work available to persons without print disabilities in that market,..” Considering that an “E-book” could cost between 15 and 25 Euro, this EU proposal will not be of much use for the disabled persons of Guatemala or South Africa.

 

The EU also attemps to sink the copyright exception flagship with this proposed torpedo: eliminating the phrase “ without the authorization of the rightholders”. Obviously, if blind persons NGOs´ must negotiate permission book by book with rightsholders there is really no point of having an international legal instrument at all.

 

Where the EU reveals its shocking ignorance of what kind of formats disabled persons need is when it proposes an ammendment that establishes that no exception to copyright will apply if their is “a work commercially available”. The EU ignores the fact that many commercially available audio works are either not technically accessible, are not formatted to be useful for academic study, are not available at public libraries or are simply not affordable to most visually impaired persons. The EU suggests that the Spanish blind persons organization ONCE cannot share its formatted works with blind persons of Paraguay if those works are in some way or form “commercially available” even if the practicality of that “availability” is useless.

 

Other EU amendments (see below with comments by World Blind Union) all go in the same direction of blocking and spoiling any meaningful progress toward the real-life access to reading material on the part of the print-disabled.

 

Why is the EU taking this obtuse position? Why is the European Commission ignoring the will of the European Parliament? Why is the EU making unrealistic, draconian demands on an international legal instrument when the copyright exceptions already existing in most EU members states are far more flexible and simple?

 

The answer is clear: the EU has assumed the fundamentalist and ideological positions of the copyright lobby that refuses to come out of its deep bunker for a fair and pragmatic solution that facilitates the right to read of visually impaired persons around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

TREATY FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED (EU AMENDMENTS)

Comments by World Blind Union (WBU) in brackets

0.13. In the thirteenth paragraph, “copyright exceptions and limitations” should be replaced by “appropriate measures” (European Union).

[NO- this instrument deals specifically with E&L. Other measures should be dealt with in the appropriate places]

0.17. The seventeenth paragraph should read “Taking into account the importance of increasing the number and range of accessible format works available to visually impaired persons/persons with print disabilities in the world, and to ensure full and equal access to information and communication for persons who are visually impaired or have a print disability in order to support their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others, and to ensure the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, for their own benefit and for the enrichment of society,” (European Union).

[Eliminates language on “to provide the necessary minimum flexibilities.... , so as to open to door to licensing alternatives.” This is not appropriate in a law providing exceptions.]

……………………………….

LEGAL TEXT:

A.09 As to the definition of “authorized entity”, first paragraph, the phrase “activities” should be replaced by “primary missions” (European Union, United States of America).

[NO to “primary” – would exclude many schools, universities and other bona fide organisations for whom accessible format provision is vital work but not a “primary” part of what they do]

A.12 As to the definition of “authorized entity”, the second paragraph should read “an authorized entity maintains rules and procedures to establish the bona fide nature of persons with print disabilities that they serve.” (European Union).

[The authorized entity should decide what rules and procedures it uses to establish the bona fide nature of persons with print disabilities.]

A.16 As to the definition of “authorized entity”, the third paragraph should have and additional sentence that reads “Member States/Contracting parties should encourage rightholders and beneficiary persons to cooperate and participate in authorized entities.” (European Union).

[NO! This is not a definition- why would it sit here?] ……………………………….COMMENTS ON ART. A OF LEGAL TEXT

A.21 The definition of “reasonable price for developing countries” should be replaced by “means that the accessible format copy of the work is available at a similar or lower price than the price of the work available to persons without print disabilities in that market, taking into account the needs and income disparities of persons who have limited vision and those with print disabilities in that market.” (European Union).

[No, it should be affordable in developing countries.] A.22 Further discussions and debates are essential on the complex issue of “reasonable price” as

it is not mature (European Union). • [Each Member State should have the flexibility to determine what is reasonable price

in that Member State.] A.23 The definition of “copyright” should be further discussed (European Union).

