EU pushes stronger copyright in TTIP but no exceptions in public interest

Based on intervention made for TACD at TTIP stakeholders plenary July 15th in Brussels

With a clear lack of balance in its approach the EU position in the TTIP negotiations asks for more copyright protections for the renumeration of broadcasters and rights holders but makes no mention of the needs of public interest exceptions for libraries or people with disabiities.

“On copyright, in the EU flagged  the following priorities as areas of offensive interest in the TTIP negotiations: 1) remuneration rights for broadcasting and communication to the public (public performance) for performers and producers in phonograms, 2) a full right of communication to the public (public performance) for authors in bars, restaurants and shops and 3) a resale right for creators of original works of art (Source:EU Position Paper on Intellectual Property, March 2015).”

Sorely missing from this one-sided rights-holder perspective is support for the Marrakesh Treaty for Visually Impaired Persons that permits the cross-border sharing of materials formatted for blind persons around the world. Surprisingly, this copyright and human rights treaty has still not been rartified by the European Union. TTIP could be an opportunity for both the US and the EU to assure swift ratification and implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty.

While the EU is energetically supporting in TTIP and at WIPO a very questionable new layer of copyright protection for broadcasters and their transmissions on the internet (not the content!), it is opposing internationally at WIPO and ignoring in TTIP any progress toward providing copyright flexibilities for the public interest role libraries carry out for preservation and dessemination of science, culture and education.

This monochrome EU copyright strategy for TTIP reflects a total lack of equilibrium between IPR protection and the right to culture of consumers and citizens as a whole.

1 comment for “EU pushes stronger copyright in TTIP but no exceptions in public interest

  1. July 18, 2015 at 8:56 am

    The 2012 US ratification Transmittal Document for the UN CRPD stated at PDF page 81:

    U.S. copyright law is in full compliance with, and will serve to implement (UN CRPD) Section 30. Section 121 of the Copyright Act includes a narrow exception for the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted materials for use by persons who are blind or have other disabilities. … The exception for such reproductions is limited because it is balanced against the rights of copyright owners and designed to be consistent with our obligations under international treaties.

    In Mr. Hammerstein wrote 2013 that:

    — Article 2(b). Defines the term “accessible format copy” — This is a broad definition which does not limit the format or the technique you use to make a book accessible
    — There is no specific process or approval mechanism to qualify as an “Authorised Entity”. Meeting the (broad) criteria in Article 2c is sufficient.
    — Article 3. Defines Beneficiary Persons. It’s a broad definition that includes just about any disability that interferes with the effective reading of printed material.

    Some now backing the US ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty say that no changes in current US Copyright Law are required prior to any such ratification. However, it seems at a minimum, the US Copyright law would have to go from being ‘narrow’ and ‘limited’, as in the CRPD document, to being ‘broad’.

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