Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Copyright Industries Oppose Treaty For the Blind

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the see-it-my-way dept.

Books 135

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.'"

cancel ×

135 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Rob you blind (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416914)

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.

Re:Rob you blind (0, Flamebait)

mftb (1522365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416960)

I honestly don't understand how a disability should entitle you to free media.

Re:Rob you blind (-1, Troll)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416984)

I agree. Almost everyone has a problem of 1 sort or another. Does that mean everyone is entitled to getting things free?

Yes, I feel pity for blind people... That doesn't mean everyone owes them something for it.

Re:Rob you blind (5, Insightful)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 4 years ago | (#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

Re:Rob you blind (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417192)

"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.

Re:Rob you blind (2, Interesting)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417412)

"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.

What I don't understand is: how is this any different than public libraries cutting into profit margins by sharing the same copy of a new book for free? Even ensuring that the largest number of people can view it by limiting possession times. Is it that much more expensive to produce braille-included copies?

I think the most worrisome thing would be that companies, angered by the lack of incentive to generate "blind friendly" books, will stop concentrating on producing them well, or at all.

Re:Rob you blind (2, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417488)

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 (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417524)

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.

Re:Rob you blind (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30417738)

Well, WTF does that mean? If it doesn't mean free rides, maybe someone should have written a better summary, eh faghat?

Re:Rob you blind (2, Insightful)

pgmrdlm (1642279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417136)

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 (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417202)

word!

Re:Rob you blind (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418746)

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.

Re:Rob you blind (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30419034)

Ok fair enough how about we implement the anti discrimination laws that exist then and make sure that the publishers and movie studios have to make every book and every film available in suitable formats for such a small niche.

Somehow I dont think they would like what it did to their bottom line.

Re:Rob you blind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416994)

It does as much as greed entitles the copyright holders to screw their customers repeatedly.

Re:Rob you blind (1)

Transfinite (1684592) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417292)

because it must be hard enough to find every book that you would like to read. That everyone should be entitled to do so. Without these fucking self elected profiteers/guardians giving you an even harder time. No?

Re:Rob you blind (2, Insightful)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Rob you blind (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30419068)

well, they wanted equal treatment didn't they?

Re:Rob you blind (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418356)

And who said anything about free media? The RA specifically states that the books in question are DRM'd.

Re:Rob you blind (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418718)

How are special needs catered to, traditionally? Let me think a moment. Hmmm. A special need is identified, some "research" is invested, "special" procedures are formulated, and those special needs are catered to at prices 10 times more "normal" needs. I should start researching this now - in a few years, I'll probably need media for the blind. Does anyone here know what it costs to get software and media for the blind, or how much it costs for a blind version of bit-torrent?

Re:Rob you blind (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30417074)

The thugs they have hired are the ones that make your draconian laws, they also have hired another thugs (the ones with badges) to enforce those laws.

Re:Rob you blind (3, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417266)

Actually, there was an attempt a while back to get libraries to pay 'rent' for books, because OMG they're infringing upon our right to profit!!

no they CRIA you (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417326)

even if you are doing things right they will steal and thieve
CRIA
6 billion lawsuit by artists the CRIA stole money
450 million in then breached contractual fudicial duty of collecting cdr levy fees THEY DOUBLED TOO this year

so they are stealing from everyone

Re:Rob you blind (0)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417406)

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

Who do you think sponsored Hitler's public book burnings?

Re:Rob you blind (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417680)

Godwin'ed. You lose.

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

Re:Rob you blind (0)

palindrome (34830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418200)

I think it's a joke. The ridiculous comparison makes it funny.

In case you didn't realize this: (0)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418598)

You are a humorless twat.

Re:In case you didn't realize this: (1)

incongruency (1683022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30420388)

I'm a humorless twat, you insensitive clod.

Re:Rob you blind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30418182)

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

Sshh! Don't give them ideas!

Re:Rob you blind (1)

cheftw (996831) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418434)

Well if you have digital Braille or whatever then surely you can regexp it to a normal digibook.

I'd say that's what they're worried about.

Re:Rob you blind (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418504)

Money is the goal. What else should we expect? Our culture embraces and promotes this kind of behaviour.

When we someday realize that each other are much more valuable than materials and control, maybe we can expect better things of our society.