[Asper22] COMMENTS ON ART. C OF LEGAL TEXT:

C.04 The phrase in Paragraph (1) “to facilitate the availability of works in accessible formats” significantly broadens the aim of the instrument and has broad implications. It should be preceded by the phrase “or any other equally effective measure” (European Union).

[No- the instrument is specifically intended to facilitate the availability of works in accessible formats. That’s what this is all about.]

C.06 Paragraph (2)(a) should read “Authorized entities shall be permitted to make an accessible format copy of a work, obtain from another authorized entity a work in accessible format, and supply such a copy to a beneficiary 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 those objectives, when all of the following conditions are met:” (European Union).

[NO. This adds RH authorization into an instrument we need for cases where we have been unable to get help from RH. Getting rid of the “without the authorization of the RH” contradicts the essence of an exception, that permission is not needed! The words “without seeking/asking for the authorization of the RH” could be used as the other option might seem to imply an “unauthorized distribution”.]

C.08 In Paragraph (3), delete reference to three-step test “that is limited to certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holder.” A separate Article Ebis is proposed in this connection (European Union).

[The EU proposal for Ebis appears unhelpful, in our opinion, and would need some work. We believe it should say, that the provisions of the treaty are without prejudice

to other flexibilities countries have in the Berne, the WCT or the TRIPS, all of which are important, and including such things as the first sale doctrine]

C.10 Paragraph (4) should read “the Member State/Contracting Party shall limit the exceptions or limitations provided for in this article to published works which, in an applicable special format, cannot be otherwise obtained within a reasonable time and at a reasonable price” (European Union).

The word “otherwise” should be retained in this paragraph (Brazil, United States of America). Exceptions should not depend on the existence of commercially available works, as in this case the question is defending a fundamental human right (Ecuador).

[This is very important to WBU. Any restriction saying that the exception should not apply when the work is commercially available must be on the strict proviso that the book is available at the same time and price, in the format needed by the individual requesting it. A commercial audio book can't be used by a deaf blind person, and a commercially available large print book can't be used by a blind person. Then, if the commercially available audio book or large print book is not affordable or available from a library, it is not available to the individual either.]

COMMENTS ON ART. D OF LEGAL TEXT:

D.05 In Paragraph (2)(a), delete “without the authorization of the rightholder”

(European Union). • [ Totally unacceptable to WBU]

D.06 In Paragraph (2)(b), delete “without the authorization of the rightholder”

(European Union). • [Totally unacceptable to WBU]

D.09 In Paragraph (3), delete reference to three-step test “that is limited to certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holder.” A separate Article Ebis is proposed in this connection (European Union).

[As stated above, we believe that the draft Ebis is problematic]

D.11 It is proposed to add a new paragraph 3bis that reads “The Member State/Contracting Party should/shall limit the exceptions or limitations provided for in this article to published works which, in an applicable special format, cannot be otherwise obtained within a reasonable time and at a reasonable price in the country of importation.” (European Union).

[“Should/shall” to be replaced with “may”. Member States should have the flexibility to decide this, especially developing countries. Special” needs to be changed to “accessible”.]

COMMENTS ON ART. E OF LEGAL TEXT:

E.02 Delete the phrase “without the copyright rights holder’s authorization.” (European Union, United States of America). Article E should allow Member States to mirror the flexibility of their exception in relation to imports. That phrase could mean, for example, that in other articles where it is not specified, there is no need the right holders’ authorization. This article requires further discussion, in particular regarding the notion of importation in relation to copyright (European Union).

[WBU strongly against deletion suggested by EU. This is a text for a future law on copyright exceptions; not a licensing scheme]

 

Published by Europa en Verde - dans Internet
commenter cet article
26 novembre 2011 6 26 /11 /novembre /2011 09:10

 

Broad access to our cultural legacy or “better dead than read”: A new EU Directive that is now being discussed in the European Parliament will decide whether to rescue millions of forgotten “orphan works that constitute an important part of our historic heritage. 

