[Nfbc-info] International Copyright Concerns for Blind Readers
DFrye at nfb.org
Fri May 29 19:30:56 UTC 2009
I am circulating a lengthy post regarding efforts to limit an
international treaty that would allow for rules that parallel
existing domestic exceptions to the copyright law for blind people to
govern in an international context. Please help bring pressure on
authorities by letting President Obama know that these provisions
would be useful, and ask him to direct his representatives to abandon
their hostile posture toward aspects of the treaty that would be
helpful. You may Email your concerns to:
<mailto:President at whitehouse.gov>President at whitehouse.gov
The post follows:
Right now, in Geneva, at the UN's World Intellectual Property
Organization, history is being made. For the first time in WIPO
history, the body that creates the world's copyright treaties is
attempting to write a copyright treaty dedicated to protecting the
interests of copyright users, not just copyright owners.
At issue is a treaty to protect the rights of blind people and people
with other disabilities that affect reading (people with dyslexia,
people who are paralyzed or lack arms or hands for turning pages).
This should be a slam dunk: who wouldn't want a harmonized system of
copyright exceptions that ensure that it's possible for disabled
people to get access to the written word?
The USA, that's who. The Obama administration'
US negotiators have joined with a rogue's gallery of rich country
trade representatives to oppose protection for blind people. Other
nations and regions opposing the rights of blind people include
Canada and the EU.
Update: Also opposing rights for disabled people: Australia, New
Zealand, the Vatican and Norway.
Activists at WIPO are desperate to get the word out. They're tweeting
madly from the negotiation (technically called the 18th session of
the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights) publishing
editorials on the Huffington Post, etc.
Here's where you come in: this has to get wide exposure, to get cast
as broadly as possible, so that it will find its way into the ears of
the obscure power-brokers who control national trade-negotiators.
I don't often ask readers to do things like this, but please, forward
this post to people you know in the US, Canada and the EU, and ask
them to reblog, tweet, and spread the word, especially to government
officials and activists who work on disabled rights. We know that
WIPO negotiations can be overwhelmed by citizen activists -- that's
how we killed the Broadcast Treaty negotiation a few years back --
and with your help, we can make history, and create a world where
copyright law protects the public interest.
I am attending a meeting in Geneva of the World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO). This evening the United States government, in
combination with other high income countries in "Group B" is seeking
to block an agreement to discuss a treaty for persons who are blind
or have other reading disabilities.
The proposal for a treaty is supported by a large number of civil
society NGOs, the World Blind Union, the National Federation of the
Blind in the US, the International DAISY Consortium, Recording for
the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D), Bookshare.Org, and groups representing
persons with reading disabilities all around the world.
The main aim of the treaty is to allow the cross-border import and
export of digital copies of books and other copyrighted works in
formats that are accessible to persons who are blind, visually
impaired, dyslexic or have other reading disabilities, using special
devices that present text as refreshable braille, computer generated
text to speech, or large type. These works, which are expensive to
make, are typically created under national exceptions to copyright
law that are specifically written to benefit persons with disabilities.
The opposition from the United States and other high income countries
is due to intense lobbying from a large group of publishers that
oppose a "paradigm shift,"
where treaties would protect consumer interests, rather than expand
rights for copyright owners.
The Obama Administration was lobbied heavily on this issue, including
meetings with high level White House officials. Assurances coming
into the negotiations this week that things were going in the right
direction have turned out to be false, as the United States
delegation has basically read from a script written by lobbyists for
publishers, extolling the virtues of market based solutions, ignoring
mountains of evidence of a "book famine" and the insane legal
barriers to share works.
Obama Joins Group to Block Treaty for Blind and Other Reading
Disabilities COPYRIGHT EXCEPTIONS AND LIMITATIONS Twitter feed for #sccr18
With Kind Regards,
Daniel B. Frye, J.D.
The Braille Monitor
National Federation of the Blind
Office of the President
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Telephone: (410) 659-9314 Ext. 2208
Mobile: (410) 241-7006
Fax: (410) 685-5653
Email: <mailto:DFrye at nfb.org>DFrye at nfb.org
Web Address: <http://www.nfb.org/>www.nfb.org
"Voice of the Nation's Blind"
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