Re:Rob you blind (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30420260)

Seriously, it is time for a new "Statue of Anne".

Blind phople shpuld take there dogs to offices (0, Offtopic)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416920)

Blind people should take there dogs to offices of the business and let them pop all over the place.

Re:Blind phople shpuld take there dogs to offices (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30417030)

sorry I mismodded this. it's not a troll, just stupid.

Re:Blind phople shpuld take there dogs to offices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30417818)

it none of that. blind should be protesting, with there dog ofcourse. And you should join them if you care about fair use right.

Re:Blind phople shpuld take there dogs to offices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30418620)

If you missmodded, then stop being a cunt and actually reply on the article with your username, so that the incorrect moderation is reversed.

Re:Blind phople shpuld take there dogs to offices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30418306)

pop all over the place

Yeeeessss... I can already imagine it:
*pop*
*dog guts all over the place*

Damn blind people (4, Funny)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416928)

Always looking for a way to screw America!

There is something wrong here (2, Interesting)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416954)

If Motion Picture makers are opposing a treaty that concerns people who a frigging Blind.

Excuse me Mr MPAA how exactly are Blind people expected to SEE (with working eyes naturally) your esteemed works?

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 and learn braille?

Bah Humbug

Too much money and a big pain... (3, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416988)

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.

Re:Too much money and a big pain... (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417392)

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:Too much money and a big pain... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418078)

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 those things ARE hard. They DO cost money. It's not laziness. I mean, if it were, then you should be able to make the New York Times allow screen reading in a weekend, when I think most people would actually be able to do just the drudge report and even then probably mess it up. Accessibility is expensive.

Re:Too much money and a big pain... (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30420082)

A screen reader version of a web page costs as much to maintain as a printer-friendly version.

Re:Too much money and a big pain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30420090)

Yeah and then there's the whole issue of, you know, most developers not being blind.

It's hard to develop for platforms that you can't test on and most developers do not have the equipment used by blind people.

I know that's the reason why I don't typically make my stuff as accessible as I would like. I try to do what I can based on what I know but I'm pretty sure I don't do enough because I have no way to test what I'm doing. Most often I just wait until there is an actual demand for something and then someone else with the proper equipment tells me what I need to adjust or they just do it themselves.

Re:Too much money and a big pain... (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30419012)

That's the thing. They shouldn't have to. If they don't want to tap a market, they should sure as hell not be forced to. If the market decides that it doesn't care about the blind, oh well. When someone decides to pander to that specific special interest group they'll have a monopoly on that market and stand to potentially make a lot of money. The companies that don't pander to that group won't be getting any of that market and won't be making a dime off of it.

There is already a system in place to enable the "less fortunate" to get service. Forcing people is not the way to do it. Such tactics only serve to make people disgruntled and end up harming the group in the end.

Re:There is something wrong here (5, Insightful)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:There is something wrong here (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417618)

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.

Re:There is something wrong here (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:There is something wrong here (3, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418692)

Are they afraid we would all rush out, buy some eye patches

Arrr, I've got me eye-patch already, savvy.

%y8wh[5 rq84. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416980)

Go8he 0390o3 yqf3 48ty5w 500.

5609 (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417010)

%yq5 wy97oe yqf3 g33h {Go8he 0390o3 yqf3 48ty5w 599{.

Re:5609 (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417078)

Sheesh. Steganographers have no manners.

Re:5609 (1)

kholburn (625432) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417310)

Pictures or it didn't happen.

Copyright industries oppose something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30417006)

that will make peoples life easier.

From what I know it is their job to make it more inconveniently to more people to consume theirs products.

(I didnt read the article to see the argument)

There's a German saying... (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417068)

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

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

Re:There's a German saying... (1)

omb (759389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417338)

Genau,

sehr richtig, Diese Arschloche muessen verrotten, selber geblindt, in der Hoelle.

[ When will Slashdot support iso_8859-1 ???, or fix the Slashcode repository so we can? ]
I should not have to spell it like Zu-e-rich !

As a blind person myself (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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:As a blind person myself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30418466)

And its statements such as these that give more credence to the arguments of the 'corporations' when they claim that bittorrents are evil.

