Broadcasting Treaty: will protecting broadcast signals threaten the Internet?


There is a very strong push for convening a diplomatic conference to approve the Broadcasting Treaty of the World Intellectual Property Organization at this week´s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights in Geneva.

At stake is the freedom to share cultural material on the internet, the concentration of power of large incumbent broadcasters and in general opening up with yet another absurd layer of copyright protection of a pandora´s box of new abuses and threats to digital rights and access to knowledge.

The EU and the US have different approaches to the Broadcast Treaty. While the EU is pushing for the convening of a diplomatic conference to approve a Treaty with a broad scope, the US is in no hurry and would prefer an international legal instrument with a narrow scope. Most of the countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa are not at all enthusiastic about this treaty and instead would appreciate a Library Treaty to facilitate the public mission of lending, sharing and preservation by means of exceptions and limitations.

The EU represented by the European Commission is the main force pushing for a broadcasting treaty (despite the fact that practically no one in the European Parliament know even about the existence of this proposal) more than ever to add another level of copyright protection for “traditional” incumbent broadcasters from “piracy” of their programs, specially on the internet, including “deferred” or “post-fixation” use of any broadcast. This could mean opening up great threats for digital rights and access to culture.

The US only wants a “Single right” that protects broadcasters from piracy of direct “simultaneously or near simultaneous” broadcast signals, like a live sporting event. Which means no extra protection of later use of the broadcast on the Internet.

India is also against any attempt to include webcasting, simulcasting or anything that is not live broadcasting. Broadcasters should not be given any new rights in other platforms. They should not be given any “blanket rights” nor “post-fixation rights”. If we have a treaty India supports clear exceptions for education, non-commercial use and other public interests.

EU Trade Day: Is trade about our values or “zombie deals”?

EU TRADE DAY: Do trade agreements represent the forward march of “EU values” or are they “zombie deals” against the public interest?

EU Trade Day #EutradeDay took place on June 23rd organized by the Directorate General of Trade of the European Commission and attended by over 500 representatives of businesses, NGO´s, consumers and trade-unions. There was a plenary session led by EC Trade Commissioner Cecelia Malmstrom and ten parallel break-out sessions that covered many diverse issues. Commisioner Malmstrom said that trade was one of the key ways the EU extends its social, economic and environmental values around the world and that these agreements should be carried out with a “bottom-up” approach with the wide participation of civil society. One of the main objectives of the day was to collect ideas for the EU´s new Trade Strategy that will be published in October of this year. (See BEUC position: )

The General Secretary of the Trade Union Council Francis O’Grady broke the ice by flatly stating that “zombie trade deals that are not in the public interest should be rejected” and concretely on the ISDS debate: “”The row in the European Parliament over foreign investor privileges in the EU-US trade deal proves that old-style Investor State Dispute Settlement is dead – no one supports it any more, on the left, on the right or in the Commission. And yet, zombie-like, it lives on in the Canada- EU deal, unreformed, unamended, and unacceptable.”

On the other side, the Eurochambre business representative and other industry leaders at the session on “How trade affects peoples lives”, insisted that “international trade has always been an important driver of progress by creating jobs, by benefitting EU companies and through promoting economic development in South.” Business Europe was convinced that “China has an increasing portion of world trade and as result is experiencing more evolution, more innovation and more competition.” Little mention was made by these representatives of how trade affects peoples lives.

French economist Messerlin stated that the “EU made a big mistake by putting talks over regulations under a trade agreement as opposed to direct ongoing transatlantic talks between regulators of US and EU”. He also said that many economists have doubts about including intellectual property protection in trade agreements because this means granting new temporary economic monopolies. He insisted that one thing was open trade and something else was regulatory harmonization, much of which will never happen between the US and the EU. One civil society attendee summed it up: “Today I learned that international trade is not about international trade.”

Many speakers voiced opposition to higher regulatory standards in trade agreements with countries of South because it would make it harder for them to compete on the world market. Many industry and Commission representatives referred to the trickle-down effect of international trade that ends up benefitting the majority by creating jobs.

Concern was expressed by some experts and Ngos of the possible regulatory chill effect trade agreements can have on public health measures to assure access to medicines, food safety and protection from toxic chemicals. In the case of locking in the high price of medicines the representative of Merck Pharmaceuticals responded that the principal problem was the lack of infrastructures and hospitals and not the high price of medicines often backed by rules included in trade agreements.

