Sony referred to “WIPO treaty for blind as “stalking horse” to “denigrate the rights of copyright owners”

In the new Wikileaks archives of leaked Sony documents (Link here), there is a memo (, which describes Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) concern over the proposed WIPO treaty for copyright exceptions for persons who are blind or have other disabilities. The memo, undated in the Wikileaks archives, but probably written in 2009, included the following passages:

DECE Content Protection

First let me say that content protection is a priority for SPE. Unless we protect our content against unauthorized copying, we run the risk of travelling the same road as the music industry. I have no interest in that route, a route that lead to the delivery of unencrypted music downloads and a 50% decline in revenues.

Pressure from international territories – Now that music services have launched unencrypted music downloads, and music is no longer locked to a platform, we are the next target. While DECE is not the “be all and end all” and we will not answer all the attacks on copyright, it does answer many of our critics’ call for interoperability. Just some of the attacks from those who would like to do away with technological protection measures:

* WIPO Development Agenda: At the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (“SCCR”) meeting held from May 25 to May 29, a treaty drafted by the World Blind Union (“WBU”) was introduced by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay, which would define and expand the “limitations and exceptions”” to the rights of copyright holders While the WBU is primarily interested in “printed matter,” the complaints of the visually impaired are being used as a “stalking horse” by those whose interests are to denigrate the rights of copyright owners.

Among the treaty proposals are:

** Technological protection measures can be circumvented to enable production of accessible formats of copyrighted works without authorization of the copyright owner; that accessible format can be supplied to the visually impaired by any means

** Pricing requirements for developing country readers would be imposed coupled with an ability to circumvent technological protection measures.

** Global copyright exception would be created for cases where publishers do not create accessible versions

** Compulsory license/royalty for commercial use; no license/royalty for personal use

* Canada: Treaty should “allow multiple approaches for domestic production of accessible formats” enabled by a compulsory license or conditional exception.

* European Union: An exception for format shifting is currently under consideration.

* France: While the MPA/Content Owners were successful in defeating a proposed legislative enactment that would have created an exception to the rights of copyright holders for format shifting, the decision is currently under challenge in the courts.

* United Kingdom: Consideration currently being given in Parliament to an exception for format shifting.