Blind Copyright

I have been meaning to post on this for quite a while.

There was a meeting recently in Geveva of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) where there was a proposal to create a new treaty for blind (and other reading disabled) people to have cross-border access to digital books.

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.

And who wanted to kill discussion of the treaty? The US and other countries in “Group B” – including Australia.

Last week Obama worked with PhRMA to kill a Medical R&D Treaty at the World Health Organization. This week he is trying to kill a treaty for blind and reading disabled persons. This is not encouraging.

Disgraceful. Disgusting. Awful.