The international community, through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), is currently negotiating a treaty intended to improve access to books for the visually impaired, a cause the Motion Picture Association believes is both commendable and important to pursue. We were among the first to support this particular agreement and its goal of enabling the cross-border exchange of accessible-format copies among those participating countries.
Unfortunately, however, some groups have sought to use this meaningful treaty as a vehicle to weaken copyright and ultimately undermine the global marketplace WIPO is charged with strengthening. Such groups have advocated for the inclusion of certain provisions that would establish lower thresholds for copyright protection and weaken certain means used for protecting copyright works. When content owners voiced their concerns with these provisions, these groups attempted to inaccurately portray content owners as being opposed to the treaty.
We believe that access for the blind to books and other publications is a cause worth promoting. We also believe in the fundamental principles of copyright that empower creators and encourage creativity around the world. Unlike those who seek to weaken copyright protection, we believe these two objectives are not mutually exclusive. Strong copyright laws also benefit consumers by promoting free markets and incentivizing innovation, both of which are hallmarks of a healthy global economy.
We are gratified that the European Union and U.S. Government have confirmed their belief in these principles, which do not need to be sacrificed in order to achieve the goals of this treaty. We agree. This is proven by the fact that the United States, as do numerous other countries, achieves the goals of the treaty within the existing framework of copyright law. Moving forward, the MPAA will continue to work with all parties, including the blind community, to overcome these divergent agenda items with the ultimate objective of developing a treaty that meets the goals of everyone involved.