Respond to the call of the European Blind Union and contact your government´s representatives or copyright department in EU or US to ask them to stop supporting the fatal weakening of the text of the WIPO Treaty for the Visually Impaired that will be concluded in the coming weeks.
Please act now to save the blind people’s book famine treaty from the EU
negotiators! Here is a letter sent today to member of European Parliament.
Dear members of EP Petitions Committee:
I am writing to you about the European Blind Union’s (EBU) campaign for
an international treaty at the World Intellectual Property Organisation
(WIPO) to remove the copyright barriers that create a “book famine”.
I say “book famine”, because in most countries, only some 1% of books
are ever made available in formats that blind people can read, such as
audio, large print or Braille. (In the richest still only some 7% are
available in these formats.)
You may recall that the Petitions Committee has supported the EBU
campaign for this treaty following EBU’s Petition (0924/2011)and the
subsequent Resolution on this matter:
WIPO aims to conclude this treaty in June 2013 in a diplomatic
conference in Marrakech, Morocco. That makes the next two months of
treaty text negotiations crucial.
For years, the EU negotiators refused to even negotiate this treaty, but
with your help the Council mandated the Commission to do so last summer.
However, the current EU negotiating position would make the treaty
worthless to the people who need it: blind people and their
organisations. Why? Because the EU is pushing for wording in the treaty:
– to require, as a condition of using the treaty, charities to
carry out bureaucratic, costly and unworkable checks
EC6CD0000/#_ftn1> to supposedly ensure an accessible book is not
already “commercially available” in another country in the right format,
price and at the same time as the print version- to prevent charities from sending accessible format books to blind
individualsThis is not supposed to be a treaty to “protect” publishers from blind
people! We respect publishers, but note that existing copyright law
already protects publishers from piracy and misuse of their books.
This treaty is about blind people. It is supposed to help blind people
get access to books they need, to help end the “book famine”.
We need to be able to send books to those who need them in other
countries without unnecessary bureaucracy. We must also be able to send
books directly to blind individuals- something modern technology allows
to be done quickly and safely.
WIPO negotiators will meet again in Geneva between 18th and 20th April.
Please urge the Council and Commission to negotiate a treaty that is
simple and workable for blind people and their organisations- not a
Please note that Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee will have an
“exchange of views” with the Commission on this matter on the morning of
19th March, and the European Blind Union will attend. Perhaps you or a
colleague on the Committee might use this opportunity to raise the
European Blind Union’s concerns (as above).
For more information, please feel free to contact me.
European Blind Union
c/o Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
105 Judd Street
WC1H 9NE. UK
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7391 2009
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7391 2395
See WIPO draft treaty Doc “SCCR/25/2 REV.” Text in
Article D3 and related proposal in the annex to that document D(3)
Alternative B. Also first text proposal on Article E in the annex of
EC6CD0000/#_ftnref2> See annex “Note on Article D(2)(B)” of WIPO draft
treaty Doc SCCR/25/2 REV