European Parliament votes on global Treaty for the Visually Impaired

Blind and dyslexic people need to read books in accessible formats such as braille, formatted audio or large print books. These are often made thanks to exceptions to national copyright laws that now work smoothly in most EU member states. Nevertheless, these books cannot legally cross borders.

Please support the legal right for blind people to access books by urging the European Commission and Council to agree to a binding worldwide “books without borders” treaty – something the EU has not been supporting until now.

An oral question in support of the European Blind Union´s petition will be debated on Wednesday, February 15th and voted upon in the plenary  at noon on Thursday, February 16th.

Ask your Members of the European Parliament (  to help end book famine face by blind and dyslexic people.

7 comments for “European Parliament votes on global Treaty for the Visually Impaired

  1. Armony ALTINIER
    February 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks for the information. Is there a way to publicly support this action? On the Web for instance?

    This question is supported by the European Blind Union. But what about the Deaf people? What about a”Web without borders” treaty, allowing to legally subtitle and make a text version for medias (video and audio) with Copyright on the Web?

    • February 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      You can support the petition by writing to MEPs ( You are totally right about the need for a subtitle exception for deaf persons. That can be next.

  2. February 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm


    We can all find books in libraries, where they are (mostly) free.

    Then again, the European Parlement is doing a good job:
    books on paper: yes,
    books on cd:; yes,
    electronic books: it becomes difficult.

    If you start argueing why/why not and eg think somebody wants to read it in another (secret) font type, you’re a psychiatric case and should fish for the right answer in a brain clinic.

  3. NIDELAT Claude
    February 10, 2012 at 12:09 am

    When will the harmonization of open access to reading books in all formats to persons with disabilities in the European Union? Thank you for the info.

  4. Armony ALTINIER
    February 10, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I can not find the debate or vote in the EP agenda. Do you have a link to the official information somewhere?

    Thanks by advance!

  5. February 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    The UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities states at Article 21a:

    “Providing information intended for the general public to persons with disabilities in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without additional cost”

    However the WIPO TVI (now SCCR23/7) would provide such information at NO cost.

    In the USA under Section 121 (Chafee Amendment) accessible materials are provided under prescribed conditions at no cost; similar in the UK even if under required licensing — but at least in USA these privileges were negotiated among the various interests. No one walked in and waved any human rights or even a domestic legislation document and said that the copyright owners were somehow mandated to provide these privileges to copyright exception.

    The disabled community may need to find a way to compel cooperation from the EU Commission by somehow making it to the Commission’s DIS-advantage to NOT honor these rights by convention — but the EU/WBU and other groups have as yet not find any way to do so.

    I have offered suggestions even published here on this website … oh well.

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