A number of civil society representatives and experts complained that while the purely economic aspects of international trade agreements and WTO rules had binding mechanisms for compliance while consumer rights, public health, environment and labour rights did not have equivalent enforcement measures.

In general, while many in the European Commission and industry representatives stated that the promotion of trade is usually a win-win situation in which the common good in health, environment and consumer rights are benefitted by expected economic growth and more jobs, there was also great concern among many citizens organizations that large economic interests influencing trade can easily trump greater public interest objectives.

EU Trade Day is the latest in a series of participatory events on trade as part of the recent “charm offensive” to show that the EU wants truly “bottom-up” approach to trade. But it still remains to be seen if civil society opinions will be decisive in the future of EU international trade negotiations and agreements.



Twenty one EU member states now agree to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty under EU competence and with a few more countries favourable there will be a qualified majority for the EU Council to ratify.”

This was the most important news given by the European Commission in the European Parliament on Wednesday speaking at an event sponsored by a cross-party group of MEPs and co-organized by the European Disability Forum, the European Blind Union, the World Blind Union and the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue. Two years after the international agreement was reached on a text for the Marrakesh Treaty for the Visually-impaired and while many countries around the world are already ratifying, EU ratification is blocked in the Council due to the “usual political power fight” among member states, according to Jazmin Battista, member of the Cabinet of Andrius Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Single Market.

On Wednesday, June 24th over 50 people from blind persons organizations,

NGOs, members of the European Parliament and the European Commission. MEPs from all the major political groups, Koch (EPP from Germany), Gasbarra (Socialist from Italy), Andersson(Green from Sweden), Girauta (Liberal from Spain) and Kuneva (Leftist from Greece), have committed themselves to act in favour of EU ratification both within the Parliament and through pressure in EU member states. MEPs also referred to an amendment in favor of swift EU ratification of Marrakesh in the Reda report on copyright that will be voted on in the Parliament´s July plenary session. Commissioners´ Ansip and Oettinger sent high-level members of their Cabinets to show their support for swift ratification and their commitment to guarantee the right to read of visually impaired persons in Europe and around the world. Maria Martín Prat, the head of the EU´s copyright unit also took an active part in the meeting.

The presidents of the European Disability Forum (EDF) and the European Blind Union (EBU), Yannis Vardakastanis and Wolfgang Angermann, respectively, explained the importance and the legal context of the Marrakesh Treaty within the long fight for the rights of persons with disabilities. They both stressed that the great effort invested in getting the Treaty could not be wasted now due to political in-fighting and procedural delays. The EDF´s president said in was unacceptable and against international law that important legislation for persons with disabilities such as the Marrakesh Treaty “was sleeping in the EU Council”. The EBU‘s president said that blind persons could not wait any longer to have access to 95% of the books which today are still un accessible and would start to be available with the treaty.

The representatives of the European Commission, without supplying any details, mentioned that they had proposed a “compromise” to EU member states to achieve swift EU ratification and that 21 countries had accepted the proposal. It is known that Germany and Italy have not accepted the proposal due to a rejection of exclusive EU competence to ratify the Treaty (despite the fact that almost all legal experts confirm there is no doubt about this).

The meeting concluded with the determination to take the ratification campaign to the national level, in particular to Germany and Italy, and to prepare a specific resolution on the issue in the European Parliament.

European Parliament supports copyright exception for text and data mining

Today the Legal Affairs Committee approved an amendment in favour of a copyright exception for text and data mining with the Reda Report on copyright.


Stresses the need to properly assess the enablement of automated analytical techniques for text and data (e.g. ‘text and data mining’ or ‘content mining’) for research purposes, provided that permission to read the work has been acquired;

European Parliament urges “swift ratification of Marrakesh Treaty”

Today the European Parliament´s Legal Affairs Committee approved the amendment below within the Reda Report on Copyright.