You have the right to read, and no one will deny you that; however, you do not have the right to read a copyrighted book, unless the copyright holder has granted you permission to do so (which you would usually get if you were to buy said book).
How can you claim you have the right to read it when you did not 'obtain permission' by paying the fees? 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.

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.

Re:As a blind person myself (0, Troll)

brit74 (831798) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418478)

I refuse to let them take away my right to read.

I can understand the argument that the copyright industries should be looser with copyright in this particular case, but I'm pretty sure that their unwillingness to let you read their books for free does not amount to "letting them take away my right to read". Do you show up at concerts, and, when the ticket window is unwilling to let you inside for free, do you describe that experience as "those guys are trying to take away my right to listen to music"?

Re:As a blind person myself (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418752)

Do you show up at concerts, and, when the ticket window is unwilling to let you inside for free, do you describe that experience as "those guys are trying to take away my right to listen to music"?

Well, we used to rush the gates, but it seems like everyone in america had their balls removed at some point in the past decade.
Actually, it just seems like we're more pro-authority than we ever have been.

"right to read"? (2, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:"right to read"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30418704)

Well, Bittorrent is currently the only method I have for gaining easy access to books. If books could easily be purchased in an accessible format, I would gladly do so. However, thanks to greedy publishers, I must resort to piracy. And why should I not have the same access to information as you do? If I cannot obtain it in a way either you or the publishers approve of. That's your problem. Contrary to what they may say, I am not hurting anyone.

And by the way, I refuse to take advantage of the free bus tickets. I gladly pay for that, just as I would pay for books if I could obtain them in, say, PDF's that had accessibility enabled.

Re:"right to read"? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30419512)

What part of being blind excuses you from having to pay for something the rest of us have to pay for?

Nothing excuses him for that, but if he purchased an ebook for instance. And then re-downloads a different version of that same book from p2p (one that's been OCR'd, re-indexed, and re-processed for accessibility by a volunteer), then please let's not make that an infraction (civil or criminal).

We used to have to throw pipes in the gutter and cover them with cement in the dead middle of the night, just so that people in wheelchairs could navigate the sidewalks of intersections. What was then illegal is now the law. I believe that this same issue with re-formatting and reprocessing for accessibility will get resolved legally that same way.

summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30417126)

The treaty would not only "allow" cross-border sharing of books for the blind, it would *require* such sharing under enforceable provisions of an international treaty. What the copyright owners are saying is that they are trying to accomplish the same voluntarily, but oppose the imposition of statute. As for Google, it's easy to be generous with other people's stuff, especially when they stand to benefit from ancillary relationships with officials in developing countries, so I don't see why their opinion is even newsworthy.

Re:summary is misleading (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417216)

"What the copyright owners are saying is that they are trying to accomplish the same voluntarily, but oppose the imposition of statute."

Ah, yes the invisible hand of the free market. The free market doesn't serve the underserved, and with the current attitude of "maximize profits at the expense of everything and everyone else" guarantees that the underserved will continue to be underserved.

The free market hasn't solved this, and will not solve it voluntarily.

Watch me cry Glenn Beck tears for the free market. Boo. Hoo.

--
BMO

Re:summary is misleading (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417426)

The free market hasn't solved this

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

In an actual free market every book ever written would be available in any format desired; it's not as if it's a hard problem to solve technically. So frankly, just revoke copyright already, it's screwing everything from the economy to the handicapped and it needs to be put down like the diseased abomination of an experiment that it's turned out to be.

Re:summary is misleading (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30419290)

Why does a person need to own a house and yard and maintain his bank balance after he's in the ground? The same arguments attacking the notion of copyright can be made against the notion of physical property. So are you advocating we abolish the notion of physical property, as well? If not, why not?

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man.

Re:summary is misleading (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30419692)

For this, I'll use the example of Bill Gates.

Bill Gates has seen inherited wealth lead to idleness and worse. He's determined to give away his fortune before he dies so that his descendants don't sit on their arses.

--
BMO

Re:summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30420258)

Gates is following the lead of the 19th century robber barons (Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, etc.) in *voluntarily* contributing much (but not all!) of his wealth to philanthropic causes. Good for him, whether his motivations are entirely altruistic or with some mixture of self-interest (e.g. to prevent the dissipation of his heirs, as you suggest).