 

It´s hard to imagine that some people would snugly sit back while a big part of our unaccessible historic heritage is lost or, even worse, actively fight against the only viable means of protecting it: digital archiving.

 

During the 1950´s some  fervent coldwarriors insisted that it was much better to be “dead than red”. Today, on a very different level, a similar philosophy is being put forward by copyright fundamentalists, a few EU member states like France and by some lobbyist-cum-civil servants at the European Commission, in particular at the Directorate General of Internal Market headed by Michel Barnier. They would prefer that millions of books, songs, films, illustrations and photographs were dead, lost for ever, than risk any serious flexibilization or exception to EU copyright laws that would facilitate mass digitization and, thus, social access to “orphan works”, out of circulation works whose authors are unknown or not found.

 

These hard-liners expound the deeply flawed strategy of “cultural scarcity”: the fewer works accessible to the public, the better for the the “cultural industry” . Instead of massively liberating these forgotten works for the sake of knowledge and innovation, these peculiar “defenders of culture” would prefer to apply “passive euthanasia” by just letting the paper flake, the celluloid disintegrate and the sound recordings fade. Instead of legally allowing mass digitization through easy author search mechanisms, balanced public-private partnerships and clear limits on possible claims and renumeration, the copyright lobby and their political mouthpieces are erecting tall barricades against the advance of any rational mass recuperation of orphan works.

 

The battle lines are drawn in the European Parliament that shall be making some very clear choices over the next few weeks. On one side stands the broad public interest of libraries, consumers, researchers, educators and new innovative cultural businesses. On the other side the negative agenda of “the worse, the better ” coalition of traditional rights holders, some collecting societies and a few self-assigned ideologues of ” the moral rights of artists”.

 

It is more urgent than ever that the point of view of broad public interest be heard loud and clear in Brussels. Hundreds of amendments have been tabled and will be considered next week by the Rapportuer De Geringer in the European Parliament´s Judicial Committee.

 

Below is a summary of some of the clear options that MEPs shall decide on in the coming weeks (more information on the concrete amendments is forthcoming):

 

 

1. Liberating millions of orphan works for mass digitization or just individual access to concrete works.

 

2. Quick and easy “diligent search” or expensive, tortuous and long search of works fractioned by different authors, illustrators or designers.

 

3. Wide orphan works access to audio, photographs, journalism and film or a narrow scope limited to books.

 

4. Clear limits and thresholds to liability for fair renumeration or open-ended, expensive legal battles that inhibit use of orphan works. “fair” and “related to use”

 

5. EU Legislation based on existing frameworks for exceptions and limitations to copyright or a new restrictive, regressive interpretation of the legal scope of EU copyright law.

 

6. Opening up the potential of public-private partnerships for mass digitization of orphan works with legal flexibility or a rigid moulding of legislation for sole public funding of orphan works digitization.

 

7. Liberating orphan works for a wide range of uses for cultural access, innovation and artistic creation or narrowly defining the uses of orphan works only for “public service” and cultural heritage institutions.

 

The voice of public interest and access to knowledge must be heard!

 

David Hammerstein, TACD

Published by Europa en Verde - dans Internet
commenter cet article
19 juin 2011 7 19 /06 /juin /2011 04:27

ORAL STATEMENT BEFORE WIPO SSCR22 BY DAVID HAMMERSTEIN, TACD  26-6-2011


SHOWDOWN IN GENEVA: COPYRIGHT VS. HUMAN RIGHTS FOR BLIND PERSONS

 

2.jpg

 

 


 Filibusterism and lack of democratic legitimacy against the right to read of the visually impaired


After years of campaigning on the part of blind persons NGOs, consumers and human rights groups, the World Intellectual Property Organization is finally having a special 3 day session on creating an exception to copyright for reading material formatted for millions of visually impaired persons. Will the international community assume its responsibility to satisfy the fundamental right to read for disabled persons?