Underlines the importance of exceptions and limitations being accessible for persons with disabilities; in this regard notes the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty, which will facilitate access for the visually impaired to books, and encourages swift ratification; believes that the Treaty is a good step forward, but that much work remains to be done in order to open up access to content for people with different disabilities;

Save the date: “EU: Ratify Marrakesh Treaty now!” 24-6-15

“EU: Ratify the Marrakesh Treaty
for the right to read of blind and other visually impaired persons”

Sponsoring MEPs: Dieter-Lebrecht KOCH (EPP, DE), Enrico GASBARRA (S&D, IT), Juan Carlos GIRAUTA (ALDE, ES), Max ANDERSSON (Greens/EFA, SE)

Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD)
European Blind Union (EBU)
European Disability Forum (EDF)
World Blind Union (WBU)

Date of event: 24 June, 2015 13:00-14:30 (light lunch will be served outside the room starting at 12:30)
Location: European Parliament, room ASP A3G-2, Brussels

On June 28th, 2013 the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities was concluded in Morocco.

This international binding UN/WIPO treaty aims at ending the “book famine” that deprives 250 million people of access to culture and education. Visually impaired persons only have access to between 1 and 5% of the books published. The agreement focuses on copyright exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible and affordable versions of books and other copyrighted works. It sets a norm for countries ratifying the Treaty to have a domestic copyright exception covering these activities, and allowing for the import and export of such material.

Objective: Ratification of Treaty
In October, 2014 the European Commission formally asked for authorization from the Council and the European Parliament to ratify the Treaty. Nevertheless, the ratification process has been blocked because a number of EU member states reject accepting EU competence over the ratification of the treaty despite the fact that both Commission and Council legal service opinions and European Court case law clearly confirm exclusive EU competence over this issue. If authorization of EU ratification is not accepted by EU member states, it will take many years before the Treaty is ratified and implemented. The European Commission is considering sending the competence issue to the European Court of Justice for judgment.

Blind people, MEPs, the European Commission and other stakeholders will discuss the meaning of this landmark treaty for human rights and will urge swift ratification and implementation by the EU and its member states.

Draft Programme
Welcoming remarks by sponsoring MEPs
Why the EU should ratify the Marrakesh Treaty now and how to make it happen

Wolfgang Angermann, President, European Blind Union
Yannis Vardakastanis, President, European Disability Forum
Member of the cabinet of the European Commissioner responsible for Digital Economy & Society Mr. Gunther Oettinger (tbc)

Q & A

Moderated by: David Hammerstein, senior policy advocate, TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD)

Closing remarks by sponsoring MEPs

TTIP and Health stakeholders meeting 27-5-15


This TTIP stakeholders meeting took place at the Charlemagne Building of the European Commission on Wednesday, 27th of May of 2015 dealt with the issues of cosmetics, health-care systems and pharmaceuticals. The meeting was led by DG Trade with participation of others from DG Santé and DG Grow.
It was attended by around 140 industry, trade-union and NGO representatives.

On the issue of cosmetics the TACD representative asked about the lack of existing safety regulation and the possible impact of very different chemical and other regulations between the US and the EU, as well as asking about the EU´s application of the precautionary principle in TTIP in future regulatory cooperation. Animal welfare representatives also questioned the application of the EU´s animal testing prohibition while the US has no such prohibition. The EC assured the audience that no cosmetic product would enter the EU market if it did not comply with EU law, including nanotech labeling requirements. They insisted on there being no mutual recognition of US-EU products nor any weakening of the EU´s precautionary principle.

On health-care services a number of public service union member expressed fears, given the great differences between EU and US health systems, about the privatization of health services, out-sourcing and more expensive procurement. The EC denied any move toward privatization and explained their “negative list” of public services excluded from the TTIP agreement.

On medical devices the industry representatives expressed the wish that there would be “mutual recognition” between products approved in the US and EU with simplification of regulatory requirements while the BEUC representative said that any harmonization should be based on the safer US system of independent evaluation.

On pharmaceuticals the European Pharma representative expressed their wish-list for TTIP: de-regulation and simplification of market authorization process and clinical trials for quicker access to the market of “innovative products” (in US 21st Century Cures Act and EU “adaptive licensing” , greater harmonization of IPR enforcement, specially dealing with 3rd countries and convergence of clinical trial transparency rules between FDA and EMA, joint inspections of 3rd country pharma production and strong regulatory cooperation on any new pharma legislation.

The TACD representative expressed concerns over the possible legislation chill on new legislation in favor of consumers and patients as well as the possible negative impact on clinical trial transparency due to trade secret rules and possible new barriers to the negotiating position of States on pricing and reimbursement of biomedical products. Any early market authorization should not sacrifice the independent evaluation of the safety and efficacy of new drugs.