This seems to be the same position that the copyright holders would like to maintain wrt books for the blind outside the country. They are willing to make those donations, in fact they have done so within the USA, but oppose implementation of legal sanctions that they do so.

Re:summary is misleading (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418168)

The treaty would not only "allow" cross-border sharing of books for the blind, it would *require* such sharing

Books for those with sight can be freely shared across borders today (I lend books to friends in other countries all the time). All the blind are really asking for here is equal rights.

OUTLAWS (5, Funny)

d'fim (132296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417138)

But if we outlaw books for the blind, then only the blind will have books! Oh, wait.....

just a misunderstanding (4, Funny)

formfeed (703859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417160)

the industry thought "treaty for the blind" meant "treaty readable by the blind"
- which would seriously compromise the concept of illegible small print.

the bottom line (3, Informative)

jt418-93 (450715) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417198)

having read more than this article about it:
copyright holders, for the most part, are against ANYTHING that decrease their rights in any form. doesn't matter if it's for blind, crippled orphans. they should pay too. slippery slope and all that. in one of the articles the mafiaa lawyer actually said that. slippery slope in decreasing any copyright restrictions. they have worked too hard to get them increased to see things start going the other way....

gods, i hate the monkeys on this planet sometimes...

Re:the bottom line (3, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417970)

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.

Re:the bottom line (1)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418194)

slippery slope in decreasing any copyright restrictions. they have worked too hard to get them increased to see things start going the other way....

There is also the other half of the slippery slope. Tighten down copyright law too far and no one can actually use your copyright protected product and so they stop buying it.

Re:the bottom line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30418938)

Lets see, the right to life is a basic right for some constitutions and all of the international (citizen-political) rights treaties. Therefore, a country with a significant HIV and AIDS problem have the right to circumvent the copyrights and patents of the medical industry. Some constitutions include the rights for education, culture, identity and ultimately, freedom of expression as basic rights and as reading is a significant and necessary component for realizing these rights, the governments should be able to circumvent the copyrights of the media industry in these cases.
We have a legal goooooooaaaaaallll!

Re:the bottom line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30419102)

I dont see the issue.

There is no reason that crippled orphans should get anything for free.

Of course, thats not what the article is about, and you could have at least read the summary. (yes, i must be new here, but come on, thats a retarded strawman)

Re:the bottom line (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30419436)

having read more than this article about it: copyright holders, for the most part, are against ANYTHING that decrease their profit in any form. doesn't matter if it's for blind, crippled orphans. they should pay too. slippery slope and all that. in one of the articles the mafiaa lawyer actually said that. slippery slope in decreasing any copyright restrictions. they have worked too hard to get them increased to see things start going the other way....

gods, i hate the monkeys on this planet sometimes...

T, FTFY. And as much as I hate it, I don't really blame them for it. They exist for a reason and the reason is profit, nothing else. Profit is *the* motivation of everything they do -- be it good or evil.

And I tend to forgive them these days.

Re:the bottom line (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30420384)

Apes, not monkeys.

what words (1)

GarretSidzaka (1417217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417208)

blind or shortsighted is the words i would have used to describe this corporate activity, but that would be inappropriate with the context.

Horrible (1)

Transfinite (1684592) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417218)

Well this will just come back to haunt them. Google has wisely realised that you don't pick on disabilities, it makes you look, bad, like a bully. At the end of the day if I understand correctly, this is just move to make books more accessible to the blind, it's not about the blind stealing their precious content. These guys better wise up the world is changing around them. Perhaps as individuals it's time we boycotted and voted with our choices. Horrible.

Typical (1)

omb (759389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417270)

The US content Industry does it again, after Banksters, these Executives are the most greedy, egregious and un-feeling.

The only solution, to modify COPYRIGHT time limits back to sensible values eg 25 years or 10 years after author's death, whichever is shorter.

The only innovation in consumer creative enterprise is now happening in spite of, rather than because of these monopolistic idiots, eg Harry Potter, written by an unmarried mum in a cafe in Edinburough.

As usual, the major obstacle, is to get the US legislature under control, or for the Supreme Court to become strict Constitutional activists.

Unfortunately the media, which should alert the public is now also fully corrupted, vide Climategate ... "No problem, it is all a storm in a teacup, keep watching the Polar Bears while we destroy the modern economy".

