TACD Closing Statement at WIPO Diplomatic Conference for Treaty of Visually Impaired




The Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue is a forum for millions of consumers on both sides of the Atlantic and we are very pleased to be here for this historic event.



This treaty sets a precedent on many grounds. The democratic process, application of human rights, and the extension of new user rights with regards to access to knowledge.



First of all, we should all congratulate ourselves on an exemplary exercise of transparency, civil society participation, and multilateral cooperation. I would especially like to thank the WIPO Secretariat for their openness and flexibility with regard to opening up the channels of communication and information. It is a clear example of what is sorely needed in the political sphere in general to renew citizen confidence in its political institutions.



This treaty also means that WIPO has shown that it can be a vehicle for application of human rights law, concretely the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This is especially momentous and significant.



This treaty also establishes a number of historic precedents with regards to international copyright law. It is the first international treaty that focuses exclusively on limitations and exceptions to copyright to extend user rights, favoring users as opposed to the rightholders. Concretely, it introduces, for the first time in an international treaty, some new doctrines in international copyright law that are of special significance such as fair use.



Looking towards the future, let’s hope that our political leaders can learn the positive lessons from the process that has led us to a successful treaty for the visually impaired. Before us we have some very important international negotiations such as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which would greatly benefit from the level of transparency, democratic participation and multilateralism that we enjoyed in this WIPO process. (I hope these other processes can learn from this example)



There are many other fields of access to knowledge that need to advanced: open access to scientific data and information, orphan works, stronger rights for libraries, text and data mining, and addressing specific concerns for countries of the Global South in education and technical assistance.



We have taken a very important step for millions of visually impaired persons. It is a step of justice, human rights, and simply, common sense. We have injected a clear dose of new rationality into international copyright law. Let’s hope that this treaty is ratified and implemented swiftly and effectively. Thanks to tens of thousands of blind and visually impaired persons around the world for fighting throughout decades for what is just and necessary. It has set an example for all of us.


Thank you.