The European Commission denied that there would be any “mutual recognition” between FDA and EMA approved drugs, insisted that clinical trial transparency would be upheld, that there would be no chill on new innovation models for access to medicines, that there would be no mention of pricing and reimbursement in TTIP and the the IPR chapter has not been considered yet in the talks but no great content is envisioned. No clear explanation was given to questions about how the regulatory cooperation structure and how it would work to evaluate new legislative proposals.

In short, there was little new information about the negotiations revealed in this meeting.

A letter to a patient representative on Adaptive Licensing / pathways

by Yannis Natsis, 13 May 2015

(Views do not necessarily represent TACD positions)

Dear Bettina,

Many thanks for taking the time to comment on my analysis on adaptive licensing/pathways entitled “Adapting medicines to the market or to patients’ needs”. Interventions like yours are necessary and certainly help the debate move forward. Let me start by expressing my firm belief that we share the same goals as we both strive to ensure access to the right treatments for all those who need them. At the end of day, we are all potential patients who are entitled to enjoy the highest quality the healthcare system has to offer.

To this end, I am glad we agree on an additional imperative that of denouncing the immorality of exorbitant drug prices which in fact deprive tens of thousands of people in Europe today of their treatments. As you rightly underline, the profiteering character of the current business-driven pharmaceutical model results in medicines whose primary adverse effect is “financial toxicity”.

As regards adaptive licensing (henceforth AL), there is a series of serious questions that remain unanswered. I am confident that we agree that when it comes to such complex topics, a comprehensive and unbiased debate is mandatory. AL puts patient advocates in the spotlight and with that comes increased responsibility and higher expectations for accountability. In the words of the EMA’s Guido Rasi “patients will play an even bigger part in the drug development process but need to be distanced from the emotional involvement in the product under evaluation”.

Unmet need” is supposed to be the defining criterion of the scope of application of adaptive licensing…but wait, we do not even know what falls under unmet medical need

Theoretically, AL aspires to address the needs of patients that fall under this category. This is of pivotal significance in the course of the debate because “unmet medical need” not only constitutes the starting point but more notably defines the scope of application of AL. In other words, the candidate drug must present a real advance for patients in areas of unmet need. However, European countries have always had a very hard time reaching a consensus on a definition. The current stalemate in the respective negotiations at the recently established European Commission Expert Working Group on Safe and Timely Access to Medicines for Patients (STAMP) confirms the difficulties. This is hardly surprising as apart from the scientific criteria used to delimitate unmet need, numerous political, economic and societal aspects come into play and thus vary considerably between member states. This is a profoundly important point, as pricing & reimbursement decisions depend on this definition. It is remarkable that the European Commission as well as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are quick to dismiss any fears that AL will apply to all medicines and are eager to stress that it covers unmet need only. But how can we rest assured that the exception will not become the rule when unmet need is so controversial and vaguely defined? It is totally unclear to me how it will be established and I am not the only one to find this puzzling.

Real world clinical trial data collection sounds good but how, who, what, when?

Another key component and insurmountable “If” in the case of AL, is the collection of real-world clinical trial data (hereafter RWD). As you acknowledge in your response, AL’s success and credibility depend on this. In fact, the roots of the AL debate are not about improving access but about redesigning the clinical trials model and promoting the adaptive trials narrative. The current randomized controlled trials (RCT) model usually requires lengthy trials, a significant cost for industry and most importantly a numerous products fail after a lot of money has been spent. AL entails instead a well-defined subpopulation implying very limited initial clinical trials where efficacy will be demonstrated quickly (contrary to patient safety) and that will lead to a gradual expansion. It is common ground that AL shifts the paradigm prioritizing efficacy over safety which in the case of certain categories of patients makes absolute sense. But again, this can only be the exception and not the rule. This means that industry gets to save a lot of money while managing to place its expensive products on the market much earlier than ever before. Moreover, it is not sure that a novel trial design will facilitate the AL, nor how the additional data will be collected, what type of data will be collected, who will collect it, who will pay for this and over what period. Needless to mention, that how this data will be evaluated scientifically and by whom are crucial questions in relation to their reliability and objectivity.

We need the products on the market”. Great, but at what price?