The fight for access to reading material for the visually impaired is facing an unprecedented attempt at filibustering on the part of the EU and the US. This obstructionism of a legally binding treaty takes many forms: numerous changes in the agenda for an issue over-due for years, endless technical debates and, more importantly, now an attempt to paralyze indefinitely any move towards a legally binding international treaty until "voluntary" and "soft" solutions are tried.
       

As well as practicing filibusterism to avoid considering a legal exception to copyright the EU and it member states have a problem of democratic legitimacy. The EU is ignoring the opinion of its democratically elected representatives, the European Parliament, who voted on May 12th of this year to support  a legally binding Treaty for the Visually Impaired based on the proposal of the World Blind Union.

One has to ask the question: Who exactly do the EU member states represent here? In any open, transparent democratic debate they would have no choice but to support a legal treaty for the visually impaired.  But, instead, despite all the evidence and the majority position of the MEPs, they prefer the lack of transparency, the obscurity of back room deals with content industry lobbyists.This is ethically and morally shameful.

 Today at WIPO the EU representatives and EU member states suffer from lack of  democratic credibility and transparency.

As far as the content of the proposals for a common framework go, why do the EU and the US want to impose incredibly restrictive, expensive and unworkable conditions for cross border exchange of books on the global South when these restricts go light years beyond their own internal laws? Why are the US and EU suggesting tortuous second class treatment for millions of visually impaired persons in the developing countries when domestic EU and US laws are far more flexible and generous? Can it be that  what is good for copyright exceptions at home is not good for the rest of the world? Why do they feel blind organizations should first get the permission of rights holders to distribute works when this is not the case in most countries of the North. If no empirical evidence has been produced to show any economic harm caused by exceptions to copyright in the EU and the US, how can some EU countries possibly speak of "disproportionate harm" in the case a treaty is approved globally?

While the EU and the US still insist on "recommendations" and "stakeholder dialogues", we all know that voluntary arrangements have never worked. While the EU and US push "hard" legal treaties for performers and broadcasters, why do they only promote "soft" law for the visually impaired?
 
At the end of the day this debate is not really about  exceptions, it is about legally permitting the widespread movement  of reading materials across borders just as they flow within most Northern countries. There is very little real danger of increased violation of copyright with a global exception. If someone violates the terms of the exception, they could face prosecution according to laws already on the books in most countries. An exception does not at all mean opening the gates to anarchy, it has not happened inside the countries where exception for the visually impaired are already in place.

     Many countries of the North place all hope for the access of books on a voluntary "stakeholders process" that today is a farce.  The Stakeholder process today is only a one-sided publishers and rights-holders forum because the European Blind Union and the World Blind Union are not participating in it until a global legal norm approved by WIPO.  So the EU´s un-democratic proposal of focussing on the stakeholder processes both inside and outside the EU is not even viable because it is seen by blind persons groups as only a weak excuse used by the EU for not supporting the Treaty.

     The latest form of  filibusterism, or endless procrastination, on the part of the EU and US has taken on the form of   the so-called "2 step process": "first we try a voluntary recommendation for a number of years and, then, if it does not work, we might consider a treaty".  In the process, "we get these bothersome NGOs and blind persons groups off our backs, we push the issue off the WIP agenda for 3 to 5 years and we gain the eternal gratitude of a few publishers in their ideological battle". At the end of the day, this is a fight more about basic principles than concrete economic interest.

 Unfortunately, today is also time to Name and Shame the outright obstructionism of countries like France and Switzerland who are dragging their feet on any pragmatic agreement on a framework text for helping access to books by the visually impaired.   Spain is also calling for a period of over 5 years of testing voluntary schemes before considering a decision on a treaty. (especially surprising given they seem not to want to share their tens of thousands of formatted Spanish books for blind persons with Latin America!).

It is clear that we must choose between strict copyright or human rights. You have that choice.

David Hammerstein, TACD

 

Published by Europa en Verde - dans Internet
commenter cet article