Obama admin: Mandated exemptions can strengthen copyright

30 12 2009

The Obama administration has offered up a strange mix of copyright policies in its first year (both ACTA and Creative Commons, for instance), but it has at least made clear that “better copyright law” does not always mean “more copyright protection.” In the middle of December, for instance, the administration took a stand in support of a World Intellectual Property Organization treaty on copyright exceptions for the blind. The final bit of the US statement of support is worth quoting in full (emphasis added):

We recognize that some in the international copyright community believe that any international consensus on substantive limitations and exceptions to copyright law would weaken international copyright law. The United States does not share that point of view. The United States is committed to both better exceptions in copyright law and better enforcement of copyright law. Indeed, as we work with countries to establish consensus on proper, basic exceptions within copyright law, we will ask countries to work with us to improve the enforcement of copyright. This is part and parcel of a balanced international system of intellectual property.

It’s a call for “balanced” copyright taken directly to the WIPO—and it’s one opposed by the deepest-pocketed copyright holders. Here’s why.

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