Let’s talk about money. Another challenging and pretty tangible problem is the question of pricing and reimbursement of these drugs. They rely on much fewer clinical trial data, their efficacy looks good (the benefit-risk analysis is positive since theoretically at least, we should be talking about patients with a higher risk profile) and they cover the needs of a small group of patients. Industry claims that since the volume is small, the price should be high, whereas countries fearful about their health budgets argue that since the volume is small, the price should be small as well. As a consumer and potential patient, I wonder how these products will be reimbursed especially during the initial authorization. There is considerable concern about this in the Council too. Another critical question often asked is on what grounds the price will be reviewed.

What if it goes wrong?

I must say that I am a bit surprised with your stance towards safety. In my opinion, society should aim to safeguard the maximum degree of both safety and efficacy. Furthermore, I strongly disagree with the view that patient safety regulations stifle access. Of course, the system as I indicate in my original analysis already foresees the necessity to live with increased uncertainty for very specific groups of patients and accommodates this through the current fast track mechanisms (conditional marketing authorization-CMA, accelerated procedure, compassionate use schemes and others). One of the fundamental questions that AL fails to effectively resolve is what will happen if the advertised benefits of candidate drugs are not confirmed in the populations targeted. I am particularly concerned about this as we are fully aware that most member states neither have the administrative capacity nor the political will to withdraw products once they are on the market. This issue cannot be pushed aside as the liability for whatever goes wrong does not fall on the companies but on public authorities. AL relies heavily on enhanced post-marketing safety and efficacy surveillance to manage this increased uncertainty. It is erroneous to believe that the EU Pharmacovigilance system –seen as excessively demanding, disproportionate and counter-productive by industry, hailed as a success by public health advocates- can or should carry the burden of this monitoring. It was not set up for this reason in the first place.

Why not work with what we already have?

Pharmaceutical companies must reconsider their negative view about the present fast track instruments and commit themselves to enhance them. They prefer full marketing authorization over CMA mostly because they are not 100% certain that they will obtain reimbursement when complete data are not available. As you probably know, STAMP is conducting a review. It is collecting experiences and best practices from member states via concrete questionnaires on how they implement these schemes, what the various criteria and obstacles are etc. This mapping exercise is significant as its findings will feed into ongoing discussions and will define the need or not to redesign the EU market access system. At the same time, the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) is revising the draft Guideline on the CMA. There is no doubt that today’s options can be improved. Patient groups have an obligation to actively and constructively contribute to the ongoing evaluations (on the member state level too) and to work on improving the inadequacies. I hope that the findings of these reviews will be unbiased and will genuinely aim to develop the current system, tailor it better to the needs of patients and make it more efficient.

What is the big picture about AL? Is it only about access to medicines?

No, its scope and impact are much broader. This is the so-called life-cycle approach to drug development with far-reaching implications across the entire regulatory framework. In a nutshell, industry is not happy with the fact that high prices have become a political issue on an EU level. It is thus trying to shift attention away from the subject and to reshape the agenda by putting fast & early access on top of it. Their long-term strategic goal is to restructure the EU medicines regulatory framework. They conveniently describe it as too rigid and accuse it of hindering patients’ access to “innovative” treatments. That is why; they showcase AL as the future and reiterate that efficacy -as it costs them far less to demonstrate- should be the key focus. A more “flexible” and “predictable” market access and pricing and reimbursement environment as envisaged and guaranteed by AL opens the doors for their expensive treatments. Here lies one of the keys to better understand AL and its place in the overall debate about medicines in Europe. Industry does not appreciate the polyphony that exists with the different evidence requirements and standards put forward by the various national regulatory authorities. AL offers a way out, as it tries to a) “tie the hands” of Health Technology Assessment (HTA) bodies, payers and national competent authorities by limiting their independence and b) force them to accept greater uncertainty (for more information, please read “Pharma is moving fast: What is coming up in pharmaceuticals in Europe”). Additionally, it touches the sensitive and emotionally charged notion of unmet need and emphasizes the mantra of early and fast access over everything else. It thus leaves no space for discussion around the quality of innovation (access to what?) and eventually prevents an open, healthy and impartial debate on the genuine needs of patients across the spectrum. We cannot afford not to have such a conversation as a lot of the areas where there is unmet medical need today are due to the current market and not public health-driven model of medical innovation. We need to work together to demand real innovation based on public health needs and proven therapeutic advance in comparison to existing medicines.