The only way to survive, without interstellar space travel, is the boxes (soap, ...), and Fusion power.

Compromise? (2, Interesting)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417334)

How about this. It's completely acceptable to no-one, but would allow the blind access to digitized books:
Any work can be played by a synthesized voice on readers owned by the blind, until such time as a licit spoken version is available from the publisher.
This would give the publisher an incentive to release audible versions read by the author/professional reader, while allowing the blind access until that time (should it ever come, which in the case of most books, it won't).

Re:Compromise? (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417934)

You should not need someone's permission to use a stinking TTS program.

Screw the blind on principle (5, Informative)

t0p (1154575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417402)

Seems to me a lot of people are replying to this without reading the article. Nothing new there, but if said people did read it, they might stop making some pretty dumb comments. Allow me to quote a relevant passage: -------- 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. ------------ A simple example: A British non-profit organization makes books to give/sell cheaply to blind people in Britain *as is currently allowed by WIPO treaty*. But the Brisish organization can't give surplus books to blind people in Ireland. They have to destroy them. The proposal would allow the British organization to give the books to blind foreigners. Just like "piracy" huh? (idiots) Apparently, the industry opposes this on "principle". That's good. It's okay to fuck over the blind so log as it's a principled fucking-over.

Re:Screw the blind on principle (1)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417736)

Thanks for the summary. I take it that the businesses are determined to screw the blind. Its foolish business like this that make it certain that we need state regulation to protect the disadvantaged. Anyone care to explain why its a good idea to screw over blind people? Is it to get me to vote for the state to regulate everything because its obvious that business has no sense of responsibility at all and is greedy enough to kill the planet, pitchfork babies, mutate the unborn and generally treat us all like shit so long as they can screw money out of us? No wonder capitalism is fucked. We may as well have sharia law for all the good democracy is doing us. The west is begining to look like a philosophical dead end. 400 years from enlightenment to irrelevance. Oh I dont like the faults of the welfare state or centralaly directed social reform, but I didnt like the Third Reich disposing of cripples either. Surely we can do better than this?

Re:Screw the blind on principle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30418440)

The problem, you see is that not every country is as...rigorous at keeping things from happening against the rules as others. Seriously, who is going to assure the publishers that their works aren't going to be given to people who aren't blind?

It's much like say electronics used in fighter jets. Do you think the US gives out the best stuff to every country in the world? No. They might sell the jets, but they're not going to sell all the computers to put in them.

Is this a valid concern for publishing companies? I think so, they have as much a right to protect what is their livelihood and property as anybody else. This right is not absolute, but so far I haven't seen much that tells me they're in the absolute wrong here.

Re:Screw the blind on principle (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418768)

> The problem, you see is that not every country is as...rigorous at keeping
> things from happening against the rules as others. Seriously, who is going
> to assure the publishers that their works aren't going to be given to people
> who aren't blind?

That simply isn't the great tragedy that Big Content wants to make it out to be.

Not as clear cut as it sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30417452)

There's a big reason why they are unified against it. Remember most industries are required by law to provide content. Others do it under severe pressure. Notice that there is no additional cost in materials for the blind? The makers have to provide it at their own expense. Even though the article talks about books for the blind I doubt that's the real issue. Unless the capability is disabled most any book can be read out loud by an eReader not just books for the blind. Some OSs have the capability built in as well. I'm guessing they are drawing the line because of the next likely step, requiring all media content to be blind friendly in every country you sell to. That's why Hollywood is concerned because it would be a massive expense. Already it's extremely expensive to do voice overs in foreign languages which limits distribution. Add in blind content, verbal descriptions of action basically, in foreign languages and you limit distribution to only major markets cutting off a big chunk of revenue making films on the edge unprofitable. I seriously doubt anyone is trying to keep material for the blind from blind people in other countries but they have faced this kind of escalation before and if down the road they pass a treaty requiring blind content for people in every country that media is released in most will simply avoid distributing in most countries. Yes I know, why we'll just get the material off torrents! Trust me the more marginal films start to loose money the more sequels and remakes you'll see. I think if there were assurances that the treaty wouldn't be expanded the problem would go away. There are hundreds of potential languages to support and many of the countries only represent thousands to tens of thousands in sales anyway so instead of a small profit they'd be facing losses potentially in many existing markets. Remember also that markets are regional not country by country. Africa is a small market so if they have to support dozens of languages they just avoid the whole market. Even in Europe they only normally do foreign language versions for 5 or 6 languages when we're talking dozens of languages. Handicapped support is a third rail subject so they know if it gets out of hand they will loose. Limit it to allowing english language versions international and I'll bet money the issue goes away.

