US Department of State Demarche against fair use in WIPO treaty for blind

In February 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reached a very difficult compromise of the broader copyright issues that were blocking progress on a treaty on copyright exceptions for blind persons. As part of that compromise, the negotiators agreed to this text:

Contracting parties may fulfill their rights and obligations under this Treaty through, exceptions or limitations specifically for the benefit of beneficiary persons, other exceptions or limitations, or a combination thereof within their national legal traditions/systems. These may include judicial, administrative or regulatory determinations for the benefit of beneficiary persons as to fair practices, dealings or uses to meet their needs.

Almost immediately after this text was distributed, the MPAA launched into a series of attacks on the Obama Administration, demanding they remove any reference to “fair use.” In response, the Department of State sent out a secret Demarche to several countries, asking that they remove the reference to fair use in the text.

A copy of one such exchange is attached, from a March 26, 2013 exchange of emails from Carl E. Schonander, from the office of Intellectual Property Affairs, to Douglas Climan, an Economic Officer in the Office of the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria. Climan then wrote someone from the Nigeria government, making reference to lobbying by Nollywood on this issue (blacked out in 3rd paragraph).

More on the MPAA lobbying on this issue here: