Blindsided in Marrakesh

Hadn’t yet seen this when I was writing the previous post (h/t reader JB) but it certainly speaks to why the MPAA might be looking to bolster its connections with U.S. trade authorities and the Obama Administration. The studio group had worked hard to limit the scope of the WIPO treaty on copyright exceptions for works for the blind, pressing U.S. negotiators to keep references to “fair use” out of treaty. Yet no sooner had negotiators concluded a deal that included that language anyway,then the U.S. State Department put out a statement endorsing the treaty and vowing to move swiftly for its ratification:

On June 27 in Marrakesh, the United States was pleased to join more than 150 other countries in adopting a treaty to increase access to print materials for the world’s estimated 340 million blind, visually impaired and other persons with print disabilities at a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Diplomatic Conference hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco. The United States considers the agreement reached in Marrakesh to be an important achievement that will help reduce the book famine that confronts the blind — the lack of accessible formats of books for people with print disabilities — while maintaining the integrity of the international copyright framework.

Adoption of the treaty is the first step, and the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to secure advice and consent to ratification of the Treaty.


It’s not like nobody has noticed since that the MPAA got stiffed, either.