Re:Not as clear cut as it sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30418286)

if you had read the article you would've noticed the part which read "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.". notice the "federal grant" part. thats tax payer money not money from the coffers of big content.
Also this treaty doesnt mandate that the producer of the content has to be saddled with the cost of conversion for the blind, all it is about is allowing for the sharing of already created at tax payer expense books for the blind.

they arent unified against it because of any legitimate reason apart from the weakening of their state granted monopolies within a capitalist econamy. you seem like an evil socialist who wants the govurnment to keep handing out welfare.

disingenuous (0)

aevans (933829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30417464)

`Google is being disingenuous. They are not a copyright holder, and they are actually seeking an exception for themselves ("on behalf of" the blind, of course.) What makes blind people so special that they shouldn't have to pay for books and movies. Are we legally calling them invalid? Should we take away their right to vote? Seriously, blind people aren't calling for this legislation (except the ones who would vote for a tax on their neighbor to pay themselves.) They can buy or borrow their own books and movies, and they don't need Google to permit them to do it.

Selfish Greedy Bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30417522)

No additional comment needed. Oh, wait . . .

Keep track of these companies (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418056)

When, inevitably, these douche bags find themselves lobbying some government for "fair treatment", this conduct would be a lovely thing to throw in their face. Especially in an election year.

we already have this in the United States (4, Informative)

osssmkatz (734824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418068)

bookshare.org legally operates out of an exemption from copyright law that allows the visually impaired to subscribe to a library of ebooks in an accessible format. (DAISY)

I imagine the treaty just extends this internationally.

--Sam

Leave it to Google too be evil (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30418250)

Yet again they have to be the vil black sheep that ruins it for everyone else. Do they not realise blind people are rolling in cash and should be paying a premium for anything.

Copyright is theft (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30419316)

Why is anyone surprised?

lamers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30419498)

my sister is blind from birth; its not polite to refer to it as a disability, for us with sight it would suck to loose our sight, but she never had it to begin with, so she tends to see it as an integral part of her very personhood.

i nearly got busted for cracking a screenreader program for her because she neither could afford it nor would anyone get it for her (not even all the organizations or govt); the program is about a $1000. she's been blind since birth, has hardly any contact with the outside world because of mobility issues, and i almost get busted for getting her something that greatly improved her quality of living.

Never underestimate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30419744)

Never underestimate the power of Corporate Greedy Bastardism(tm). To Hell and bedamned all others. The Corporation is first, last and always. It is the new Alpha and Omega. The Corporation is the only citizen with a vote. The Corporation will impose feudal status (or not) to whomever submits and labors for it. Many toil, few (very few) prosper. Go ahead, you can go work somewhere else. Here the blind are deemed a threat to the billions these companies have (millionths of a penny on the dollar), but it goes against the spirit of never letting anything go if you don't have to. It goes against the greed ethos. All for me, none for you. As an entity in our society, it should have been destroyed a very long time ago. It should have never been allowed to grow as powerful as it is now. Corporations, if they are persons, are psychologically damaged. They are schizophrenic, psychopathic and exhibit very anti-social behaviours and tendencies. The blind deserve much better than what some board wants. The board needs the board of education.

doesn't surprise me (1)

WeeBit (961530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30420252)

A few months ago I was helping a sight impaired individual set up their computer. I ran into a snag, and went looking online for some help. I came across a person and their exact words were to me... "Why would a blind person need a computer? Unfortunately, this person was not the first one I ran across online. On rare occasions it just floors me on the remarks I get from some people. Some of them act like they (sight given) have the only right to be online. A few I wished I could of given them a knuckle sandwich, or a swift kick in the butt. It doesn't surprise me that businesses online or even IRL have the same attitude. Unless a sight impairment reaches up, and bites them in the ass, they just don't think anything is wrong in how they feel about it. It's not their problem.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>