“Now is the time”: TACD oral statement at WIPO SCCR24

The future is now, Now is not the time to simply “keep on making progress.”  This SCCR is the time to finish work on text for a Treaty.

When this issue comes out in the open the solutions become much more evident than within these walls.

The democratic representatives of the European Union are  in favor of an effective,  binding International Treaty for visually impaired persons and other print disabled. European citizens are overwhelmingly in favor. It seems this is not the case of the EUs representatives here today.

EP Parliament Unanimous vote in February 2012 in Strasbourg. Commissioner Michel Barnier committed himself to work for a binding International Treaty, nothing less, as soon as possible. There is a large majority of EU ms in favor of this position and in the near future this will surely become the position of the Council. It is unthinkable and politically unviable to think that EU member states will reject the unanimous position of their own democratic representatives.

The EP committee that is monitoring this commitment is the Petitions Committee that last Thursday held a session where MEPs from different political groups strongly pressured the EC and the EU Council to act at WIPO at this  SCCR meeting coherently and to convene a diplomatic conference for the signing of a binding treaty. There exists no legal impediment, according to the EU´s Lisbon Treaty for the EU to ask for TVI to be placed on the agenda of the next GA and for the convening of a diplomatic conference in 2013. Before the DC the EU Council will have ample time to formalize its mandate to seek a Treaty in accordance with the overwhelming demand of its democratic representatives.

It would be a democratic travesty if the EUs representatives here today posed any problems to a clear roadmap for a binding international treaty especially by posing unrealistic proposals with regards to authorized entities and other issues very far from consensus positions in WIPO and in clear contradiction with the aims of the World Blind Union.  As far as working hard to reach a treaty agreement text the EUs representative says one thing in Brussels and act in the opposite directions here in Geneva.

We agree that delegates should be willing to work nights, Saturday and Sunday to reach a final agreement on a Text to send to the General Assembly. Time is of the essence and it would be a moral failure to leave this SCCR empty handed.

Back room deals, rumors, procedural filibusterism, political muscle flexing and futile bilateral discussions are not the best way to progress toward the 2012  WIPO General Assembly decision to convene a diplomatic conference in 2013 with the aim of finally approving an effective, binding Treaty for the Visually Impaired. On the other hand, responsiveness to democratic demands and to the needs of millions of visually impaired and print disabled persons are sufficient grounds to move swiftly toward the approval of a binding treaty. Let´s seize the moment.

3 comments for ““Now is the time”: TACD oral statement at WIPO SCCR24

  1. July 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    From the above DH post:

    — On the other hand, responsiveness to democratic demands and to the needs of millions of visually impaired and print disabled persons are sufficient grounds to move swiftly toward the approval of a binding treaty.

    This is the definition of Beneficiary persons from the current WIPO SCCR 23/7 document:

    ARTICLE B
    BENEFICIARY PERSONS
    A beneficiary person is a person who
    (a) is blind;
    (b) has a visual impairment or a perceptual or reading disability or ANY OTHER print
    disability …

    So while you can say ‘millions’ of persons what is indicated by all the data is that component is ‘hundreds of millions’ of persons worldwide who should be exempt from copyright restrictions and should be considered as a ‘certain special case(s)’ under existing copyright treaties.

  2. July 22, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Bravo, David! I couldn’t agree with you more that the time is now!

  3. July 22, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Re: The time is now:

    Our patience is great. We have worked at WIPO for years on this matter. However, our resources are not without limits. If WIPO members cannot fulfill their obligations under the United Nations and its Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities it will be a very sad day indeed for this global body. In such a case we shall ensure that WIPO’s inability to conclude this issue with clarity and determination, will be reported to the the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Monitoring Commitee and to the Secretary General of the UN. We shall be forced to take our fight to other institutions and into the streets.

    — David Hammerstein, June 29, 2010 http://tacd-ip.org/archives/72

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