AL is a highly complex and delicate issue. Let us not forget that up until recently even the Commission’s DG SANCO (now DG SANTE) was very skeptical towards it. There are voices within industry that still express similar doubts. Nevertheless, EFPIA along with the EMA promote it as a flagship initiative. DG SANTE has the oversight of the CHMP/EMA’s decisions and a duty to carefully balance all positions as public health is at stake. As I have previously noted, a shorter time to the market would possibly be beneficial both for the industry as well as for particular categories of patients only as long as sufficient safeguards are in place.

Bundesregierung blockiert grenzüberschreitenden Literaturzugang für blinde und sehbehinderte Menschen


Berlin, 7. Mai 2015 Im Juni 2013 verabschiedete die Weltorganisation für geistiges Eigentum (WIPO) in Marrakesch einen Vertrag, der für blinde, seh- und lesebehinderte Menschen den Zugang zu urheberrechtlich geschützten Werken verbessert. Ziel ist, dass die Blindenbüchereien ihre Bücherbestände künftig auch über Grenzen hinweg austauschen können. Nun blockiert die deutsche Bundesregierung die Ratifizierung des Vertrages.

Im Kern geht es um die Frage, ob die EU den Vertrag ratifiziert oder ob jeder Mitgliedsstaat einzeln ratifizieren muss. In der vergangenen Woche hat die europäische Kommission einen Kompromissvorschlag präsentiert, der die rechtliche Zuständigkeit der Europäischen Union ebenso anerkennt wie die Souveränität der EU-Mitgliedsstaaten, den Marrakesch-Vertrag individuell zu ratifizieren. Wie die Europäische Blindenunion (EBU) berichtet, droht dieser Kompromiss nun an den Regierungen Deutschlands und Italiens zu scheitern.

Dazu EBU-Präsident Wolfgang Angermann: “Der Widerstand der deutschen Regierung hat nichts mit juristischen Formalien zu tun, hier fehlt schlicht und ergreifend der politische Wille, uns zu unserem Recht auf Lesen zu verhelfen. Als blinder Mensch aus Deutschland wie auch als Europäer bin ich zutiefst enttäuscht, dass Deutschland eine Ratifizierung durch die EU ablehnt. Meine dringende Bitte an die deutsche Regierung ist, diese Position zu überdenken und sich in der nächsten Woche im europäischen Rat für eine zügige Ratifizierung durch die EU einzusetzen.“

Hintergrund – Marrakesch Vertrag: Der sogenannte Marrakesch Vertrag erlaubt Blindenorganisationen und Blindenbüchereien auf der ganzen Welt, ihre Bestände an barrierefreier Literatur auszutauschen. So können beispielsweise Spanien und Argentinien ihre Buchbestände, die mehr als 150.000 barrierefreie Werke umfassen, allen lateinamerikanischen Ländern zugänglich machen, sobald die Regierungen der Länder diesen Vertrag ratifizieren und in das jeweilige nationale Urheberrecht überführen.

Hintergrund – Europäische Blindenunion (EBU): Die Europäische Blindenunion, gegründet 1984, ist eine gemeinnützige Nichtregierungsorganisation, deren Ziel es ist die Interessen von blinden und sehbehinderten Menschen in Europa durchzusetzen und zu schützen. Als eine von sechs regionalen Organisationen der Weltblindenunion spielte die EBU eine entscheidende Rolle bei der Erarbeitung und Verabschiedung des Marrakesch Vertrages. Der EBU gehören Organisationen aus 45 europäischen Ländern an, darunter auch der Deutsche Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband (DBSV).

Wolfgang Angermann
European Blind Union
Fon: +49 173 2857543

I Ciechi espressono disappunto per posizione italiana

Comunicato stampa
Roma, 08/05/2015
L’Unione Italiana dei Ciechi e degli Ipovedenti ONLUS invita i governi di Italia e di Germania a non ostacolare la ratifica da parte dell’UE del nostro Trattato di Marrakech sul diritto alla lettura!
Sono passati quasi due anni dalla firma a Marrakech di un trattato che segna un fondamentale passo in avanti per la realizzazione del pieno accesso ai libri da parte delle persone cieche e ipovedenti. Tuttavia, il governo tedesco e quello italiano, a nostro avviso, si stanno adoperando affinché gli Stati membri dell’Unione europea blocchino la ratifica da parte dell’UE del Trattato di Marrakech. Questa riluttanza non è dovuta tanto a tecnicismi legali, ma quanto alla carente volontà politica di garantire a tutte le persone non vedenti, ipovedenti e con altre disabilità di lettura il pieno accesso al patrimonio librario dell’umanità indipendentemente dai vincoli del diritto d’autore.
Il Presidente dell’Unione Europea dei Ciechi (EBU), Wolfgang Angermann, ha detto:
“Come cittadino tedesco con disabilità visiva e anche come cittadino europeo, sono profondamente deluso dalla riluttanza della Germania ad accettare la ratifica da parte dell’UE di questo trattato. Sollecito il governo tedesco a rivedere le proprie posizioni e a offrire il proprio sostegno a un accordo per la rapida ratifica da parte dell’Unione europea che verrà discusso la prossima settimana durante la riunione del Consiglio dell’Unione europea”.
Il governo tedesco, come scusa per opporsi alla ratifica UE, fa riferimento ad alcune affermazioni false e inconsistenti secondo le quali questo settore non è di esclusiva competenza dell’UE, nonostante sia i servizi giuridici della Commissione sia quelli del Consiglio abbiano insistito sull’evidenza della competenza esclusiva dell’UE, fatto supportato da molteplici giudizi della Corte europea (
Mario Barbuto, Presidente dell’Unione Italiana dei Ciechi e degli Ipovedenti ONLUS, ha espresso il proprio disappunto per la posizione assunta dal governo italiano il quale, ostacolando la ratifica del Trattato di Marrakech, non rispetta i suoi obblighi nei confronti delle persone con disabilità ai sensi dell’art. 30 della Convenzione delle Nazioni Unite sui Diritti delle Persone con Disabilità. “Il nostro governo non trae alcun vantaggio da questa posizione e perde, invece, una grande occasione per porre fine alla “carestia dei libri” assicurando a milioni di persone cieche e ipovedenti in tutto il mondo l’accesso all’educazione, alla cultura e allo svago attraverso la lettura”.
L’Unione Italiana dei Ciechi e degli Ipovedenti ONLUS non riesce a comprendere le ragioni per cui l’Italia, che ha una legislazione particolarmente avanzata riguardo alle eccezioni al diritto d’autore in favore delle persone disabili, abbia assunto in seno al Consiglio dell’Unione europea una posizione chiaramente contrastante con le esigenze delle persone non vedenti in Europa e nel resto del mondo. La scorsa settimana la Commissione europea ha proposto un compromesso che rispetta la sovranità dei singoli Stati membri dell’UE per quanto concerne la ratifica del Trattato di Marrakech pur affermando il principio della competenza giuridica dell’Unione europea. Respingendo questo compromesso, i governi dell’Italia e della Germania hanno dimostrato scarsa flessibilità, al punto da compromettere un possibile accordo.
Se dovesse concretizzarsi il blocco della ratifica del Trattato di Marrakech da parte dell’Unione europea le barriere del diritto d’autore all’accesso alla cultura da parte dei non vedenti continueranno ad esistere ancora per molti anni e i cittadini non vedenti e ipovedenti dovranno attendere che la Corte di giustizia europea esprima il proprio parere (indubbiamente favorevole alla competenza esclusiva dell’UE riguardo alla ratifica) e che l’UE adotti una nuova normativa quadro comunitaria sul diritto d’autore. Questo ritardo, probabilmente di molti anni, non appare né ragionevole né giustificabile.
Invitiamo caldamente il governo italiano a mostrare maggiore sensibilità nei confronti delle esigenze di milioni di persone cieche e ipovedenti e a dare sostegno a una rapida ratifica del Trattato di Marrakech in tutto il mondo.
Altre informazioni sul Trattato di Marrakech
Il punto centrale di questo trattato è un articolo che autorizza le organizzazioni e le biblioteche dei ciechi a condividere le proprie raccolte di titoli accessibili con altre comunità parlanti la stessa lingua in tutto il mondo. Per es. la Spagna e l’Argentina sarebbero in grado di condividere il proprio patrimonio librario accessibile di oltre 150.000 titoli con tutti i paesi dell’America Latina, non appena il governo di ciascun paese beneficiario avrà ratificato e adottato le misure per far entrare in vigore il Trattato. In sintesi, esso stabilisce il quadro giuridico fondamentale per l’adozione di deroghe nazionali in materia di diritto d’autore in quei paesi che ne sono privi e stabilisce un regime per lo scambio transnazionale di libri in formato accessibile.